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  • Refugee Economies: Forced Displacement and Development

    18 November 2016

    Refugees have rarely been studied by economists. Despite some pioneering research on the economic lives of refugees, there remains a lack of theory and empirical data through which to understand, and build upon, refugees' own engagement with markets. Yet, understanding these economic systems may hold the key to rethinking our entire approach to refugee assistance. If we can improve our knowledge of the resource allocation systems that shape refugees' lives and opportunities, then we may be able to understand the mechanisms through which these market-based systems can be made to work better and turn humanitarian challenges into sustainable opportunities. This book adopts an inter-disciplinary approach, based on original qualitative and quantitative data on the economic life of refugees, in order to begin to build theory on the economic lives of refugees. It focuses on the case of Uganda because it represents a relatively positive case. Unlike other governments in the region, it has taken the positive step to allow refugees the right to work and a significant degree of freedom of movement through it so-called 'Self-Reliance Strategy'. This allows a unique opportunity to explore what is possible when refugees have basic economic freedoms. The book shows that refugees have complex and varied economic lives, often being highly entrepreneurial and connected to the global economy. The implications are simple but profound: far from being an inevitable burden, refugees have the capacity to help themselves and contribute to their host societies - if we let them.

  • Jordan’s refugee experiment: a new model for helping the displaced in Jordan

    24 November 2016

    The Syrian refugee crisis has attracted Western attention largely because of its modest spillover into Europe. But this spillover represents a mere fraction of the misery caused by mass displacement today: only around 15 percent of Syria’s 5.8 million refugees have attempted to reach Europe, and the Syrian refugee surge is itself only one of several around the world. The challenge of mass displacement is largely one of geographical concentration: nearly 60 percent of the world’s refugees are hosted by just ten haven countries, each bordering a conflict zone. It is in these countries—Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, in the case of the Syrian civil war—where new approaches are most direly needed. In October, Foreign Affairs published our proposal for a new approach to the Syrian refugee crisis. By allowing displaced Syrians to work in special economic zones (SEZs) in Jordan, we argued, Amman could provide displaced Syrians with the jobs, education, and autonomy they need while advancing its own industrial development. Since our article was published, our idea has gained political traction.

  • The Common European Asylum System – Where did it all go wrong?

    20 December 2016

    Chapter in 'The European Union as an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice' (editors, Maria Fletcher, Ester Herlin-Karnell, Claudio Matera). The Common European Asylum System (‘CEAS’) is neither common nor a system. This chapter outlines the content of the legal measures that fall under the CEAS, and the fissures that these measures create in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (‘AFSJ’), and indeed in relations between the EU Member States. In Part I, we begin by sketching the legal contents of the CEAS, providing a chronological account of their development. While many important questions concerning process, status and rights both during and after recognition or rejection as a refugee have been harmonised, as asylum processes remain national, many divergences in outcomes and treatment of refugees persist. In Part II, we identify the main structural shortcomings, namely (1) the lack of legal access routes to the EU to claim asylum, (2) tensions between legal duties at borders (such as non-refoulement, the prohibition on collective expulsion and other human rights obligations) and political framings of the nature of ‘effective border controls’ and (3) the pathologies of the Dublin System. This part explains how the fissures in the CEAS became fractures and schisms in 2015, when the EU was faced with large numbers of protection seekers, predominantly arriving irregularly in Greece. The CEAS, as currently designed, makes responsibility-sharing less likely, exacerbating the crisis for those seeking protection. Part III examines the legal responses adopted thus far to deal with the crisis. These include (1) a range of unilateral measures, some legal, some blatantly illegal under EU and international law, and (2) various attempts to respond to the crisis at the EU level on an ad hoc basis, including EU relocation, resettlement and the EU-Turkey ‘deal’; and (3) in May 2016, a package of proposals for harmonisation and centralisation of the CEAS. Our concluding observation is that as yet the EU has not addressed the structural problems identified in Part II.

  • Safe country? Says who?

    4 January 2017

    Part of a Special Issue in Honour of Professor Guy S Goodwin-Gill. In 1991, Professor Guy S Goodwin-Gill reflected on the emerging safe country of origin (SCO) practices in an editorial in the International Journal of Refugee Law, entitled ‘Safe Country? Says Who?’. This article reflects on developments regarding SCO practices since his prescient editorial, focusing on both Europe, where they originated, and Canada. The article first explores how SCO practices have developed in European law and practice since their inception, including the role of European courts in assessing their legality. This European experience is then contrasted with Canada’s short-lived experiment with its analogous Designated Country of Origin (DCO) system, which, in 2015, was deemed unconstitutional by the Federal Court of Canada.

  • Research Handbook on EU Labour Law

    17 January 2017

    Globalisation of the economy and increased integration in Europe has led to a stronger focus on EU labour, employment and equality law. The Research Handbook on EU Labour Law draws together contributions from leading academics in this field at an important historic moment in its development. As well as assessing the ‘state of the art’, they identify key research questions for the future. Split into four distinct parts, this Research Handbook provides a comprehensive examination of the major topics in EU labour, employment and equality law. Part One addresses cross-cutting themes, such as the relationship between EU law and national law, the role of human rights in EU labour law and the impact of austerity measures. The subsequent parts offer in-depth treatments of specific topics: Part Two focuses on various issues in individual and collective labour law at EU level, including working time and job security; Part Three provides an analysis of collective labour law, including its implications for trade unions and industrial democracy; and Part Four explores the EU’s interventions in equality law, considering its impact across a range of different protected characteristics.

