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  • Safe and voluntary refugee repatriation: from principle to practice

    16 September 2016

    The article discusses the principles of voluntariness, safety, and dignity in the context of refugee repatriation. It begins by setting out the applicable legal framework, and discusses how that framework has been elaborated upon and refined since 1951. The article then discusses how the principles of voluntariness, safety, and dignity have, in practice, been applied (or, in a few unfortunate cases, ignored). After noting that we are now living in an era of protracted refugee emergencies, the article concludes with a number of recommendations regarding alternatives to repatriation and the conditions under which repatriation can take place without offense to the principles of voluntariness, safety, and dignity.

  • Afghanistan’s displaced people: 2014 and beyond

    7 May 2014

    2014 is widely seen as marking a watershed for Afghanistan with its legacy of 35 years of conflict and one of the world’s largest populations in protracted displacement. International military forces are being withdrawn and the country is ‘in transition’, and there is still considerable uncertainty about the capacity of the country to address the challenges of return, integration and reintegration, protection, access to rights, and continuing displacement. FMR 46 contains 21 articles on Afghanistan, plus a mini-feature on Statelessness.

  • The UK, EU Citizenship and Free Movement of Persons

    7 May 2014

    To understand how EU membership shapes UK migration policy, one must distinguish between two distinct areas of EU law and policy. This policy primer examines EU citizenship and free movement of persons as part of the common market. At the core of the EU project remains a common market, which involves reciprocal commitments so that not only products (goods and services) but also the factors of production (labour and capital) can circulate freely. Free movement for workers and others exercising economic freedoms (e.g. service providers and recipients) has now largely been subsumed into the status of citizenship of the Union. As explored in the next section, movement and residence in all Member States for EU nationals remains a defining feature of EU citizenship, so that UK nationals may in principle live anywhere they choose within the EU, and vice versa. Citizenship of the Union and the internal market freedoms mainly confer rights on EU citizens (i.e. those holding the nationality of the Member States). These provisions also create some derivative rights for TCNs, such as TCN family members of EU citizens and TCN workers ‘posted’ from one Member State to another to as part of an intra-EU provision of services. While the UK’s commitments on EU citizenship and the internal market are part and parcel of its EU membership, the UK (together with Ireland, with which it shares a land border and a common travel area) has always maintained a distinctive position on borders and visas, as manifest in its opt-out of the Schengen arrangements. As explored below, the UK’s distinctive opt-out from Schengen has been legally controversial, yet it remains a defining feature of its EU relations.

  • The UK, the Common European Asylum System and EU Immigration Law

    7 May 2014

    This policy primer examines the UK’s selective participation in the Common European Asylum System and EU immigration law. The UK has always maintained a distinctive position in the EU as regards border controls, opting out of the Schengen arrangements that abolished internal border controls across most of the EU. However, it participates selectively in some aspects of EU border policies.

  • An exploration and critique of the use of mental health information within refugee status determination proceedings in the United Kingdom

    18 June 2014

    This study seeks to understand the composition, use and cultural orientation of mental health evidence within the UK’s refugee status determination (RSD) process, focusing specifically on mental health evidence provided in the form of a medico-legal report (MLR). By exploring those themes, this paper also strives to provide insight into what constitutes “valid” medical evidence in the context of RSD. Employing a constructivist paradigm, the study is based on 14 interviews with individuals involved in the production of mental health evidence, analysis of documents providing guidance about the production of MLRs, and analysis of MLRs themselves. It is argued that the “validity” of an MLR is based on the one hand on the perceived credibility of MLRs, and on the other hand on the perceived veracity of the mental health information it contains. The perception that evidence is “valid” can be seen as proportionate to the extent to which the report author is considered to be credible and able to frame and articulate information in a “neutral and objective way”. However, this “objectivity” is an expression of a particular, culturally specific conception of mental health; one that is framed within a Western, biomedical paradigm. As such, the MLR author has a de facto role of structuring and channelling a range of cross-cultural information into a particular, culturally specific model.

