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Refugees/Refugees Law

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This section addresses issues related to forced migration, asylum-seekers and the evolution of the international refugee regime as it interacts with domestic politics, European inter-governmental and EU developments. The references also address normative issues linked to the treatment of refugees as distinct from migrants. Recent scholarship has also insisted on the evolution of the refugee movements and their types.

 

Books

Boswell, Christina 2005: The Ethics of Refugee Policy, Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot.
Abstract:
What duties do liberal democratic states owe to refugees? Does international refugee law impose unfeasible demands on states? This book explores what theories of international ethics have to say about refugee policy. It advances an innovative critique of prevalent liberal approaches, showing how their assumptions about moral agency create unfeasible expectations about international justice. It sets out an alternative theory, showing how this could be more adept at mobilizing commitment to refugee rights.

Crépeau, Francois, Delphine Nakache, Michael Collyer, Nathaniel H. Goetz, Art Hansen, Renu Modi, Aninia Nadiq, Sanja Spoljar-Vrzina & Loes H. M. van Willigen (eds.) 2005: Forced Migration and Global Processes: A View from Forced Migration Studies, Lexington Books, Lanham, MD.
Abstract:
Migration is at the centre of much of the discussion on globalization. Migrants move across borders and thus defy state-centred traditions. Migration is often caused or influenced by aspects of global change: the transformation of the world economy with the expansion of free trade, the modification of the world balance of power and the challenge of global insecurity, the emergence of the global environment as an important political issue, and the redefinition of the role of communities in shaping identities when faced with networks of migrants and diasporas. Forced Migration and Global Processes considers the crossroads of forced migration with three global trends: development, human rights, and security. This collection studies these complex interactions and aims to help determine what solutions may alleviate most of the human suffering involved in forced migrations.

Joly, Danièle 1996: Haven or Hell: Asylum Policies and Refugees in Europe, Palgrave, Basingstoke.
Abstract:
This book brings together three discrete areas of interest pertaining to refugees. Asylum is explored through studies on the evolution of legal instruments in Europe, the harmonisation process of European policies, and the broader spectrum of factors underpinning decisions on asylum. Reception and settlement of refugees are analysed through a comparative study of national programmes in France and Britain and in addition a survey of local authority policies. A typology for refugees is developed and tested by a comparison between Chilean and Vietnamese associations in France and Britain.

Loescher, Gil 2001: The UNHCR and World Politics: A Perilous Path, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Abstract:
Gil Loescher, draws upon decades of personal experience and research to examine the origins and evolution of the UNHCR as well as to identify many of the major challenges facing the organization in the years ahead. A key focus is to examine the extent to which the evolution of the UNHCR has been framed by the crucial events of international politics during the past half century and how, in turn, the actions of the eight past High Commissioners have helped shape the course of world history. Each chapter tells the story of an individual High Commissioner and examines the unique contributions made to the development of the Office. The history of the last fifty years shows how the UNHCR has initiated and capitalized on international political developments to progressively expand its scope and authority as an important actor in world politics. The book argues that the UNHCR has overstretched itself in recent decades and has strayed from its central human rights protection role. The protection of refugees remains a litmus test of the international community's commitment to defend human rights and to uphold liberal democratic values. Loescher offers a series of bold policy recommendations aimed at making the agency a more effective and accountable advocate for the millions of refugees in the world today.

Steiner, Niklaus, Mark Gibney & Gil Loescher 2003: Problems of Protection: The UNHCR, Refugees and Human Rights, Routledge, Oxford.
Abstract:
Of all the humanitarian impulses in world politics today, one of the most widely recognized is the need to protect refuges. However, as The Problems of Protection explores, what on the surface appears to be a simple proposition can quickly become complex and controversial. This complexity results in troubling variation in how we respond to our obligation to protect refugees - while NATO launches a major military intervention on behalf of Albanians in Kosovo amidst worldwide media attention, the international community's response to Sierra Leonean refugees is slow, inefficient and inadequate. Who qualifies as a refugee in need of protection? Should refugees be returned as soon as possible, or integrated into safer host countries? The contributors to this volume address the often lacking political will among powerful countries and donors, shifting attitudes among affected countries, and the difficulty of rebuilding societies in a world in which the number of refugees will almost certainly continue to increase.

Zolberg, Aristide R. & Benda, Peter 2001: Global Migrants, Global Refugees: Problems and Solutions, Berghahn Books, Oxford.
Abstract:
In recent years, several influential commentators have stated or strongly implied that the advanced industrial democracies are today being overwhelmed by a host of problems - including rapid population growth, the break-up of multi-ethnic states, environmental degradation, and increasing economic differentials between the "developing" and "developed" worlds - for which no effective solutions are at hand. The migration-inducing potential of these post-Cold War developments has been a particular source of concern. This volume provides a counter-catastrophic view of developments and a balanced assessment of the challenges the United States and other industrial democracies face in the sphere of international migration.

Zolberg, Aristide R, Astri Suhrke & Sergio Aguayo 1989: Escape from Violence: Conflict and the Refugee Crisis in the Developing World, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Abstract:
The magnitude of refugees movements in the Third World, widely perceived as an unprecedented crisis, has generated widespread concern in the West. This concern reveals itself as an ambiguous mixture of heartfelt compassion for the plight of the unfortunates cast adrift and a diffuse fear that they will come "pouring in." In this comprehensive study, the authors examine the refugee flows originating in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and suggest how a better understanding of this phenomenon can be used by the international community to assist those in greatest need. Reviewing the history of refugee movements in the West, they show how their formation and the fate of endangered populations have also been shaped by the partisan objectives of receiving countries. They survey the kinds of social conflicts characteristic of different regions of the Third World and the ways refugees and refugee policy are made to serve broader political purposes.

