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  • Asylum and childhood in the UK: a highly political relationship

    12 December 2013

    This paper aims to understand the reason why negotiation of the relationship between asylum policy and the well-being of asylum-seeking children has been particularly challenging in recent years. Its objective is to comprehend the nature and the implications of the relationship between childhood and asylum in the UK. It specifically investigates the theoretical, political and rhetorical frameworks applying to asylum-seeking children within families (‘accompanied’ children). It focuses on the actors involved in making, influencing and implementing policy: especially the Government, Members of Parliament, civil-society organisations, civil servants and, at the margin, the media. This paper argues that the controversy over asylum-seeking children does not result from a diverging understanding of childhood between the state and its opponents. Instead, divergence arises in relation to the consideration given to adult asylum-seekers and the standards set for the entire asylum system.

  • The use of diplomatic assurances in the prevention of prohibited treatment

    12 December 2013

    If most receiving States are already bound by a prohibition of torture by treaty law as well as international customary law of jus cogens quality, what is the added value of a diplomatic assurance? This paper argues that the assurance may add a layer of bilateral obligation to the multilateral obligation erga omnes. It is not inherently more or less binding than universal obligations; the difference lies in available enforcement options. Within the framework of diplomatic assurance, sending States can dictate conditions of monitoring and enforcement that do not follow from existing obligations. This determines whether there is an added value and whether in the individual case an assurance can cancel a risk of prohibited treatment. By elevating an individual case to the diplomatic level, it gains significance. By the same move, however, it becomes vulnerable to the exigencies of foreign relations.

  • Resolving the liberal paradox: Citizen rights and alien rights in the UK

    12 December 2013

    The liberal paradox has been instrumental in shaping the exclusionary provisions of municipal asylum law and policy. It refers to the theoretical contradictions between state sovereignty and human rights commitments, which become expressed in the paradoxical asylum procedures of liberal democracies. This paper attempts to weaken the paradox on several grounds. I will argue that there is no necessary tension between democracy and liberalism in the context of asylum; that the state’s sovereign right to control entry is quite compatible with its obligation to protect aliens within its territory; and that British asylum policy is quite consistent and does not manifest the existence of the liberal paradox. The implications of undermining this paradox could be that governments might consider revising their restrictive schemes to accommodate the needs of forced migrants.

  • Research with children living in situations of armed conflict: concepts, ethics and methods

    12 December 2013

    The production of this paper has been motivated by the conviction that participatory research with children in armed conflict settings is valuable because of the emergency context. Such an approach is likely to yield richer and more detailed data than a conventional, adult-led approach. These data can be invaluable to the design of interventions. Moreover, engagement in well-planned research activities can offer direct benefits for young participants by enhancing their skills and awareness. In settings of conflict where the young may be required to play an expanded role in their own protection and in the care of others, their personal development is especially important. Our aim here is to equip researchers to most safely and profitably pursue participatory research with children and, to that end,we explore the specific conceptual, ethical and methodological issues concerned.

  • Stories of a nation: historical narratives and visions of the future in Saharawi refugee camps

    12 December 2013

    This paper argues that the administration of refugee camps and humanitarian aid by refugees facilitates the creation of a national identity. In doing so it asserts that: camps are loci for the creation of collective narratives about their residents, administrative authority and economic control enable a power elite to gain asymmetric authority in a relational field, and nationalism meets the new elites’ need for legitimacy in the context of “traditional” narratives and provides a unifying “vision of the future”. This paper explores the specific sources and manifestations of Saharawi nationalism, including the construction of nationalizing structures by the Polisario elite and the impact of those structures on the Saharawi population. It concludes with the implications of this work for research on nationalism, refugee camps, and the Sarahawi.

  • Politics as usual: the criminalization of asylum seekers in the United States

    12 December 2013

    This paper explores the legislated, tactical, and discursive means by which asylum seekers and criminals have been cast analogously as both figures of putative threat and beings undeserving of the rights of citizenship over the past decade in the United States. It argues that one cannot fully understand the politics of asylum and unauthorized migration in the US without an analysis of the overwhelmingly penal and criminalizing mechanisms by which such politics are practiced. By critically assessing these mechanisms within asylum management technologies, it finds that contemporary immigration and asylum measures serve a variety of political and social functions domestically, distinct from the goal of restricting entry. These alternative functions include bolstering state legitimacy, facilitating the regulation and exploitation of labour, and containing social and political unrest.

  • Aceh under martial law: conflict, violence and displacement

    12 December 2013

    This document presents a collection of papers developed in conjunction with a one-day workshop held on the 20th May 2004 and organised by the Refugee Studies Centre in collaboration with the Asian Studies Centre, St. Antony’s College. The workshop focused analysis and debate on the conflict, violence and displacement under martial law in Aceh. Scheduled to coincide with the formal lifting of martial law on 19 May 2004, the workshop brought together academics and practitioners and, thus, a wide range of perspectives and expertise. Obstacles and opportunities for the long-term resolution of this protracted conflict were also explored during the day.

  • Contesting and reinforcing patriarchy: an analysis of domestic violence in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp

    12 December 2013

    The following paper is an examination of domestic violence in the Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi, with the intent to show that refugee domestic violence deserves to be studied more thoroughly and with a broad lens. It discusses three approaches used to explain domestic violence in Western and African contexts: individual reasons, culture, and structural violence. Moreover, this paper shows that the community may play a role either in resolving domestic violence by facilitating justice and healing, or legitimating it. Camp personnel, such as police, health care practitioners, administration and social services are members of this community. Lastly, Western development and humanitarian agencies, as well as international institutions, have claimed places in the discussion of refugee domestic affairs and their interests are played out in culture and through discourse.

  • The outside inside: Chechen IDPs, identity documents and the right to free movement in the Russian Federation

    12 December 2013

    The present war in Chechnya, like its predecessor, has become infamous for the human rights violations visited in its name upon civilians in the conflict zone. This paper examines the way in which the scope and reach of these human rights violations has expanded beyond the Northern Caucasus to include those who have fled Chechnya for other parts of Russia, sometimes hundreds of miles away from the fighting that displaced them. It shows that as the language of security becomes the ascendant discourse in Russia’s domestic affairs, authorities at both federal and regional levels have taken the liberty of imposing restrictions on the various identity documents that displaced Chechens would need to resettle outside their home republic. These bureaucratic measures have coalesced to create a de facto suspension of displaced Chechens’ right to free intrastate movement, limiting, if not extinguishing, their chances of finding refuge within Russia.

  • The conditions of just return: state responsibility and restitution for refugees

    12 December 2013

    Today, permanent resettlement is evaporating as a solution to refugee crises. For millions of refugees, return is no longer an option but an imperative (Hathaway 1997: 553). Drawing on international law and social contract theory, this paper argues that the state of origin has a fundamental responsibility to provide restitution to repatriating refugees with a view to creating just conditions of return. Rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to the challenges of return, restitution is a negotiated process involving modalities such as property restoration, financial compensation and trials, and aims to recast the fragmented relationship between refugees and their states of origin into a rights-based framework (Ellis and Hutton 2002: 334). Albeit an invariably imperfect process, this paper contends that it is through restitution that the state re-establishes its legitimacy by acknowledging and attempting to make good on the moral and legal responsibilities it abrogated by forcing its citizens into exile.