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A look into the EMMIR third semester: Edition 10 project-based internship papers

During the third semester, EMMIR students are expected to complete a project-based internship, traineeship, or similar experience in addition to their studies. Framed by a small thematic research team, students use this opportunity to enhance their individual profiles, link their academic research with career-building experience, and expand their networks with others working in the migration field. Some students complete their internships in the same place as their third semester modules, while others take the opportunity to explore different fields, countries, and institutions.

Over the course of their internships, students keep logs of their work and learnings, and write a report at the end of the semester to summarize their individual internship research. Learn more about their experiences through the abstracts of their internship reports below.

Edition 10 students are currently in their 4th semester, which is primarily spent writing their dissertations.

The Role of Volunteers in a Humanitarian Context on the Island of Lesvos, Greece

by Carolina García Jarquín, Yoga and Sport with Refugees

Migration in the Greek island of Lesvos has continuously increased over the last few years, drawing not only asylum seekers but also humanitarian personnel and volunteers. In this unique humanitarian context, volunteers have a fundamental role in supporting refugees and asylum seekers.

This paper examines volunteers’ motivations, emotions, and power imbalances. It also reflects on the term “help” and the word’s subjectivity based on the context and reach of the organizations and people involved. Volunteers experience different limitations and challenges due to their time of engagement in performing their tasks. This paper questions whether volunteers should commit to a more active effort to collaborate with the community and if their work can have a positive impact. The research focuses on the strong connections built during the interactions with the community members despite the power imbalances, and the importance of giving them agency to create significant relationships, but also acknowledging the importance of respecting the safeguarding policies of the organizations.

Many NGOs depend on volunteers to support the community; therefore, the paper asks whether short-term volunteers are a sustainable solution, what they should be expected to do, and to what extent they could be involved in the fieldwork. This study implemented two qualitative research methods: semi-structured interviews and a review of secondary sources. The research questions the role of volunteers in a refugee context in Lesvos, and how volunteers benefit the communities. The paper highlights the relevance of volunteer work, as it fills gaps in many essential areas needed to contribute to the well-being of community members.

Key Words: Volunteer, community, Greece, emotions, relationships

An In-Depth Analysis of the Labour Rights Accessibility for Ukrainian Migrant Women in Czechia

by Eva Ann Wanjiku Chege, IOM (Prague)

As a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent political turmoil, many Ukrainian women have sought asylum in Czechia, making it the country with the highest number of refugees from Ukraine per capita.

This paper explores the challenges faced by Ukrainian migrant women in Czechia in the context of labour rights accessibility, employing the lens of intersectionality theory. The study delves into the experiences of Ukrainian migrant women, focusing on employment patterns, discrimination, access to social protection and services, language and cultural barriers, and the impact of Czech labour laws and immigration policies. The research questions probe the accessibility of labour rights and how it intersects with migration policies and gender dynamics. An investigative process was carried out utilizing rigorous policy analysis and comprehensive document analysis techniques. This study also incorporates interviews with key informants. Interview findings with a Ukrainian migrant woman working in Czechia provide first-hand insights into her experiences, highlighting issues of discrimination, language barriers, and gaps in awareness about labour rights. The legal framework analysis examines Czech labour laws, immigration policies, and the impact of "Lex Ukraine V" on refugee support, shedding light on barriers related to work permits and family reunification. The analysis reveals that Ukrainian migrant women often find themselves in low-skilled roles, facing barriers such as language fluency and financial constraints.

The informal economy poses additional challenges, leading to precarious work conditions and downward occupational mobility. Discrimination and exploitation, particularly gender-based, significantly affect their workplace experiences, with limited legal protection exacerbating vulnerability. Access to social protection and services, including healthcare and education, presents further obstacles, with language disparities and cultural differences impeding integration. The paper emphasizes the importance of re-evaluating existing policies and advocating for gender-sensitive approaches to address the unique challenges faced by Ukrainian migrant women.

The paper concludes by recognizing the critical role played by non-governmental organizations and advocacy groups in championing the labour rights of Ukrainian migrant women. Despite challenges, these organizations contribute to empowering women through legal assistance, awareness campaigns, and skill-building programs, fostering a more inclusive and equitable society in Czechia. This research advocates for targeted interventions, policy reforms, and a holistic approach to safeguard the well-being and integration of Ukrainian migrant women in Czechia.