  • Migration routes and strategies of young undocumented migrants in England: a qualitative perspective

    20 November 2013

    Based on data from in-depth qualitative interviews with young undocumented migrants from Brazil, China, Ukraine, Zimbabwe and Kurds from Turkey, this article explores the entry strategies used by young people in relation to the UK immigration system and their undocumented status. Against a brief account of Britain's regime, the paper first examines why and how these migrants come to the UK and the ways in which they entered the country. Second, the paper explores strategies in relation to immigration status and considers: the use of different immigration statuses; the role of the asylum system in their strategies including as an attempt to regularize status or as a route to becoming undocumented when refused asylum. Finally, the paper examines the extent to which these young migrants have agency in their efforts to negotiate the complex and exclusionary immigration and asylum regime.

  • Unlocking protracted displacement: an Iraqi case study

    20 November 2013

    The displaced from Iraq now constitute one of the largest refugee populations worldwide manifesting the evolving conditions of “protracted displacement”. Unlocking this protracted crisis of displacement requires analysis of the perceptions of solutions, durable and not-so-durable, among all stakeholders. This article focuses on the local-level perceptions of practitioners, policy-makers, and Iraqi refugees in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. It is based on desk research and interviews in the field in April and May 2011. Our findings show that the three classical durable solutions are largely unworkable for the majority of Iraqis in exile in the Middle East. Their migration is often circular and involves movement in and out of Iraq as well as across wider transnational networks in the Middle East and further afield. There is a need for an analytical shift from transitory humanitarian (emergency) assistance to fostering inclusive local assistance and accommodation to cater to the large group of Iraqi refugees who are increasingly “stuck” in host countries of the Middle East. It is worth exploring the possibility of a multi-directional approach to unlocking this prolonged crisis that taps into legal, policy, and operational opportunities.

  • Palestinian refugees affected by the 2011 Libyan uprising: a brief overview

    20 November 2013

    This article provides a brief overview of Palestinians’ presence in Libya from the 1970s to the present, and of the multiple processes of displacement and expulsion faced by Palestinians during this period, culminating in the most recent 2011 conflict.

  • Conflicting missions? The politics of evangelical humanitarianism in the Sahrawi and Palestinian protracted refugee situations

    20 November 2013

    This paper analyses the contradictory motivations, actions and implications of a network of American Evangelical organizations which is actively involved in humanitarian and political projects directly affecting two groups of protracted refugees in the Middle East and North Africa: Sahrawis and Palestinians. Following a brief introduction to typologies and key characteristics of ‘faith-based’ and ‘Evangelical’ humanitarian organisations, this paper examines how, why and to what effect American Evangelical groups provide relief aid to Sahrawi refugees in their Algerian-based refugee camps, and vocally advocate in favour of the Sahrawi quest for self-determination over the Western Sahara before the US Congress and the United Nations. While this first mode of Evangelical humanitarian and political intervention explicitly invokes a human rights discourse and international legal frameworks, the second case-study underscores the ways in which these same actors effectively render Palestinian refugees invisible, implicitly negating international law and UN resolutions enshrining their right to return and the right to meaningful Palestinian self-determination. Ultimately, the paper addresses the implications of these contradictory Evangelical interventions through reference to international humanitarian principles, interrogating the proposed ‘humanitarian,’ ‘political’ and ‘religious’ dynamics in such initiatives.

  • Paradoxes of Sahrawi refugees' educational migration: promoting self-sufficiency or renewing dependency?

    20 November 2013

    Education is often prioritised by refugee children and families, as well as by their political representatives and international actors alike. This article explores the specificities of the Sahrawi refugee education system, focusing in particular on the nature, motivations and implications of Sahrawi refugee youths' educational migration to Cuba through a scholarship programme designed to promote self-sufficiency and socio-economic development in the Sahrawi refugee camps. Drawing upon interviews conducted with Cuban-educated Sahrawi refugees in Cuba and in their Algerian-based refugee camps I argue that, despite educational migration having become a central part of Sahrawi refugee children's, youths' and adults' imaginary landscapes, Sahrawi youths' educational migration to Cuba is ultimately paradoxical in nature, reshaping and reinforcing, rather than reducing, Sahrawi refugees' dependence upon Western aid providers.