In the first post of ‘Dispatches from the Global Crisis in Refugee Protection,’ Omar al-Muqdad – a prominent journalist, documentary filmmaker, and former Syrian refugee – discusses the conflicts and conditions in Syria forcing Syrians to make desperate, limited choices.
Despite a growing literature on the economic lives of refugees, much of that work has lacked theory or data. The work that has been quantitative has generally focused on the economic impact of refugees on host countries rather than explaining variation in economic outcomes for refugees. This paper seeks to explain variation in economic outcomes for refugees by asking three questions about the economic lives of refugees: 1) what makes the economic lives of refugees distinctive from other populations; 2) what explains variation in refugees’ income levels; and 3) what role does entrepreneurship play in shaping refugees’ economic outcomes? To answer these questions, the paper draws upon extensive qualitative and quantitative research conducted in Uganda. The quantitative data set is based on a survey of 2,213 refugees in three types of contexts: urban (Kampala), protracted camps (Nakivale and Kyangwali settlements), and emergency camps (Rwamwanja). The paper concludes that supporting refugees’ capacities rather than solely addressing their vulnerabilities offers an opportunity to rethink assistance in ways that are more sustainable for refugees, host states, and donors.
This paper considers the relationship between two human rights discourses, refugee/asylum protection and the body of law that regulates deportations. It suggests that the development of rights against removal, as well as rights during and after removal, aids our understanding of the refugee protection regime and its future. This paper argues that emerging anti-deportation discourses should be systematically studied by those interested in the global refugee regime for three basic reasons: 1) the linkage between the two phenomena of refugee/asylum protection and deportation; 2) deportation human rights discourses embody framing models that might aid reform of the existing refugee protection regime; and 3) deportation discourses offer important rights protections that could strengthen the refugee and asylum regime. It concludes with consideration of how deportation discourses may strengthen protections for refugees, while also helping to develop more capacious and protective systems in the future.
Proposals to shape migration management policies recognize the need to involve a range of actors to implement humane and effective strategies. However, when observed through the lens of immigration detention, some migration policy trends raise challenging questions, particularly related to the involvement of non-state actors in migration control. This article critically assesses a range of new actors who have become involved in the deprivation of liberty of migrants and asylum seekers, describes the various forces that appear to be driving their engagement in immigration enforcement, and makes a series of recommendations concerning the role of non-state actors and detention in global efforts to manage international migration. These recommendations include ending the use the detention in international migration management schemes; limiting the involvement of private companies in immigration control measures; insisting that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) actively endorse the centrality of human rights in the Global Compact for Migration and amend its constitution so that it makes a clear commitment to international human rights standards; and encouraging nongovernmental organizations to carefully assess the services they provide when operating in detention situations to ensure that their work contributes to harm reduction.
On World Refugee Day 2017, CMS and Cristosal (El Salvador) released a report detailing ten cases from the Northern Triangle of Central America—four from El Salvador and three each from Guatemala and from Honduras—which chronicle the journeys of refugees in search of protection, how the system did not protect them, and what they face upon return to their home countries. The report concludes that the United States and Mexico are returning Central American asylum-seekers to danger, and, as a result, are violating the international principle of non-refoulement. Overall, 18 cases were interviewed and analyzed for the study. The report includes several policy recommendations for the governments to consider.
The article suggests that post-9/11 there has been a reconfiguration of refugee policy and a reconnecting of humanitarian and security interests which has enabled a discourse antithetical to the universal right to asylum. The main conclusion is that in a post-post-Cold War era, European governments have developed restrictive policies despite public sympathy. Support for the admission of refugees is not, however, unqualified, and most states and European populations prefer skilled populations that can be easily assimilated. In order to achieve greater protection and more open policies, this article recommends that human rights actors work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its partners to challenge the anti-refugee discourse through media campaigns and grassroots messaging.
In the early summer months of 2014, an increasing number of children and families from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala — three of the most dangerous countries in the world — began arriving at the US-Mexico border in search of safety and protection. Responses to this “surge,” and explanations for it, varied widely in policy, media, and government circles. Two competing narratives emerged. One argues that “push” factors in their home countries drove children and families to flee as bona fide asylum seekers; the other asserted that “pull” factors drew these individuals to the United States. The first section of this paper examines and critiques the Obama administration’s policies during and after the 2014 summer surge, which took the form of expanded family detention, accelerated removal procedures, raids, and interdiction. The second section examines the “push” factors behind the migration surge — namely, societal violence, violence in the home, and poverty and exclusion in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The penultimate section explores the ways in which the United States’ deterrence-based policies echo missteps of the past, particularly through constructive refoulement and the denial of protection to legitimate refugees. The paper concludes by offering recommendations to the US government for a more effective approach to the influx of Central American women and children at its border, one that addresses the reasons driving their flight and that furthers a sustainable solution consistent with US and international legal obligations and moral principles.
Between 2011 and 2015, Lebanon received more than one million Syrian refugees. Already beset by political divisions, insecure borders, severely strained infrastructure, and over-stretched public services, the mass influx of refugees further taxed this small country. That Lebanon withstood what is often characterized as an existential threat has primarily been due to the remarkable resilience of the Lebanese people. It is also due to the unprecedented levels of humanitarian funding that the international community provided to support refugees and their host communities. The refugee response was not perfect, and funding fell well below needs. Nonetheless, thousands of lives were saved, protection was extended, essential services were provided, and efforts were made to improve through education the future prospects of close to half-a-million refugee children residing in Lebanon. This paper examines what worked well in Lebanon and where the refugee response stumbled, focusing on areas where improved efforts in planning, delivery, coordination, innovation, funding, and partnerships can enhance future emergency responses.
This article analyzes the responses of Central American and Mexican migrant children to one interview question regarding how to help youth like themselves, and identifies several implied “no-win” situations as potential reasons for the migration decisions of unaccompanied children. Furthermore, the children’s responses highlight the interconnected nature of economics, security, and education as migratory factors. Examination of children’s political speech revealed primarily negative references regarding their home country’s government, the president, and the police. The police were singled out more than any other public figures, with particular emphasis on police corruption and ineffectiveness. Additional analysis focused on children’s comments regarding migration needs and family.
Asylum lies at the heart of the international refugee protection regime. Yet, today, most states in the developed world implement a range of deterrence measures designed to prevent access to asylum on their territories. With particular attention to Europe’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis, this paper categorizes contemporary deterrence policies. It then questions the sustainability and effectiveness of such policies. A number of deterrence measures do not conform with refugee and human rights law, rendering the refugee protection regime vulnerable to collapse. Finally, this article suggests some ways forward to address these problems. It discusses the partial success of legal challenges to deterrence measures and opportunities for alternative avenues to access protection. Ultimately, however, it argues that the viability of the refugee protection regime requires collective action and international burden-sharing.