Forced Migration Review

Provides articles on refugee and internal displacement issues.

Articles from No. 51, January

Abuses at Europe's Borders
In the absence of a consistent policy response implemented across all European Union (EU) Member States, the burden has largely fallen on states at Europe's external borders to receive, screen and process the thousands of people arriving as well as to...
A Coast-Guard Officer's Perspective: Reinforcing Migration through Legal Channels
As far back as 1994 when I was inducted as an Ensign of the Hellenic Coast Guard, we were dealing with both refugees and economic migrants on Lesbos Island, which lies only ten nautical miles from the Turkish coast. At that time the vast majority of...
Afghan and Somali (Post-)Conflict Migration to the EU
Somalis and Afghans still figure in the top ten nationalities of asylum-seeker numbers recorded in the European Union (EU). Over one third of asylum seekers from both countries in 2014 were not granted refugee status - but nor were they deemed to have...
A Network of Camps on the Way to Europe
"No camp! No camp!" shouted the refugees who were on their way to Austria, refusing to get off the train after it was stopped by the Hungarian police at the town of Bicske, where one of the country's main refugee camps is located.Over the last decade,...
Are Asylum and Immigration Really a European Union Issue?
It is redundant to say that the European Union (EU) is failing itself, failing refugees and failing humanity with its current policy towards immigration and asylum. The daily reports of more deaths at sea and on land, of battles between border police...
Arrivals on the Island of Lesbos, Summer 2015
By the end of August 2015, improvised camps had been set up all over Mytiline, the capital of Lesbos, and outside the two designated areas. This created a huge pressure for the local population and authorities, already low on resources due to the economic...
A Welcoming Policy in Post-Socialist East Germany
As former East Germany is now receiving refugees as part of the national distribution scheme, towns there need to adapt to accommodating refugees. There is a range of different attitudes in the East-German context - from the highly defensive to the very...
Bulgaria's Struggle at the Frontline
Bulgaria is one among many European countries dealing with insufficient capacity and unhelpful nationalist politics in the recent 'migration crisis'. The response to the increase in irregular entries across the Bulgarian-Turkish border since 2013 has...
Challenges to the Right to Work in Ecuador
Ecuador is one example where refugees' right to work and their potential positive contribution to the host society were recognised with the introduction of universal citizenship in the Constitution of 2008. As a result, refugees and asylum seekers enjoy...
Choices, Preferences and Priorities in a Matching System for Refugees
Syrians fleeing the current conflict have been repeatedly told that they cannot 'choose' the state in which they seek longterm protection. In Australia, the idea that asylum seekers are 'shopping' for the best sanctuary forms a persistent part of the...
Economic Reintegration of Returnees in Liberia
Liberia has gradually been recovering from the social and economic damage caused by fourteen years of brutal civil war, between 1989 and 2003, which forcibly displaced about 700,000 Liberians outside the country. A significant number of Liberians repatriated...
Envisioning a Common European Asylum System
Europe continues to attract people facing persecution but the responsibility for receiving them is not shared equally amongst Member States. While Germany and Sweden together host nearly half of all asylum seekers in the European Union (EU), the countries...
EU Cooperation with Third Countries: Rethinking Concepts and Investments
Over the past decade, a range of dialogue initiatives and policy frameworks has been launched with 'third countries', that is, non-European Union (EU) countries, loosely gathered under the rubric of the EU's Global Approach to Mobility.1 They include...
Europe and the Future of International Refugee Policy
The European Union (EU) has long prided itself on being a beacon of regionalism but its paralysis over the question of a common asylum system may represent the most severe failure in the project's history. So far this year more than 800,000 refugees...
European Union Readmission Agreements
European Union (EU) readmission agreements allow for the readmission by states into their territory of both their own nationals and nationals of other countries - 'aliens' - in transit who have been found in an illegal situation in the territory of another...
Europe, Don't Copy Australia
The Australian practice of turning back asylum seekers has been quoted - often favourably - by political leaders in several EU states as an example to be followed in Europe. In fact, in the Australian context the issue of 'boat people' has been utilised...