The Work of NGOs in Prague to Address the Challenges for the Integration of Ukrainian Children into the Czech Education System

by Frida Yee Salas, UNICEF (Prague)

Ukrainian refugee children in European societies constitute a vulnerable group, not only having lost their homes due to the war but also facing threats to their futures if they do not get access to social protection in the hosting countries. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the Czech Republic government and society expressed solidarity in welcoming refugees. According to UNICEF, the country is granting temporary protection to over 90,000 refugee children who need social protection for their well-being and integration. The measures from the government are crucial, but so are the responses from civil society, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that work to promote social cohesion in the Czech Republic.

This paper aims to demonstrate that the work of NGOs in Prague to support the integration of Ukrainian children into Czech schools is relevant and should not be overlooked. The research follows a qualitative approach with data collected from two interviews with staff from UNICEF and CICOPS and observations of the Ukrainian youth-friendly spaces of MRIYA UA. These three organizations in Prague work directly with the target group of this study. The research identified five main challenges to the integration of Ukrainian refugees: limited spaces in schools, language barriers, shortage of teachers and pedagogical staff, lack of psychosocial support, and discrimination faced by Ukrainians. The results of the research identified that NGOs in Prague have addressed these challenges with the following actions: contributing to the capacity-building of teachers, promoting Czech language courses, supporting leisure time activities for social integration, providing psychosocial support to parents and their children, and targeting social cohesion campaigns. The work of NGOs in Prague to support integration is relevant; however, more projects should be implemented to achieve better results in the future. Even though solidarity with Ukrainians has been reported by Czech society–specifically when compared to refugees of other nationalities–there are still cases of discrimination against Ukrainian children and youth at schools, who experience it not only from their peers but also from teachers and parents.

Therefore, anti-discrimination campaigns should be considered by the government and NGOs to complement all the measures that have been implemented. Campaigns promoting the integration of Ukrainian youth (15+) should also be reinforced since this group needs additional support to learn the Czech language and continue their education. Furthermore, providing psychosocial support to refugee children who face issues related to their migration experiences is of the utmost importance and should not be diminished. The actions of NGOs need to continue and reach more people in and outside Czech schools.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Czech Government's Accommodation Policies for Ukrainian Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection: Insights from NGOs

by Lilian Ebere Anazube, Konsorcium (Prague)

This research delved into the perception of NGO workers on the effectiveness of key policies and regulations implemented by the Czech government to facilitate access to accommodation for Ukrainian Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection (BTP) in the Czech Republic.

The research evaluated these policies in the context of a human rights framework, aiming to ascertain their alignment with international standards and their contribution to the dignity and welfare of refugees. A purposive sampling was used to select three staff members from three migrant-assisting NGOs in the Czech Republic while in-depth semi-structured interviews were used for data collection. The data collected was thematically analysed. The study revealed that the government's initial effort in enacting the Lex Ukraine policy was swift and compassionate, in accordance with human rights directives, but difficulties surfaced due to the nomadic culture of the Ukrainian Roma population, an unsupervised private sector accommodation system, and discrimination against Ukrainian Roma. Despite government efforts to curb these challenges by constantly reevaluating the Lex Ukraine policy, larger structural challenges persist such as tensions between the national and regional governments regarding the responsibility for providing humanitarian assistance to Ukrainian beneficiaries of temporary protection and discrimination against the Ukrainian Roma by Czech landlords.

Furthermore, the recently revised Lex Ukraine policy, which eliminated government housing subsidies and effectively required working-age Ukrainians to find employment to afford housing, failed to account for unskilled labourers and medical practitioners who are not licensed to work in the Czech Republic and who may face homelessness in the absence of the subsidies. Considering these obstacles, the study recommends improving coordination among stakeholders, including the Czech government, regional authorities, and NGOs; implementing sensitivity training programs for landlords and providers to address discrimination against Ukrainian Roma in the accommodation system; and more consistently supporting migrant NGOs financially and through capacity building. Finally, the study emphasises the need for increased public awareness of the challenges faced by Ukrainian BTP to elicit empathy and support from the Czech citizens, thus complementing government efforts in providing accommodation assistance.

