Challenging established categories and exploring intersections

A critical assessment of common notions in migration discourse
  • Parastou Hassouri
Chapter

Abstract

Although freedom of movement and the right to seek asylum are rights conferred to all persons under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants, it is commonly accepted that today’s nation states may, in the exercise of sovereign powers, regulate and control entry and exit across their borders. However, states are also obligated to respect the principle of non-refoulement, the cornerstone of the international legal framework, enshrined in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which forbids states from returning refugees and asylum seekers to territories where their lives and/or freedom would be threatened. As such, a primary concern of many states, particularly so-called ‘destination’ countries (such as those in Europe, or North America) is to separate ‘genuine’ or ‘bona fide’ refugees from other migrants, economic migrants in particular. In the context of today’s mass displacement from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan (to name but a few), where the bulk of those displaced first seek protection in neighbouring countries that may or may not be signatories to the 1951 Convention, and where the UNHCR acts as a ‘gatekeeper’, my contribution will aim to examine some of the common notions in migration discourse, as well as the policies and criteria that are used to determine who is a refugee and who gets ‘resettled’ (i. e. access to a third country in Europe, North America or Australia). I argue that some of the limitations and protection gaps in this current framework, particularly when it comes to the seeking of ‘durable solutions’, may indeed contribute to the phenomenon of ‘irregular migration’.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Al-Masri, Abdulrahman and Gillespie, Kristen. 2013. Jordan demands Syrians obtain work permits, but work permits illegal for Syrians. Syria Direct. http://syria-direct.org/main/30-reports/873-syrian-labors-in-jordan. Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  2. Aman, Ayah. 2015. Egyptian workers endangered in Libya. Al-Monitor. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/03/egypt-workers-copts-victims-liby-amilitias-war.html. Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  3. Chimni, B. S. 1998. The geopolitics of refugee studies: a view from the south. Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol. 11 (4): 350 – 374.Google Scholar
  4. Chimni, B. S. 1999. From resettlement to involuntary repatriation: towards a critical history of durable solutions to refugee problems. New Issues in Refugee Research, Working Paper No. 2. May.Google Scholar
  5. Edwards, Adrian. 2016. Global forced displacement hits record high. UNHCR. http://www.unhcr.org/news/latest/2016/6/5763b65a4/global-forced-displacement-hits-record-high.html. Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  6. Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC). 2016a. Syria IDP Figures Analysis. http://www.internal-displacement.org/middle-east-and-north-africa/syria/figures-analysis. Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  7. Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC). 2016b. Yemen IDP Figures Analysis. http://www.internal-displacement.org/middle-east-and-north-africa/yemen/figures-analysis. Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  8. International Organization for Migration (IOM). 2016. IOM Counts 3,771 Migrant Fatalities in Mediterranean in 2015. http://www.iom.int/news/iom-counts-3771-migrant-fatalities-mediterranean-2015. Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  9. Laub, Zachary. 2015. Authoritarianism in Eritrea and the Migrant Crisis. Council on Foreign Relations. http://www.cfr.org/eritrea/authoritarianism-eritrea-migrant-crisis/p37239. Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  10. Migration Policy Institute (MPI). 2015. U. S. Annual Refugee Resettlement Ceilings and Number of Refugees Admitted, 1980 – Present. http://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/data-hub/charts/us-annual-refugee-resettlement-ceilings-and-number-refugees-admitted-united. Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  11. United Nations (UN). UDHR. http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/.Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  12. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2001. The Scope and Content of the Principle of Non-Refoulement (Opinion). http://www.refworld.org/docid/3b3702b15.html. Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  13. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2003. Guidelines on International Protection No. 3: Cessation of Refugee Status under Article 1C (5) and (6) of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, HCR/GIP/03/03. http://www.refworld.org/docid/3e50de6b4.html. Accessed: 30 June 2016.
  14. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2004. Protracted Refugee Situations. EC/54/SC/CRP.14. http://www.refworld.org/docid/4a54bc00d.html. Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  15. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2007. Refugee Protection and Durable Solutions in the Context of International Migration. UNHCR/DPC/2007/ Doc. 02. http://www.refworld.org/docid/4745a64f2.html. Accessed: 30 June 2016.
  16. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2008. Local integration: an under-reported solution to protracted refugee situations. http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c2325670.html. Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  17. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2011. UNHCR Resettlement Handbook 2011. http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ecb973c2.html. Accessed: 30 June 2016.
  18. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2014. Global Resettlement Statistical Report 2014. http://www.unhcr.org/52693bd09.pdf. Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  19. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2015. UNHCR Global Trends 2014: World at War. http://www.refworld.org/docid/558292924.html. Accessed: 20 September 2016.
  20. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2016. Syrian Refugee Inter-Agency Regional Update. http://www.refworld.org/docid/56cecf554.html. Accessed: 20 September 2016.

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Parastou Hassouri
    • 1
  1. 1.CairoEgypt

Personalised recommendations