Foreword: Banking on Mobility over a Generation
Migration cannot be stopped, without massively violating the human rights of the migrants. It may be deflected and rerouted, for a time. But European efforts to stop irregular migration will fail on a massive scale given the push and pull factors at...
From Syria to Brazil
Fewer than half of Syrians seeking asylum in the European Union (EU) manage to get refugee status. In contrast, in 2014 Brazil recognised all of the 1,405 Syrians who applied to Brazil for refugee status. In August 2015, Brazil had 2,077 Syrians refugees...
From the Editors
Europe is experiencing the mass movements of displaced people in a way that it has largely been immune from for decades. The ramifications and manifestations of what is being called a 'migration crisis' are extensive, intersecting with national as well...
In Search of Fairness in Responsibility Sharing
The European Union's (EU's) asylum system is riddled with factors that hold back its development. First of all, the responsibilitydetermination mechanism (the Dublin system) fails to share responsibility fairly between the Member States, and in addition...
Iraqi Refugee Households in Jordan: The Active Search for Solutions
At the beginning of August 2015, 37 Iraqi refugee families left my neighbourhood in East Amman, Jordan, in order to travel to Europe. After years of waiting for resettlement through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) they decided...
Irregular Migration by Sea
Irregular migration by sea is not a solely Mediterranean phenomenon; it is also frequent in the Caribbean, where mixed migration - including trafficking and smuggling - among the multitude of island nations and particularly to the United States is an...
It Need Not Be like This
That war creates refugees is nothing new. The Bosnian war of 1992-95 forced 2.2 million people to flee. What is new since then is European Union (EU) enlargement and the development of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). This imposes legally binding...
Legal and Practical Issues Raised by the Movement of People across the Mediterranean
'Irregular migration' is largely a product of the late twentieth century, reflecting the desire of certain states to impose (their) order on the movement of people across borders. 'Irregular migration' is, currently at least, little represented in international...
Melilla: Mirage En Route to Europe
The exclave of Melilla, a 12-km2 piece of Spanish territory located on the Mediterranean coastline of north Africa, has a border with Morocco. For some, this Europe-outside-Europe represents a way to pass through the walls of Europe.Due to a large number...
Migrant Arrivals and Deaths in the Mediterranean: What Do the Data Really Tell Us?
When looking at numbers of arrivals and deaths in the Mediterranean, it is important to ask how robust the data are and what they represent. If we are to frame and inform more accurately the policy challenges facing Europe, it is crucial that data are...
Migrants, Refugees, History and Precedents
It was in the nineteenth century that a recognisably modern form of mass migration was made possible by new forms of transport, colonial settlement and the expansion of the United States (US). Between 1846 and 1914, over 30 million migrants left Europe...
Migration Terminology Matters
Current efforts to discuss and address the 'migration crisis' in Europe are marked by polemics, fed in part by imprecise and sometimes inflammatory terminology used to describe migrants. This also risks contributing to the erosion of migrants' rights.The...
News from the Refugee Studies Centre
Destination: Europe - RSC Public Seminar SeriesJanuary-March 2016, Wednesdays at 17:00, Oxford Convenors: Cathryn Costello and Stephanie MotzComplementing the latest issue of FMR, the RSC's Hilary Term seminar series will examine the causes and consequences...
No Option but Europe
Asylum seekers arriving in Europe are often seen as part of an undifferentiated mass, and the complex stories of how they arrived are often submerged in the effort to control or manage migration. However, many of them are driven to seek protection in...
Passing through Greece
Until the partial opening of the borders through the Balkans in summer 2015, Patras - Greece's third city and harbour - used to be the main transit port for irregular migrants heading to Italy and the rest of Europe. In 2011, relocation of the port in...
Protecting Asylum Seekers in Mixed Flows: Lessons from Bulgaria
In countries where irregular entry is a criminal offence, persons in need of international protection arriving as part of mixed flows are at risk of being prosecuted. Under Bulgarian law, foreigners may be sanctioned for crossing the border illegally...
Refugee Protection in Europe: Time for a Major Overhaul?
Hundreds of thousands of refugees, and smaller numbers of economic migrants, are arriving on the shores of south and southeastern Europe. Most of those arriving in Greece and Italy have no interest in staying in either of these two countries. Given the...