Annual surveys, data and reports

Boswell, Christina & Crisp, Jeff 2004: Poverty, International Migration and Asylum, United Nations WIDER Policy Brief, no. 8.
Abstract:
This report presents materials from a 2002 conference organised by WIDER the United Nations World Institute for Development Economics research. It examines the relationship between globalisation, poverty and patterns of international migration. The impact of the migration on the receiving countries is considered and measures to control it discussed. These include: the liberalisation of immigration policies, protection schemes for refugees and addressing the causes of migration.

 UNHCR 2006: The State of the World’s Refugees Human Displacement in the New Millennium, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Abstract:
The State of the World's Refugees provides an overview of key recent developments related to internal and cross-border displacement of people throughout the world. Produced by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the book focuses on issues occurring since the last edition of the series in 2000.  The book critically examines the changing dynamics of forced displacement and the challenges faced by affected states and the international community. More specifically, it analyses key developments in asylum policy and practice; it searches for practical solutions to protracted refugee situations; it re-examines the debates around durable solutions; and it assesses responses to internal displacement. As well as analysing policy issues related to refugees, returnees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons and stateless populations, the book provides a wealth of statistical tables, graphs and maps.

US Committee for Refugees: World refugee survey 2006
Abstract
:
The World Refugee Survey 2006 provided updates on refugee’s situation in the world today. The survey included statistics, articles and country updates.

See also the UNHCR web site

Articles

Collyer, Michael 2005: “Secret Agents: Anachists, Islamists and Responses to Politically Active Refugees in London“, Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol. 28 (2). Pp 278-303.
Abstract:
The literature on the securitization of migration has characterized a growing trend in migration legislation to treat migration as a security issue. This legitimizes increasingly harsh responses to migrants. Recent legislation in the UK has responded to security concerns directly through the immigration system, where discrimination on the basis of national origin remains permissible, rather than the criminal justice system, where it is not. A historical comparison of two refugee communities reveals the extent to which the security response has become ingrained in British policy-making on migration issues. At the end of the nineteenth century Parliament was faced with a very similar set of issues to those faced by government a century later but a strong liberal consensus implemented very different legislation. Collyer argues that Migration policy should not be governed by the actions of a tiny minority of real or imagined 'secret agents', instead he claims the only just solution is to deal with the situation through the criminal justice system, rather than as an immigration issue.

Nadje Al-Ali, Richard Black & Khalid Koser 2001: “Refugees and Transnationalism : The Experience of Bosnians and Eritreans in Europe“, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol 27 (4). Pp 615-634.
Abstract:
The study of transnationalism has largely bypassed refugees, or in rare cases has focused specifically on their political activities. Proceeding from recent perspectives in international migration studies which suggest that there may be at best only a blurred conceptual distinction between refugees and other migrants, this article subjects two refugee groups - Eritreans and Bosnians in various European countries - to the type of transnational analysis more commonly found among labour migrants. It extends the focus from political activities to show how refugees can become involved in a range of economic, social and cultural transnational activities. At the same time, the paper identifies a range of obstacles which differentially influence the desire and capacity of the study populations to participate in these activities. On the basis of this empirical evidence, we make the case for a fuller incorporation of refugees in the contemporary study of transnationalism. At a more conceptual level, the paper charts the evolution of transnational characteristics among the study populations. The implication, which extends beyond the refugee context alone, is that transnationalism is not a 'state of being', as is sometimes implied by the existing literature, but rather that transnationalism is a dynamic process.

Thielemann, Eiko R. & Dewan, Torun 2006: “The Myth of Free-Riding: Refugee Protection and Implicit Burden-Sharing“, West European Politics, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 351-69.
Abstract:
Why do states accept what appear to be disproportionate and inequitable burdens in the provision of international collective goods? Traditional burden-sharing models emphasise free-riding opportunities of small countries at the expense of larger ones. An alternative model suggests that countries specialise according to their comparative advantage as to the type and level of contribution they make to international collective goods. This article apply this model to forced migration and suggest that countries can contribute to refugee protection in two principal ways: proactively, through peacekeeping/making and reactively, by providing protection for displaced persons. While the existing literature on peacekeeping provides evidence for the ‘exploitation of the big by the small’, this analysis of UNHCR data of 15 OECD countries for the period 1994–2002 balances this view by showing that reactive burdens are disproportionately borne by smaller states. The authors also show that EU asylum policy initiatives directed at refugee burden-sharing aim at equalising particular dimensions of states' contributions to refugee protection. By doing so, they curtail opportunities for specialisation and risk consolidating a sub-optimal provision of refugee protection.

Review Articles

Black, Richard 2001: “Fifty Years of Refugee Studies: From Theory to Policy”, International Migration Review, 35 p. 55-76.
Abstract:
This article reviews the growth of the field of refugee studies, focusing on its links with, and impact on, refugee policy. The last fifty years, and especially the last two decades, have witnessed both a dramatic increase in academic work on refugees and significant institutional development in the field. It is argued that these institutions have developed strong links with policymakers, although this has often failed to translate into significant policy impacts. Areas in which future policy-orientated work might be developed are considered.

Boswell, Christina 2000: “Doing Justice to Refugees: Challenges and Limits of the Current Debate”, International Journal of Human Rights, 4 (2), pp 79-88.