Migrants and Housing in Ljubljana: Exploring the Housing Problems Encountered by the Migrants in the City

by Matias Pasulani, ZRC-SAZU

Ljubljana being the capital city of Slovenia is a destination for labour migrants from different countries, students both national and international, and refugees and asylum seekers who have been granted international protection. Just as elsewhere in Europe, migrants in Ljubljana tend to be vulnerable to housing challenges as some of them are excluded from social housing programs because they are foreigners, and they are left to find accommodation in the unregulated private housing market.

This study seeks to understand how the housing situation in Ljubljana affects migrants and how the authorities are responding to the situation. Methods used include a literature review, oral interviews, and an analysis of various secondary sources. Findings reveal that the housing situation in Ljubljana is characterised by the high demand for apartments and houses for migrants to rent and a limited supply of housing. This situation is a result of a lack of public housing, high ownership of apartments, and landlords switching their apartments from long-term renting to short-term luxurious Airbnb renting for tourists. Moreover, it is common to find apartments with low living standards in the city being offered on the housing market due to the lack of regulation. Problems that migrants face in the private housing market include discrimination from landlords due to racism and patriarchal attitudes, which makes it hard for them to find decent and affordable accommodation. Rent is always high on the private housing market of Ljubljana for any tenants including migrants as landlords have the freedom to dictate the prices of their apartments or houses. Migrants interviewed for this study had to pay high rents to their landlords even for substandard housing as there were no alternatives for them on the private housing market.

The unregulated private housing market encourages some landlords to have unprofessional attitudes towards migrants, which sometimes causes the latter to develop mental health issues such as depression and stress when both searching for and staying in rented apartments. Despite the authorities knowing the predicaments that migrants face in the city because of the housing situation, they still want to maintain the system by referring to the laws that justify it.

Keywords: unregulated private housing market, racism, housing situation, migrants, Ljubljana, mental distress, high rents, private landlords, illegal renting, substandard housing

Development of Bangladeshi and Indian Entrepreneurship in Ljubljana

by Mehedi Hasan, ZRC-SAZU

Since joining the EU in 2004, Slovenia has seen an increased number of immigrants coming to the country to live and work. Many of these immigrants do not find suitable jobs in Slovenia. Some of these immigrants choose to open their own businesses and become entrepreneurs. Drawing on the experiences of three Indian and two Bangladeshi immigrant entrepreneurs in Slovenia, this research examined how these immigrants transformed into immigrant entrepreneurs through the investigation of their innovative practices and previous experiences in small businesses.

In this study, I defined “immigrant entrepreneurs” operationally as owners or operators of micro-enterprises in a country to which they migrated, who run or operate the businesses with a share in both investment and profit. This qualitative study used an exploratory and ethnographic approach to look at the business specifics, opportunity structures offered by Slovenia, group characteristics, resource mobilization, and innovation strategies. Usually, the ethnic economy is reciprocal, but the findings suggest that a proper mixture of innovations and adaptations of local culture have expanded the breadth and depth of their business and made it different and rewarding.

Third Sector and Social Protection of Ukrainian Refugee Children with Disabilities in the Czech Republic

by Charles Murata, UNICEF (Prague)

The conflict in Ukraine has driven many people to seek refuge in the European Union under the EU's Temporary Protection Directive; however, access to this protection varies significantly, particularly for families with children who have disabilities. This paper interrogates the challenges faced by Ukrainian refugee children with disabilities in accessing social protection and how the third sector helps to overcome those challenges. In recent years, there has been a notable shift towards exploring diverse social protection measures for displaced persons, acknowledging the limitations of relying solely on governmental support. Particularly crucial is the examination of alternative protection mechanisms for families with children living with disabilities, highlighting the need for comprehensive studies that capture the intricacies of migration and available forms of protection within host societies, especially for the most vulnerable migrants facing uncertainty. In complex protection contexts, social protection is not confined to government efforts alone but extends to the involvement of the third sector and informal networks.

Drawing from four semi-structured interviews with NGO experts and Ukrainian parents taking care of children with disabilities in the Czech Republic, this paper examines the pivotal role played by third-sector organisations in providing social protection for these families. The research reveals health, education, and housing challenges and explains how the third sector assists these families living with children with disabilities to access numerous services. These collective efforts culminate in the development of intricate transnational social protection networks tailored to address the fundamental social protection needs of Ukrainian children living with disabilities. The study offers a comprehensive understanding of how these efforts form an integral part of the refugee family experience, shedding light on the dynamic relationships that underpin the transnational social protection infrastructure.

