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  • South-South Humanitarianism in Contexts of Forced Displacement

    12 December 2013

    This workshop report offers a thematic discussion of the main issues covered throughout the course of the international workshop on ‘South-South humanitarian responses to forced displacement’ convened by Dr. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford in October 2012, in addition to presenting areas and questions for further research. The workshop was generously supported by the Oxford Department of International Development and Refugee Studies Centre (University of Oxford) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Policy Development and Evaluation Service (UNHCR-PDES). Dr. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh’s broader research project, South-South Humanitarianism in Contexts of Forced Displacement, is funded by an Oxford University Fell Fund Award (2012-2013).

  • Dana Declaration +10

    12 December 2013

    Mobile indigenous peoples have sustainably managed the land they live on for centuries. However, in the name of biodiversity conservation, some have been displaced, dispossessed and expelled from their traditional territories and left destitute and culturally impoverished. While these practices have been largely discarded in rhetoric by biodiversity conservation agencies, progress in human rights observance and land restitution has lagged behind new thinking on the relationship between people and protected areas. Thus, local and national policy and institutional change in the field have not kept pace with advances in thinking at the international level; nor do they always live up to public declarations of concern for human rights. Ten years after the Dana Declaration on Mobile Peoples and Conservation was formulated in Wadi Dana, Jordan, it is time to follow up on the achievements of the past decade and consider the future.

  • Iraqi Protracted Displacement (Arabic)

    12 December 2013

    Drawing on the findings of a case study on Iraqi regional displacement and on the ongoing work of IDMC on internal displacement, this workshop organised by the RSC and IDMC aimed to provide a small forum for discussion on how policymakers (specifically regional government representatives, donors and the UN), practitioners and researchers can contribute to ‘unlocking’ recurrent and protracted Iraqi displacement. This report provides a brief overview of the themes explored and goes on to present the main outcomes of the event, laying out proposals for policy development.

  • Between Protracted and Crisis Displacement: Policy Responses to Somali Displacement

    12 December 2013

    Two decades after the collapse of the Somali Republic, the country’s regions still suffer chronic political uncertainty, violence and high levels of displacement. Since 2006, protracted displacements that began in the 1990s have been overlaid by new crises associated with severe drought, political violence and governance failures. The current situation, which involves both internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees, is widely acknowledged as among the worst in the world, both in terms of the number of people affected and the extent of their humanitarian and protection needs. The aim of the workshop was to facilitate discussion about current and future policy responses. To do so, it drew on an overview of global policy on protracted displacement and a case study from Somalia.

  • North Africa in Transition: Mobility, Forced Migration and Humanitarian Crises

    12 December 2013

    This report analyses the main themes arising from the presentations and discussions at the ‘North Africa in Transition: Mobility, Forced Migration and Humanitarian Crises’ workshop organized by the International Migration Institute and Refugee Studies Centre on 6 May 2011. The workshop provided a space for academics, practitioners and policy makers to critically engage with the evolving crises in North Africa, focusing in particular on the challenges surrounding the displacement of people in their wake, including: migrant workers from across the African continent, sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern asylum seekers and refugees, and third-country nationals. The workshop consisted of two panels. The first examined how the revolutions and subsequent crises in North Africa are influencing different forms of mobility, displacement, and immobility in the region. The second explored the key protection and legal challenges faced by the international community in light of these large-scale displacements.

  • Dynamics of Conflict and Forced Migration in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    12 December 2013

    At the end of November, the RSC hosted a two-day experts workshop on conflict and forced migration in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The event was generously funded by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (DRC office) and DFID. Fifty practitioners, academics and policymakers from the DRC and beyond explored the relation between conflict, displacement, the return of populations and the interaction between armed actors and civilians. Policy suggestions to end the vicious cycle of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence and displacement emanating from FMR 36 and the workshop have been presented and discussed in a visit of RSC affiliates to the DRC in February 2011.

  • Dynamics of Conflict and Forced Migration in the Democratic Republic of Congo (French)

    12 December 2013

    At the end of November, the RSC hosted a two-day experts workshop on conflict and forced migration in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The event was generously funded by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (DRC office) and DFID. Fifty practitioners, academics and policymakers from the DRC and beyond explored the relation between conflict, displacement, the return of populations and the interaction between armed actors and civilians. Policy suggestions to end the vicious cycle of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence and displacement emanating from FMR 36 and the workshop have been presented and discussed in a visit of RSC affiliates to the DRC in February 2011.

  • More labels, fewer refugees: remaking the refugee label in an era of globalization

    12 December 2013

    This paper revisits the concept of refugee labelling I elaborated nearly two decades ago. In radically different conditions, the contemporary relevance and utility of the concept are re-examined and re-established. Formulated at a time of regionally contained, mass refugee migration in the south during the late 1970s and early 1980s, the paper argues that the concept still offers vital insights into the impacts of institutional and bureaucratic power on the lives of refugees in a globalized era of transnational social transformations, mixed migration flows, and the continuing presence of large scale refugee migration. The core of the paper argues that the ‘convenient images’ of refugees, labelled within a co-opting humanitarian discourse in the past, have been displaced by a fractioning of the label which is driven by the need to manage globalized processes and patterns of migration and forced migration in particular. The paper re-evaluates the concept using the three original axioms—forming, transforming and politicizing the label ‘refugee’. The core argument is that in the contemporary era: a) the formation of the refugee label reflects causes and patterns of forced migration which are much more complex than in the past, contrasting with an essentially homogeneous connotation in the past; b) responding to this complexity, the refugee label is transformed by an institutional ‘fractioning’ in order to manage the new migration; c) governments, rather than NGOs as in the past, are the pre-eminent agency in the contemporary processes of transforming the refugee label, a process driven by northern interests; d) the refugee label has become politicized by the reproduction of institutional fractioning and by embedding the wider political discourse of resistance to migrants and refugees.

  • The struggle for belonging: forming and reforming identities among 1.5-generation asylum seekers and refugees

    12 December 2013

    Issues of identity can be tricky for refugees, asylum seekers and other immigrants in general. From an essentialist perspective, finding oneself dislocated from the place where one was born and grew up, from the community where one’s ancestors had deep connections and ties, and perhaps where one feels that one belongs, is difficult to deal with. The research question that is being investigated is as follows: in what ways do people of the 1.5-generation (particularly given to the Ethiopian 1.5-generation) in the diaspora represent themselves, and what are the ways in which they negotiate and construct their identities? As the first part of the question indicates, by asking ‘in what ways,’ it is evident that there is no single response. This paper argues that while the process of identity formation may in general be difficult, this process is intensified and becomes more complex in the case of the 1.5-generation of forced migrants, often leading to a painful ‘struggle for belonging.’

  • Negotiating childhood: age assessment in the UK asylum system

    12 December 2013

    Faced with rising numbers of undocumented asylum seekers claiming to be minors, age assessment is increasingly conceived as an integral part of asylum determination in Europe. Portrayed as a viable way to safeguard domestic asylum and welfare systems from adults posing as minors whilst concurrently ensuring that children are protected (Council of Europe 2005), age assessment has nonetheless been notoriously controversial in the UK. This paper therefore seeks to address the underlying issue of why age assessment is so politicised. This paper seeks to demonstrate how a range of domestic social, discursive, political and institutional factors impact and shape the seemingly technical process of assessing UASCs’ age. Importantly, these conditions of possibility do not necessarily relate directly to age assessment. Nonetheless, their intersection can open, exacerbate or close spaces for contestation around age assessment. Hence the politicised nature of age assessment might meaningfully be understood as a response to shifting issues of age and asylum resulting from a particular conflation of conditions in the UK.