  • EU Asylum Policies: The Power of Strong Regulating States

    17 January 2017

    This book fills a significant lacuna in our understanding of the refugee crisis by analyzing the dynamics that lie behind fifteen years of asylum policies in the European Union. It sheds light on why cooperation has led to reinforced refugee protection on paper but has failed to provide it in practice. Offering innovative empirical, theoretical and methodological research on this crucial topic, it argues that the different asylum systems and priorities of the various Member States explain the EU's lack of initiative in responding to this humanitarian emergency. The author demonstrates that the strong regulators of North-Western Europe have used their powerful bargaining positions to shape EU asylum policies decisively, which has allowed them to impose their will on Member States in South-Eastern Europe. These latter countries, having barely made a mark on EU policies, are now facing significant difficulties in implementing them. The EU will only identify potential solutions to the crisis, the author concludes, when it takes these disparities into account and establishes a functioning common refugee policy. This novel work will appeal to students and scholars of politics, immigration and asylum in the EU.

  • #AlanKurdi: Presentation and dissemination of images of suffering on Twitter

    14 February 2017

    On the morning of September 2, 2015, photojournalist Nilüfer Demir captured the image of a drowned three-year-old Syrian refugee, Alan Kurdi, washed ashore on a beach in Bodrum, Turkey. Spread virally through Twitter, the image quickly achieved iconographic status, becoming a symbol of multiple ‘crises’: the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean, the Syrian civil war, the failure of European Union (EU) protection, et cetera. Over a year later, the name Alan Kurdi remains familiar and is often invoked; his image is still a symbol for the crises in the Mediterranean. Given this sustained presence, it is opportune to look back with the benefit of hindsight at why the image of Alan’s dead body washed ashore went viral in the first place. Why did Alan’s image reach and resonate with an audience of millions, among countless other harrowing images capturing the crises? Existing literature on images of suffering offers accounts of why certain images invoke more responsiveness than others. However, these accounts have been insufficiently applied to the discursive space of Twitter. While we understand the mechanisms of how the image went viral, we explore what it is about the medium of Twitter that enabled the image of Alan to reach viral status and equally fleeting substantive outcomes. This analysis of the Alan phenomenon—the photo, his story, its viral spread throughout Twitter, the conversations that ensued on Twitter, his sustained presence—provides insights into responsiveness to images of suffering and Twitter as a medium for social change.

  • Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons

    14 February 2017

    Chapter in: The Oxford Handbook of International Organizations (edited by Jacob Katz Cogan, Ian Hurd, and Ian Johnstone) About the book: Virtually every important question of public policy today involves an international organization. From trade to intellectual property to health policy and beyond, governments interact with international organizations in almost everything they do. Increasingly, individual citizens are directly affected by the work of international organizations. Aimed at academics, students, practitioners, and lawyers, this book gives a comprehensive overview of the world of international organizations today. It emphasizes both the practical aspects of their organization and operation, and the conceptual issues that arise at the junctures between nation-states and international authority, and between law and politics. While the focus is on inter-governmental organizations, the book also encompasses non-governmental organizations and public policy networks. With essays by the leading scholars and practitioners, the book first considers the main international organizations and the kinds of problems they address. This includes chapters on the organizations that relate to trade, humanitarian aid, peace operations, and more, as well as chapters on the history of international organizations. The book then looks at the constituent parts and internal functioning of international organizations. This addresses the internal management of the organization, and includes chapters on the distribution of decision-making power within the organizations, the structure of their assemblies, the role of Secretaries-General and other heads, budgets and finance, and other elements of complex bureaucracies at the international level. This book is essential reading for scholars, practitioners, and students alike.

  • Transnationalizing the Arabian Peninsula: Local, regional and global dynamics

    14 February 2017

    This seventh issue of 'Arabian Humanities' aims to explore the processes of regionalisation and globalisation in the Arabian Peninsula by focusing the analysis on the oil-exporting countries that are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). We decided to examine the dynamics of extraversion and integration of their economies, societies, cultures and political systems through the lens of “transnationalism”.

  • Research in Brief: Decriminalising ‘Humanitarian Smuggling’

    9 March 2017

    This research brief summarises the legal and policy findings from the RSC Working Paper no. 119, "The ‘humanitarian smuggling’ of refugees: criminal offence or moral obligation?" It outlines the concept of ‘humanitarian smuggling’, and then critiques smuggling prohibitions at the international and the EU levels. It argues that these prohibitions are overbroad and vague, failing to meet basic requirements of the rule of law. Moreover, they criminalise acts that fall outside the law’s stated purpose, acts that are often ethically defensible. Finally, the brief analyses existing proposals to improve the framework governing smuggling and provides additional recommendations to decriminalise ‘humanitarian smugglers’.