Keywords: Social protection, Third Sector Organizations, Refugees, Disability

Assessing the International Organization for Migration's Six Key Principles in Addressing Gender-Based Violence: An Intersectional Feminist Perspective

by D.S. (Anonymised)

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a pervasive, life-threatening, and intersecting issue manifesting in diverse scenarios, during crises or periods of stability, within public spheres or behind closed doors. The intricate and multifaceted nature of GBV demands immediate attention and tailored intervention. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has developed a strategic framework based on six key principles to address this challenge comprehensively. These principles represent a commendable effort to tackle GBV by outlining prevention, intervention, and support strategies for survivors across diverse cultural and geographic contexts. However, a deeper examination is imperative, considering the intricate interplay of power structures, identities, and systems of oppression within GBV.

This paper critically analyzes IOM’s six key principles addressing GBV through an intersectional feminist framework to understand whether or not interventions are sensitive, inclusive, and responsive to the diverse experiences and identities of those affected by GBV. The paper utilizes a combination of literature review and content analysis. The extensive literature review encompasses seminal works on GBV's intersection with migration, its mental health implications, its prevalence within humanitarian contexts, and the IOM's specific engagement with GBV. Subsequently, a content analysis approach is utilized, focusing on IOM's six key principles on GBV from its handbook Institutional Framework for Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Crises. The analysis critically examines each principle to illuminate potential gaps and strengths in addressing the complexities of GBV.

By elucidating areas of alignment and potential disparities between IOM's principles and intersectional feminist theory, this exploration aims to bridge the theoretical framework and fundamental principles, thereby enriching the implementation of strategies to combat GBV. The findings extend beyond theoretical alignment, presenting practical pathways for more nuanced and culturally adaptable interventions in humanitarian response. Ultimately, this research serves as a pivotal stepping stone for refining and advancing strategies to effectively intervene in GBV while underscoring the indispensable need for intersectional approaches in addressing the pervasive issue of GBV.

Enhancing Migration Support and Social Justice Through the Lens of Sustainable Development Goals: A Comparative Analysis of Strategies for Achieving SDGs 1, 6, 8, 10, and 16 in Destination Countries

by Kamsi Promise Obodo-Anya, IOM (Prague)

The world is witnessing unprecedented levels of migration, seeing that individuals and families relocate to new countries to seek out improved living conditions, safety, and opportunities. The confluence of migration and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) appears on this stage where nations must confront the challenge of nurturing integration and social justice for migrants. SDGs 1, 6, 8, 10, and 16, in particular, have direct relevance to this endeavour.

SDG 1, “No Poverty”, SDG 6, “Clean Water and Sanitation”, and SDG 8, “Decent Work and Economic Growth” cover economic disparities and employment opportunities, both of which are central to migrants’ well-being. SDG 10, “Reduced Inequalities”, was designed to address discrimination and inequality, central to social justice. SDG 16, “Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions”, underscores the importance of governance and legal frameworks, which ultimately influence the rights and protections afforded to migrants.

The central research question of this study is: How can the implementation of SDGs 1, 6, 8, 10, and 16 be effectively leveraged to support social justice and the integration of migrants in destination countries? The research objectives are to analyse strategies used in destination countries to achieve SDGs 1, 6, 8, 10, and 16 and their impact on social justice and the integration of migrants. This study engages a comparative analysis approach to understand the strategies employed by different destination countries in the achievement of the specified SDGs and weigh their outcomes concerning migrant integration and social justice.

Through a meticulous exegesis of policy frameworks, economic initiatives, legal structures, and societal attitudes, this study elucidates the complex interplay between SDGs and the experiences of migrants in their new environments. In doing so, this research not only contributes to the academic discourse on migration but also offers practicable insights to policymakers, civil society organizations, and international bodies geared to enhancing the well-being of migrants. Ultimately, the study aspires to provide a detailed understanding of how nations can and should navigate the intersection of SDGs and migration to create inclusive and just societies for all.

