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  • Follow-Up Study on the Role of UNIDO’s Training on the Economic Reintegration of Repatriated Refugees in Liberia

    29 November 2017

    Drawing on recent follow-up research, this report presents the main findings on the employment and job situation of former beneficiaries of UNIDO’s training programmes aiming to promote the economic reintegration of Liberian returnees.

  • Solidarity at work? The prevalence of emergency-driven solidarity in the administrative governance of the Common European Asylum System

    18 December 2017

    Policymakers conceptualize the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) as a ‘common area of protection and solidarity’. And yet, the absence of solidarity and fair-sharing in the administrative governance of the policy is glaringly salient. Against this backdrop, this article explores Article 80 TFEU, establishing the principle of ‘solidarity and fair-sharing of responsibility’. This analysis reveals it to be a principle that is structural to the EU asylum policy, dictates a certain ‘quality’ in the co-operation of the different actors, and affects the goal of the policy. To do this, after outlining the initial implementation design of the asylum policy, I examine ‘shifts’ in its administration modes, focusing on developments in responsibility-assignation, practical cooperation and EU funding. The analysis covers developments prompted by the 2015 ‘refugee crisis’, such as the emergency intra-EU relocation schemes, the emergence of new funding lines and the enhancement in the operational role of EU agencies. This article argues that, despite the rhetoric surrounding the solidarity principle, rather than being structurally embedded in the system’s administration modes, it remains emergency-driven. In this sense, the implementation design fails both to attain ‘fair sharing’, as well as to respond to what are essentially structural, rather than exceptional needs.

  • A Fair Share: Refugees and Responsibility-Sharing

    21 December 2017

    Responsibility-sharing relates to the distribution of costs and benefits between states for addressing a particular global challenge. The global refugee regime has historically had relatively weak norms relating to responsibility-sharing. In the aftermath of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ in the Middle East and Europe, there have been renewed calls to create effective mechanisms for responsibility-sharing. But how should such institutional mechanisms be designed? The report’s central argument is that under current political conditions responsibility-sharing is unlikely to be achieved through the creation of a single legal mechanism or centralised allocation system. Rather, it requires a range of complementary mechanisms – analytical, political, and operational –to overcome the collective action failure that has historically beset the refugee system. This project studies states’ and non-state actors’ assistance to refugees. It offers a method of measuring the extent of responsibility-sharing and discusses different possible models of sharing responsibility. A short policy brief is also available.

  • Sticky technologies: Plumpy’nut®, emergency feeding and the viscosity of humanitarian design

    10 January 2018

    Inspired by de Laet and Mol’s classic article on the Zimbabwean Bush Pump and Peter Redfield’s revival of fluidity as a central characteristic of humanitarian design, this paper argues that many humanitarian technologies are characterized not so much by fluidity as by stickiness. Sticky technologies lie somewhere between fluid technologies and Latourian immutable mobiles: They work precisely because they are mobile and not overly adaptable, yet they retain some flexibility by reaching out to shape and be shaped by their users. The concept is introduced through a detailed study of Plumpy’nut®, a peanut paste for therapeutic feeding that is materially sticky – much firmer than a fluid, yet still mutable – as well as conceptually sticky. ‘Stickiness’ can have wide utility for thinking through technology and humanitarianism.

  • How friends become foes: exploring the role of documents in shaping UNHCR’s behaviour

    10 January 2018

    In issuing and circulating a litany of documents, organisations produce statements with important textual and material qualities and affects. While a discursive analysis focuses on the former, interrogating how language is used, this paper propounds the need to explore the physicality of these objects too and adopts several heuristic devices to do so. First, it outlines how the issuance of certain documents within the refugee regime suppresses within a ‘black box’ the supporting and competing narratives that resulted in their genesis. Second, and relatedly, it considers why particular announcements are capable of catalysing responses that outlive their authors’ finite intentions. Tracing the genealogy of these documents is thus argued to be critical for explaining the persistent and yet unpredictable influence of ideas, interests and pressures on institutional conduct, even long after their proponents have changed tack. By illustrating why greater attention should be paid to the ways that material objects can come to shape organisational behaviour, in this case legal texts, this article complements existing theoretical frameworks used to explain UNHCR’s conduct. This helps explain how, when and why non-legally binding declarations nonetheless came to bind UNHCR’s actions as it attempted to cancel the status of Eritrean refugees in 2002.

