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  • State, nation, citizen: rethinking repatriation

    12 December 2013

    This paper offers a historical contextualisation of the political concepts underpinning repatriation. It demonstrates that the difficulty in understanding repatriation as a “solution” to displacement results from attempting to reconcile a political philosophy of universal human rights with the principle of nation-state sovereignty. The paper argues that post-1985 attempts to reconceptualise repatriation were flawed largely because repatriation was depoliticised into “return”, reducing the likelihood of durable solutions based on citizenship and the remaking of state-citizen bonds. Using empirical evidence from the case of Guatemalan return from January 1993, this paper argues that recognition of more direct and politicised refugee engagement in displacement resolution offers an opportunity to strengthen concepts of refugee dignity and the durability of return. Moreover, it suggests a community-based approach that recognises the collective political identities of refugee groups may offer greater possibility for state transformation through repatriation than individually-based return, as well as greater possibility for the expression of “dignity” than that of “voluntariness”.

  • Conflict-induced migration and remittances: exploring conceptual frameworks

    12 December 2013

    Remittances – the money that migrants send home – are a key element in the socioeconomic reality of many conflict-affected and post-conflict countries. However, conceptual frameworks for explaining the dynamics of remittances in conflict-affected settings are lagging behind emerging empirical evidence. This paper first explores relevant conceptual models from the literature on labour migration, and outlines some of their limitations. Second, it focuses on aspects of conflict-induced migration – specifically, the causation of migration, the situation of family left behind and the post-migration situation of refugees – that may have implications for the remittance behaviour of those affected.

  • Unprotected among brothers: Palestinians in the Arab world

    12 December 2013

    This paper aims to trace the political and legal ripple effects of the Nakbah – the mass displacement of Palestinians from historic Palestine beginning in 1948 – for those refugees who found refuge in Arab states outside the bounds of international attempts at their assistance and protection. It will present a legal and political analysis of ‘protection gaps’ – in short, the lack of international and national protection that should, in principle, be guaranteed to all refugees. In doing so, this paper explores the relation between the foreign policy agendas of autocratic Arab states and their domestic policies, which are aimed at controlling and, often, marginalizing Palestinian refugees. It argues for a layered and intertwined political and legal analysis, with particular emphasis on the impact of autocratic governance on human rights and the role of foreign policy in host state treatment of Palestinians.

  • Repatriation and reconciliation in divided societies: the case of Rwanda’s ‘Ingando’

    12 December 2013

    This study shows that the nationalist script of de-ethnicization is based on a simplistic binary opposition and remains weak for the same reason why it is intriguing: De-ethnicization is a ‘minority’ project, forbidding and prescribing certain forms of expression and association, while not creating a concomitant attractor in the form of equal participation in state-building and ‘state-sharing’. This paper delineates the ‘repatriation-reconciliation nexus’ and explores the notion of reconciliation-cum-nation building. Moreover, it analyses de-ethnicization as a political project with roots, agents and scripts; assess the major factors that undermine de-ethnicization; and propose an alternative that might avoid its costs. Finally, this paper calls for a more nuanced understanding of ‘post-genocide plurality’, which accommodates yet supersedes difference as an ordering principle in political interaction.

  • Dynamics of conflict and displacement in Papua, Indonesia

    12 December 2013

    This document presents a collection of papers developed in preparation for a one-day workshop held under the auspices of the Refugee Studies Centre at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford on 26 October 2006. This was the fourth in a series of RSC workshops to focus on conflict, violence and displacement in Southeast Asia organized at Oxford by Dr Eva-Lotta Hedman (Senior Research Fellow). Like previous such workshops, which examined issues of conflict and displacements in Aceh under martial law, southern Philippines and south Thailand, and Burma, the day of analysis devoted to Papua brought together perspectives and expertise from among a range of institutional contexts, including academic and advocacy, practitioner and policy.

  • Return in dignity: a neglected protection challenge

    12 December 2013

    This paper examines how the concept of return in ‘safety and dignity’ emerged and has been applied to processes of refugee return. In doing so, it highlights incongruities about the meaning of return in practice, particularly in terms of dignity. Moreover, it identifies key components of the notion of dignity that should figure centrally in internationally-supported repatriation processes, namely, the principle of refugee choice and the need to redress the injustices that cause and characterise displacement. This paper suggests that pinning down a narrow institutional definition of dignity would not necessarily serve the interests of returnees. However, it argues that the concept of dignified return merits greater debate amongst policy makers, scholars, refugee advocates and displaced communities to make it a sharper protection tool.

  • Burma: the changing nature of displacement crises

    12 December 2013

    The shifting nature of conflict in Burma over the past fifteen years has structured a range of inter-linked displacement crises. This paper identifies three main types of forced migration within and from the country: armed conflict-induced displacement, state/society-induced displacement, and livelihood/vulnerability-induced displacement. This paper argues that internal displacement in Burma is the product not only of armed conflict in the insurgent-prone eastern borderlands, but also of decades of mis-governance by the militarized state.

  • Conceptualising interconnections in global governance: the case of refugee protection

    12 December 2013

    The way in which issue-areas are interconnected is an important factor in explaining political outcomes at the global level. However, the existing literature on interconnections is inadequate for understanding the role that they play in world politics. This paper sets out a new conceptual framework for understanding interconnections based on a structure-agency approach. It develops two main concepts: embeddedness and linkages, and explores the relationship between the two. It suggests that the embeddedness of issue-areas can be understood through the lens of four principal concepts: regimes, organisations, ideas, and identity. It argues that the ways in which an issue-area is embedded in turn enable and constrain the possibilities for actors to use issue-linkage within bargaining. It suggests that because the way in which issue-areas are embedded may differentially empower different actors, embeddedness can confer a form of institutional or structural power that may either reinforce or offset other forms of relational power in negotiations between actors.

  • The politics of extraterritorial processing: offshore asylum policies in Europe and the Pacific

    12 December 2013

    This paper seeks to develop a social and political understanding of extraterritorial asylum policies through an examination of European and Australian cases. In particular, it asks: Why did extraterritorial asylum policies in the UK and Australia rise to prominence in the early 2000s? And what are the political conditions under which extraterritorial asylum policies may take place? To this end, this paper examines the broader political context in which extraterritorial asylum policies emerged, focusing particularly on the drastic geopolitical changes of the 1990s; and considers the notion that the growing ‘culture of human rights’ may paradoxically have contributed to the elaboration of extraterritorial asylum policies in liberal democratic states. By comparing and contrasting the European and Australian experiences of offshore processing, this paper reflects upon the political circumstances that make offshore asylum policies possible and viable as well as ways in which such policies may develop in the future.

  • Protection against torture in Western security frameworks: the erosion of non-refoulement in the UK-Libya MOU

    12 December 2013

    In 2005, the United Kingdom (UK) signed Memoranda of Understanding with Libya, Jordan and Lebanon. These memoranda allow the signatory nations to return individuals who are considered threats to the public safety of the host country, to their country of origin. This paper will show that the memoranda are both an extension of the UK’s security-focused migration policies and in conflict with the UK’s human rights obligations. First, it will be argued that the memoranda represent an effort by the UK, pre-dating and accelerated by the September 11th attacks, to frame migration policy control as a national security goal. Second, it will be argued that the non-binding nature of the memoranda and their lack of mechanisms for implementation and legal redress could negatively impact the principle of non-refoulement to torture.