EU Migration Policies in Tunisia: A Case of Neocolonialism?

by Amanda Dionis, Inkyfada

The relations between Tunisia and the European Union (EU) are deeply rooted in the colonial past of the North African country. Tunisia has become a major interlocutor of the EU since the late 1990s, especially with regard to the economic presence of the EU in the country and the externalisation of European borders. These two topics, economics and migration management, intertwined, creating economic partnerships and attempts at ‘stopping’ irregular(ised) migration. The result was that Tunisian citizens are welcomed in the EU according to a mechanism of temporary and specific approval of legal foreign labour.

In this paper, I adopt the Autonomy of Migration approach to analyse the European Commission’s 2020 New Pact on Migration and Asylum in relation with the recent Mémorandum d’Entente sur un Partenariat Stratégique et Global signed in 2023 between Tunisia and the EU. By doing so, I aim to highlight a parallelism between colonial and current trade dynamics. Drawing mainly from the work of Mark Langan, Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy at the King's College London, I argue that the extraction of raw material from Africa and the application of migration policies that want to attract what the EU calls ‘talents’ in both documents run on the same neocolonial logic. The EU is not only externalising its borders, but it is also becoming a neocolonial gated community. The consequence of such a mentality is that individuals are welcomed in the EU only if they are deemed ‘useful’ for its development, whereas the ones who are not considered as such are sent back to their origin country.

Diaspora Engagement Policies: An Analysis

by Farseen Ali Puthanveettil, IOM (Brussels)

The debate over migration and its impact on development has evolved greatly over time, reflecting shifting perceptions and diverse points of view.  Optimism surrounding migration as a potential solution to various societal and economic challenges has given way to concerns about migration’s contribution to the widening gap between developed and developing nations. Recently, the discourse has shifted again, recognizing migration as an opportunity for positive contributions by migrants. Transmigrants, who are positioned simultaneously in the receiving society as well as in the society of origin, act as a bridge between the two through multiple relations. This shift in perspective incorporates ideas such as “brain gain”, “brain circulation”, and diaspora engagement, which underscore the diverse and significant contributions made by migrant communities. This contemporary perspective of migration challenges the traditional belief that migrants must physically return to their home countries to contribute positively to their development. The emergence of diaspora studies has played a pivotal role in highlighting the dynamics of migrant populations and their roles in diplomacy, development strategies, poverty reduction, and economic growth. Governments and international organizations now recognize diasporas as crucial partners in shaping international development policies. Diaspora engagement, a term encompassing policies and practices connecting states with their diaspora living abroad, has become a widely discussed topic. It involves fostering connections, maintaining ties, and leveraging the resources or influence of diaspora communities for the benefit of their home countries. This approach marks a significant shift from merely managing immigration to actively governing emigration. Effective diaspora engagement policies aim to involve these communities in various aspects of their home countries’ development. They seek to tap into the knowledge, skills, and resources available within diaspora communities, acknowledging their potential to significantly impact development agendas.

This paper explores the evolving discourse on migration and diaspora engagement. The focal inquiry revolves around identifying key elements within diaspora engagement policies. It begins by contextualising the diaspora engagement discourse by exploring the historical shift in attitudes towards migration and focuses on understanding how countries engage their diaspora communities, facilitating their contributions to their home country. Methodologically, the study employs a qualitative approach, drawing from diverse sources such as academic literature, government documents, and reports. The paper looks into various aspects of diaspora involvement, including knowledge transfer, investments, philanthropy, community identity, and tourism promotion. The paper highlights that diaspora engagement policies must be contextually relevant, considering the dynamics in both host and origin countries. It underlines that effective policies require an understanding of the transnational capabilities of diaspora communities, the diversities within them, and the dynamics of both host and origin countries and that the diaspora engagement policies are shaped by historical, regional, and institutional contexts. Through offering insights from various diaspora engagement literature, the paper aims to inform policymakers about the key elements of effective diaspora engagement practises.

Keywords: Diaspora, Policy, Diaspora Engagement, Transnationalism

Unveiling Border Realities and Bordering Experiences: Illuminating Complexities Through Personal Narratives and Reflections

by Ali Dad Mohammadi, ZRC-SAZU

This study utilizes auto-ethnographic methods, incorporating personal narratives and self-reflection techniques, to investigate the nuanced intricacies associated with border realities, bordering experiences, and issues related to othering. The specific focus is Hazara migrants as they navigate the borders between Afghanistan and Iran. Moreover, the study elucidates how being a member of the Hazara ethnic group places individuals in a predicament marked by challenges related not only to bordering and othering beyond the confines of national borders but also within the boundaries of the nation-state itself. By adopting these perspectives, the study delves into the themes of marginalization, dehumanization, vulnerability, and smuggling, offering insights into the multifaceted dimensions of migration and border studies.