Refugees in Serbia: On the Way to a Better Life
There were three shelters for refugees who were just passing through Belgrade, the Serbian capital, in 2014, and five asylum centres for those who wished to apply for asylum. However, the capacities were insufficient, as more than 2,500 people were entering...
Refugee Status Determination (RSD) in Albania
In October 2012, the European Commission recommended that Albania be granted European Union (EU) candidate status, subject to the completion of key measures in certain areas, including in asylum. One of the government's objectives was to align Albania's...
Removing 'Non-Removables'
In the European Union (EU), regular immigrants receive a residence permit and irregular immigrants receive a return order, an order to leave the country. Irregular immigrants "whose presence in the territory is known to the immigration authorities, but...
Safety, Rescue at Sea and Legal Access
Promoting human rights and protecting human dignity are among the core values of the European Union (EU), whose institutions are legally bound by the Charter of Fundamental Rights where these values are enshrined. That is why saving and protecting the...
Search and Rescue in the Central Mediterranean
In 2015 alone, 140,000 people have made the perilous journey in what is known as the Central Mediterranean route, a stretch of sea that lies between Libya and Sicily. Many of them had written the phone numbers of relatives back home on their clothes,...
Separated and Unaccompanied Children in the EU
An increasing number of children are migrating to Europe on their own in order to escape persecution, conflict, violence and poverty or seeking family reunification, educational or economic opportunities. Many are making very dangerous voyages, across...
Social Protection: A Fourth Durable Solution?
A pilot project called 'Regional Mobility and Socioeconomic Integration of Refugees' was proposed in 2014 as part of the Brazil Declaration and Plan of Action.1 In practical terms it consists of a project to bring Colombian refugees in Ecuador to Brazil....
The Extra-Territorial Processing of Asylum Claims
In November 2014, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière floated the idea of establishing 'welcome and departure centres' in major transit countries in North Africa, where applications for asylum would be processed. By removing the obligation to...
The Face of Refugees
I first met Melchora, a Guatemalan Mayan Indian refugee in Quintana Roo on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, more than 20 years ago. I was visiting the hospital in Chetumal where her son was being treated following an accident two months previously. Melchora...
The Mediterranean Challenge within a World of Humanitarian Crises
There are currently some 60 million people in the world who have been displaced by persecution, war, conflict or disaster - the most we have seen in the post-World War II era. However, whereas at that time weary and war-torn Europe was a place to turn...
The Road More Travelled? Onward Movement of Asylum Seekers and Refugees
Most asylum seekers arriving in the European Union (EU) in 2015 have come by irregular means via land or sea, transiting several other countries along the way. In at least some of these transit countries they might have had the opportunity to stay in...
Thirty Years of Development-Induced Displacement in China
In 1984, the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northern China - a sparsely settled, mostly desert region - launched extensive displacement programmes intended to restore a deteriorating ecosystem and eradicate absolute poverty, with the support of the...
Tragedy on the Way to Europe: A Perspective from Africa
The current migration from Africa to Europe is a symptom of deeply rooted problems that exist on the continent. While there is some truth to the narrative that some progress has been made and that the economies of some of the countries in Africa are...
Trickery in Dublin's Shadow
The Brenner Pass on the border between Italy and Austria is the northernmost limit that migrants who cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy are allowed to go, according to the Dublin Regulation. This is also an internal border of the Schengen Area which...
Ukrainian Asylum Seekers and a Polish Immigration Paradox
In 2014 the total number of applications for asylum in Poland by nationals of all countries reached just over 8,000! Compared to 428,000 in Hungary or 646,000 in Italy (two other states situated at the EU's external border), the Polish statistics are...
Understanding Why Eritreans Go to Europe
Criticism is growing against EU leaders for failing refugees by neglect at a time of increased number of refugees. Simultaneously, many questions are being asked as to why people - especially from Sub-Saharan Africa - come to Europe.Eritreans constitute...
Volunteers and Asylum Seekers
Amid rising numbers of asylum seekers arriving at European shores over recent years, reception and processing facilities - especially in countries of first arrival - were often overburdened. Asylum seekers faced insufficient infrastructure for their...
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