By dr. (Zeynep) Z Kasli
On the occasion of the 5th year anniversary of the UN's Global Compact for Migration, the International Institute of Social Studies hosted the online launch of the newly published Journal of Refugee Studies external Special Issue entitled 'Irregularized Humanitarian Migrants—Policies, Rationales, and the Search for More Durable Solutions', guest edited by: Dr. Zeynep Kaşlı, Dr. Marieke van Houte and Dr. Arjen Leerkes.
The special issue focuses on Humanitarian migrants, which includes but are not limited to only those registered at the UNCHR and nonetheless on the move in search of safety, and who are faced with the cooccurrence of a protection gap and an enforcement gap. Building on existing critiques of this binary and aiming to go beyond it, in this SI, we embrace a migrant-centred rather than legal-policy perspective that takes into account multiple forms of insecurities that make people decide to move out of their homelands.
The contributions to this special issue are the result of a two-day workshop [entitled ‘Durable solutions for rejected asylum seekers? A research-policy dialogue’, ] which the editors held on 16–17 January 2020 at Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands, within the framework of the Horizon 2020 Research Social Platform on Migration and Asylum project.
After a short introduction from the SI co-editor Dr. Zeynep Kaşlı and the SI contributors, Dr. Zeynep Sahin Mencütek (from GAPS Project) commented both the entire special issue and each contribution separately. Dr. Mencütek stressed that the special issue is a welcome addition to the growing body of critical scholarship actively calling for the necessity to recenter the policy and public debates on migration, contribute to migrant-centered knowledge on migration governance to balance out the predominantly western and state-centered approaches. The conceptual richness and methodological diversity of the contributions were noted and praised.
With questions from the audience, the discussion further focused on what past and recent amnesties regularization schemes look like and whether they could offer any durable solution for increasing number of irregularized humanitarian migrants. Insights shared by the speakers both their published work and ongoing research pinpointed the core of the problem. If these schemes are not driven by migrants’ best interests and instead continue to be determined by factors such as formal and informal labor market needs, governance, political landscape and socio-cultural factors, they would only perpetuate, as the editors call in their SI Introduction, strategic interconnections between return and tolerated stay, that are manifested in precarization, a docile work force, liminality and selective inclusions through hierachies of deservingness determined by ethnic, racial or cultural resemblences.
The key conclusion from the discussion, as also stressed in the SI introduction, was that when it comes to durable solutions, we should not focus on where solutions are most durable, but how. The examples shared by participants, as well as speakers, once again showed that, instead of a place-bound understanding of social cohesion, durability may often require facilitating disconnection and further mobility. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to see mobility as a natural human response to unsafe and unsustainable environments and envision policies ready to embrace mobility and, as agreed in the GCM, for safe, orderly, and regular migration.
The webinar successfully marked the 5th year of GCM with over 90 registrations from various universities across the world, INGOs and some state departments. The recording of the event is shared with those registered and is available for viewing here.
List of Contributions:
“Introduction: Irregularized Humanitarian Migrants—Policies, Rationales, and the Search for More Durable Solutions” by Marieke van Houte, Zeynep Kaşlı and Arjen Leerkes
“At the Crossroads between Care and Control: A Cross-Country Comparison of Assisted Return” by Rossella Marino, Arla Mannersuo, Inês Francisco and Ine Lietaert
“Safe for Whom? A Human Security Perspective on Nigeria as a ‘Safe Country of Origin’” by Xander Creed, ZeynepKaşlı and Shyamika Jayasundara-Smits
“Who Owns the Future of Syrians in Lebanon? Intimate Family Explorations of Refugees’ Own Search for Durable Solutions” by Maybritt Jill Alpes, Kwamou Eva Feukeu, Marieke van Houte, Shahed Kseibi and Belal Shukair
“De-Bordering Solidarity: Civil Society Actors Assisting Refused Asylum Seekers in Small Cities” by Iraklis Dimitriadis and Maurizio Ambrosini
“(Non-)deport to Discipline: The Daily Life of Afghans in Turkey” by Sibel Karadağ and Deniz Ş Sert
“Departing or Being Deported? Poland’s Approach towards Humanitarian Migrants” by Witold Klaus and Monika Szulecka
“From Dadaab Camp to Kismayo City: A Call for Local Evidence to Inform Durable Solutions” by Charlotte Mohn, Francesco Tonnarelli, Jonathan Weaver, Winston Njuguna and Abdirahman Barkhadle