The findings emphasize that as a result of decades of discrimination and exclusion, which manifest in diverse forms of bordering, ordering, and othering, Hazara migrants encounter these challenges both during the process of crossing borders and while engaged in employment as documented or undocumented migrants in Iran. Based on the researcher’s personal experience, which involved crossing the borders between these two countries and working as an undocumented migrant in Iran, the paper discloses that Hazaras are compelled to pay double the amount to the smugglers for their journey to Iran. This phenomenon is attributed to the necessity for them to allocate additional money to certain fellow migrants who must refrain from disclosing their religious identities as Shia. This precautionary measure is taken due to the heightened risk of being targeted by various extremist and fundamentalist Islamist groups. In Iran, Hazaras are more easily identifiable than other Afghan ethnic groups due to their distinctive physical appearance, rendering them susceptible to persecution and deportation back to their home country.

Identity and Activism: Being Roma

by Fatima Mokdad, VID-Stavanger

Understanding how people negotiate their sense of belonging and identity within Norwegian society is essential given the rise in cultural variety brought about by immigration. The complicated dynamics of identity and its connection to activism among Roma people in Norway is the subject of this study. The study employs qualitative methodology, using interviews and secondary sources to obtain insight into the experiences and viewpoints of Roma people residing in Norway. Drawing on social identity theory, the paper explores the complicated course of identity creation and the variables that affect people’s sense of identity in a relatively new multicultural society such as Norway. The paper also uses critical race theory to show how race is an important factor in shaping lived experiences. The results show that Roma people have a broad spectrum of emotions and thoughts about their individuality and feelings of Norwegian connection. However, further research is needed to fully understand the experiences of the Roma community in Norway.

Keywords: Norway, migrants, Roma People, identity, social identity theory, citizenship, CRT

Gender-Based Violence in Nakivale Refugee Settlement: Prevalence and the Effectiveness of Humanitarian Agency Interventions in Empowering and Rehabilitating Gender-Based Violence Survivors

by Winnie Wothaya Murigu, Alight Uganda

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a phenomenon that significantly impacts refugee populations. This study aims to understand why there is a continued prevalence of GBV despite interventions by humanitarian agencies in Nakivale Refugee Settlement. The research employed a qualitative methodology with secondary data in a literature review and primary data from interviews and personal observation. The paper used intersectionality theory to show that detection, prevention, and responses to GBV were impeded by the intersectionality of unequal power relations, poverty, and a multiplicity of cultures, which concealed the nature, extent, and actuality of the problem of GBV. The interventions by humanitarian agencies have only addressed short-term needs but not long-term solutions on how to end GBV effectively.

The paper found that intimate partner violence is still the most common form of GBV and that culture, language barriers, and delays in reporting increase the occurrence of GBV. Various interventions by humanitarian agencies have not been effective in dealing with GBV occurrence. Thus, more research is needed to address how interventions and policies can work together to fight GBV in refugee settings.

Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Minors Unlawfully Placed in Adult Accommodations:Challenging the Age-Assessment Procedures in the UK

by Francesca Panico, Refugee Youth Service

The unlawful assessment of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) as adults upon arrival in the UK is a matter of growing concern. This is leading to the improper placement of hundreds of children in adult accommodations, exposing them to severe risks, including abuse, exploitation, and mental harm. Vague statistics and flawed decision-making by the Home Office further exacerbate the impact of such practices on UASC’s rights.

While unveiling systemic gaps and inconsistencies in the UK’s age assessment procedures, this study also provides information about the double trauma experienced by UASC who are first age-disputed and subsequently housed in adult accommodations. Relevant data was collected through case file analysis and participant observation during two months of fieldwork at a British NGO. The qualitative case study, built from the experience of an age-disputed UASC living in an adult accommodation, shows how the NGO intervention has been crucial to making a shift in treatment. 

