Subscribe: Refugee Survey Quarterly - current issue
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Refugee Survey Quarterly Current Issue

Published: Wed, 02 Aug 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Tue, 03 Oct 2017 12:50:58 GMT


Unwelcome Participation, Undesirable Agency? Paradoxes of De-Politicisation in a Refugee Camp


Drawing upon a chronological review of the camp’s political history, this article investigates the political dynamics inside a Liberian refugee camp, with a particular emphasis on the rivalry between the official refugee representation and informal opposition groups. Refugee-governing bodies often actively discourage political activity within refugee camps, perceiving it as a source of trouble. The de-politicisation of refugees, however, contradicts efforts to advance refugees’ “agency” and their “participation” – both of which are widely acknowledged and promoted by refugee policy-makers and researchers. Although the formal system of refugee representation in Buduburam camp was allegedly democratic, in reality the camp leadership consisted primarily of “elite” Liberians who were selected by the Ghanaian administration. Despite attempts by authorities to ban political activities inside the camp, opposition groups by “ordinary” refugees emerged and organised antagonistic movements against the camp authorities and refugee representatives. Nevertheless, their political activism was seen as problematic by some stakeholders and was criminalised by the Ghanaian Government. This article illuminates the inherent contradictions involved in the de-politicisation of refugee populations by the humanitarian regime, and argues that refugees’ political activities should be understood as an expression of agency and desire for authentic participation.

The Expansion of International Space: UNHCR’s Establishment of its Executive Committee (“ExCom”)


This article argues that “international space” indeed exists. It substantiates this claim by examining how the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees orchestrated the creation of its own Executive Committee. Originally envisaged as a Consultative Committee, High Commissioner Van Heuven Goedhart created the Executive Committee so as to break the ban upon the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees capacity to execute rescue operations, which the United States and France imposed through their financial strain over the nascent refugee agency. The examination of archival sources from Belgium, Israel, the United Kingdom and the French State archives confirm that it was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees which created its own Executive Committee, and that within this process Nation States largely “tagged along”. Thus, it was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – a multilateral non-state body who instigated the actions undertaken by Nation States on its behalf, and not the other way around. This understanding has far-reaching implications regarding the ontological standing of non-étatist bodies which belong to the international community.

The Borders Beyond the Border: Australia’s Extraterritorial Migration Controls


This article explores Australia’s extraterritorial non-entrée policies, which are designed to prevent the irregular arrival of refugees and keep refugees in countries of origin and first asylum. In an age of securitisation, many States have attempted to restrict access to asylum through a range of extraterritorial measures that seek to prevent refugees from reaching territorial borders in order to claim protection. The first part of this article outlines Australia’s unilateral non-entrée policies, including visa requirements, carrier sanctions, airline liaison officers, surveillance technologies, interception at sea, and the excising of Australian territory. The second half of this article explores the emergence of co-operative non-entrée policies, which have seen Australia enter into agreements with its regional neighbours to deter, detain, and deport would-be asylum-seekers. Together, these extraterritorial non-entrée policies see Australia’s regional neighbours take on the responsibility of border control on behalf of Australia, making it increasingly difficult for refugees to reach Australian territory in order to seek protection.

Human Security and the Relocation of Internally Displaced Environmental Refugees in Cameroon


The more frequent occurrence of natural disasters due to climate change will doubtlessly blow up the number of environmental refugees, not the least in sub-Saharan Africa. Not all of them flee their countries, many being internally displaced. Ideally, abandonment of the homelands is not permanent. In order to improve our understanding of internally displaced environmental refugees and the framing conditions to either return or not, this contribution uses the human security concept of the United Nations to construct a unique micro-level human security index, consisting of seven dimensions. The human security index is employed on a sample of environmental refugees, who became internally displaced in 1986 during the Lake Nyos natural disaster in Cameroon. A number of these households has decided to return, although legally prohibited. The majority is still in the resettlement camps, waiting to return. Binominal logit analysis of actual and potential return behaviour in relation to the human security index revealed, among others that health security is a self-selection variable, increasing the odds of returning. The perception of self-efficacy may be important here. A major incentive for returnee households is the potentially higher economic security due to the meanwhile improved agro-ecological situation in the homelands.

The “Stateless Person” Definition in Selected EU Member States: Variations of Interpretation and Application


The international obligations in the area of statelessness have much been discussed in the past 10 years. It is now generally recognized that Article 1(1) of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons provides the internationally accepted definition of “stateless person” describing a person who is not considered a national under the operation of the law of any State. Nevertheless, only little is known of its implementation. As it is left to State Parties to interpret and implement the rights and status of stateless persons, the purpose of this article is to analyse how 10 European Union Member States treat stateless persons’ claims for protection by looking at the outcome of cases of those who have a disputed nationality and stateless Palestinians. Research uncovers striking variations and a strict reading of the “stateless person” definition that are significant both in terms of applicants’ experiences of the process and the States’ compliance with international law. The empirical data of the article support the view that States should formally incorporate Article 1(1) into their national legislation, adopt specific statelessness determination procedures and introduce objective criteria for the assessment of stateless status to effectively implement the 1954 Convention.