  • School, sexuality and problematic girlhoods: reframing ‘empowerment’ discourse

    10 January 2018

    This paper draws on ethnographic research with teenage schoolgirls in Tanzania to explore the impact of education on their experiences of sexual agency and empowerment. School-based education is frequently presented within international development as a route for empowering girls to exercise agency over their sexuality; yet school itself often constitutes a space in which the same restrictive gendered and sexual norms that exist outside the classroom are reproduced or go unchallenged by those working with girls. Despite the constraints to their agency from both outside and within school, girls themselves do resist the narratives of girlhood and sexuality imposed upon them. Recognising how these dynamics challenge our understanding of sexual empowerment is key to finding ways to support girls in navigating repressive norms beyond the classroom.

  • Policies and labels for negotiating rights protection for the environmentally displaced in Ghana: the Dagara farmer in perspective

    23 January 2018

    This paper discusses the issue of rights within the context of contemporary policies and the extent to which they address the challenges confronting environmentally displaced people in Ghana. It also explores the role of labels in the drive toward affording appropriate rights protection for the environmentally displaced. The discussions are an offshoot from two extant studies conducted through interviews and focus group sessions. The objective of the first study was to assess the level of preparedness of government to offer appropriate rights protection to environmentally displaced persons. The second study investigated how migrants, especially those affected by changing environmental condition are able to gain access and negotiate their rights in all the different places they go to. From the studies, it was found that there are no clear policies in Ghana meant to afford rights protection to environmentally displaced people and that the rights of such migrants keep shifting with both time and location. People migrating from areas of environmental scarcity lack the capacity to negotiate for ‘better’ rights due to weak leadership and the fear of losing courtesies extended to them by the host communities. It concludes that there are ample opportunities within the policy and social environments for supporting and promoting appropriate rights protection for environmentally displaced people. It recommends a shift in the national policy drive toward a rights-based protection with clear blue prints for targeting and addressing the needs of environmentally displaced in Ghana.

  • Syria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State

    1 February 2018

    The dispossession and forced migration of nearly 50 per cent of Syria’s population has produced the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. This new book places the current displacement within the context of the widespread migrations that have indelibly marked the region throughout the last 150 years. Syria itself has harboured millions from its neighbouring lands, and Syrian society has been shaped by these diasporas. Dawn Chatty explores how modern Syria came to be a refuge state, focusing first on the major forced migrations into Syria of Circassians, Armenians, Kurds, Palestinians, and Iraqis. Drawing heavily on individual narratives and stories of integration, adaptation, and compromise, she shows that a local cosmopolitanism came to be seen as intrinsic to Syrian society. She examines the current outflow of people from Syria to neighbouring states as individuals and families seek survival with dignity, arguing that though the future remains uncertain, the resilience and strength of Syrian society both displaced internally within Syria and externally across borders bodes well for successful return and reintegration. If there is any hope to be found in the Syrian civil war, it is in this history.

  • Paradoxes of Resilience: A Review of the World Disasters Report 2016

    13 February 2018

    ‘Resilience’, wrote Mark Neocleous in 2013, ‘has in the last decade become one of the key political categories of our time. It falls easily from the mouths of politicians, a variety of state departments are funding research into it, urban planners are now obliged to take it into consideration, and academics are falling over themselves to conduct research on it’ (Neocleous, 2013: 3). This is one of the few points of agreement in the literature around resilience: it is a big word with big implications. In fact, Neocleous put it relatively mildly. Resilience has reached beyond politicians, state departments, urban planners and academics to capture the imagination of psychotherapists, child development experts, ecologists and security forces. ‘Much like the concept of globalization that rose to popularity in the 1980s and 1990s’, concluded a recent issue of Politics, ‘resilience seems to carry a productive ambiguity that both resists exact definition and allows for a spectrum of interactions and engagements between policy and the everyday’ (Brassett et al., 2013: 221; Pugh, 2014). One thing is clear: resilience has an extensive reach. It is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that it has begun to penetrate the humanitarian system. The 2016 World Disasters Report (WDR) Resilience: Saving Lives Today, Investing for Tomorrow is a good illustration, making a sustained case for resilience.

  • Refugee Economies in Kenya

    20 February 2018

    This report from the Refugee Economies Programme compares socio-economic outcomes for refugees and the surrounding host communities. Kenya hosts nearly half a million refugees and limits refugees’ right to work and freedom of movement. This new research is based on 4366 survey responses and covers both Nairobi and the Kakuma refugee camp. The report compares and tries to explain refugee and host outcomes in three areas: livelihoods, living standards, and subjective well-being. In Kakuma camp, refugees are better off than the surrounding host population. For example, even though they have comparable employment levels, working refugees’ self-reported median income is almost three times higher than for the local Turkana. Despite the gap, the Turkana hosts benefit immensely from the refugee presence. In Nairobi, although refugees are better off than they would be in camps, they are worse off than the local host population across almost all metrics. Four sets of factors seem to explain these gaps between refugees and hosts: regulation (how you are governed), networks (who you know), capital (what you have), and identity (who you are).