In a short space of time, COVID-19 has dramatically upended our world. This new section of the RSC’s website aims to shine a light on how the coronavirus has affected the lives of forced migrants.
In some respects COVID-19 is a great equaliser. The bodies of many wealthy and privileged people are as vulnerable to infection as those of the poor and insecure. Yet there is no doubt that people in precarious situations at the margins of society face distinctive challenges. How does one self-isolate in a crowded refugee camp or, even more so, in an immigration detention centre? What happens to refugees seeking protection when borders close? How can asylum survive when foreigners are characterised as the carriers of disease? The coronavirus throws up a host of political, ethical, and practical questions for governments, humanitarian officials, scholars, and, most of all for refugees themselves, often forced to provide for their own health and security.
As this section of our website grows over time, I hope it will prove an important resource for those wishing to understand the world of forced migration in this new and testing environment.
Professor Matthew J Gibney