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Refugees, Asylum & Exile

Refugees, Asylum & Exile

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Refugees, Asylum & Exile

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  1. Refugees, Asylum & Exile RubaSalih Gendering Migration & Diasporas Lecture 3

  2. Overview • Refugees • Asylum & Exile • Voluntary & Forced Migration • Migration/Asylum Nexus • Refugee Studies • Women in Forced Migration • Gender & Forced Migration • Readings • Proposed Questions

  3. Defining Refugees • 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees: a refugee is “a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution” • 1967 Protocol: “include persons who have fled war or other violence in their home country” • Environmental refugees (people displaced because of environmental problems such as drought) are not included in the definition of "refugee" under international law, neither are • Internally displaced people (IDP)

  4. Asylum • Right of asylum (or political asylum) is an ancient judicial notion, under which a person persecuted for political opinions or religious beliefs in his or her own country may be protected by another sovereign authority, a foreign country, or Churchsanctuaries (as in medieval times). • Asylum seeker • Increased vilification of asylum seekers: “illegal alien”, “undocumented” or “irregular” migrants

  5. Exile • To be away from one’s home & being unable to return • Internal exile • External exile • Deportation • Government in Exile • “State of mind” • “Cultures of exile”, see, for example: • http://www.exiledwriters.co.uk/

  6. Some numbers (2004) • Refugees (1951 Convention definition) 9.7 million (recognised by UNHCR) • Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) 25 m (13 m of them in Africa) • Development Induced Displacement 10 million a year (World Bank) • Environmental change and disasters Numbers unknown

  7. Forced vs. Voluntary Migration • Voluntary migration (choice, agency): labour, education, family unification • Forced Migration (no choice, no agency): persecution, war, conflict, violence, environmental disaster • Mixed migration : new forms blurring the boundaries?

  8. Forced Migration Paradigm • 1. Forced migrants distinctive experience & needs? • 2. Focus on the great and increasing numbers of forced migrants • 3. Distinction more based in our needs rather than reflecting complex empirical realities • Anthony Richmond (1994) • Nicholas van Hear (1998)

  9. Migration/Asylum Nexus • Growing difficulty in separating between forced and economic migration • Closely related causes of forced and economic migration • Increasing similarities in the migratory process for both categories • Common responses: lack of differentiation between asylum seekers and irregular migrants

  10. Problems with Refugee Studies • Homogenization & Generalization • Refugee as male • Emphasis on legal & political dimension • Tension between research & practice • Macro-level analysis • Neglect of ‘experience’ • Invisibility of women • “Gender” marginalized analytical categories • No intersectional analyses (class, gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality etc.)

  11. Women in Forced Migration • Women in Forced Migration (WIFM) • Recognition of special experiences of women • Disadvantages in situations of forced migration • Topics include: women’s experiences of causes for forced migration (war, conflict, political repression, natural disasters); experiences of flight & refugee camps; livelihoods; entry into labour markets • women seeking asylum

  12. Gender and Forced Migration • Gender and Forced Migration (GAFM) • “Engendering Knowledge” in the study and practice of forced migration • Relations of power, privilege and prestige informed by situated notions of maleness and femaleness • Topics include motivations/reasons for migration, migration flows, gender-specific violence before, during and after flight, experiences within refugee camps, receiving countries, legal dimensions, impact on identities & sense of self; gender ideologies roles & relations

  13. Humanitarian Assistance & Women’s Rights • Developments in law • Impact of major international conferences • Women’s rights as human rights • CEDAW (1979) • UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women • Sexual abuse and rape recognized as war crime • UNHCR adoption of guidelines for the protection of women

  14. Excellent Resource • http://www.forcedmigration.org/ • For short videos, see • http://www.forcedmigration.org/video/