This study’s findings suggest that the UK’s age assessment system increases the vulnerability of unaccompanied minors and negatively affects their access to children’s rights. The chosen methodology helped to illustrate, from the particular to the wider frame, the challenges that UASC face in this setting, as well as the impact on their mental and physical health. Despite current challenges, the commitment of NGOs and pro-bono lawyers offers hope for a future in which UASC receive the care, protection, and support they rightfully deserve. In this sense, the pivotal role of NGOs and civil society organisations emerges as crucial in bridging the gap between legal aid and age-disputed minors, as well as mitigating the risks of isolation and retraumatization. This study, thus, contributes to the discourse on safeguarding the UASC’s rights, by combining the available literature on the subject with a real case study, which underscores the significant threats, risks, and challenges in accessing justice and fair treatment. Ultimately, it also seeks to advocate for a paradigm shift in the age assessment process, emphasising the urgent need for a human rights-based approach.

The Case of Key Inclusive Development Strategies for Lifelong Learning (KIDS4ALLL) Project: The Role of Teachers’ Lifelong Learning Competences for Implementing a Multilingual E-Learning Platform

by Simay Abay, SIRIUS-Brussels

This paper investigates the role of teachers’ lifelong learning competences in the context of the KIDS4ALLL project—an initiative addressing integration challenges for migrant children through an inclusive learning approach. The project aims to develop a new learning method and implement a multilingual e-learning platform, which is designed to foster inclusive and cohesive learning environments to address the integration challenges of migrant children by pairing them up with a learning buddy. The platform involves eight educational areas that cover key lifelong learning competences.

This study begins with an exploration of the origins of the concept of lifelong learning and a critical analysis of the literature on lifelong learning. Emphasizing the pivotal role of teachers, the paper poses the question: What insights can be gained from the KIDS4ALLL project regarding the importance of teachers’ lifelong learning competences? This study employs a qualitative approach, concentrating on source analysis through interpretation. Access to materials was facilitated through online platforms, including websites and social media accounts.

The paper presents preliminary findings and analysis, contributing to a thorough understanding of the project's implications for enhancing teachers’ competences in fostering inclusive learning environments. Findings suggest a correlation between the incorporation of inclusive practices and the enhancement of teachers’ competences, underscoring the importance of continuous professional development in this field.

Navigating Self-Determination: The Resilience of Long-Term Rwandan Refugees in Nakivale Refugee Settlement

by Esmé Starke, Windle-Nakivale

Long-term Rwandan refugees residing in Nakivale Refugee Settlement face a complex web of challenges and opportunities in their pursuit of self-reliance. This study explores their experiences, aspirations, and the factors influencing their willingness to embrace self-reliance strategies within the framework of Self-Determination Theory (SDT).

Through qualitative interviews, three predominant themes emerge: psychological autonomy, competence and self-reliance, and relatedness and community support. Psychological autonomy reveals the impact of land ownership and housing stability on refugees' sense of belonging and control over their destinies. Competence and self-reliance showcase the role of external factors, such as access to capital and health-related barriers, in shaping refugees' practical self-reliance. Relatedness and community support highlight the social and communal dimensions of self-determination and how mutual assistance influences the refugees' resilience. The application of SDT within this social context underscores the intricate interplay of external factors with refugees' pursuit of autonomy, competence, and relatedness, ultimately shaping their willingness to embrace self-reliance.

The findings offer insights for tailored, community-focused approaches to support refugees in their journey toward self-reliance, fostering autonomy, competence, and relatedness. In the face of challenges, the resilience and determination of these refugees reflect their potential for enhanced well-being and self-sufficiency.

Keywords: Nakivale Refugee Settlement, Self-Reliance Strategy, Self-Determination Theory, motivation, Rwanda

The Eritrean Diaspora Tax: A Critical Scrutiny of Legal Framework

by Negera Gudeta Adula, ZRC-SAZU

In the age of global migration, authoritarian regimes project influence over their population abroad through transnational repression, which demonstrates that authoritarian power is not confined by natural borders, contradicting methodological nationalism discourse. Drawing on the theory of extraterritorial authoritarianism, this paper explores the Eritrean regime’s extraterritorial repression under the auspices of the diaspora tax by exclusively focusing on its legal justifiability.

This paper is based on an extensive review of the literature, scrutinizing the legality of the diaspora tax using international law, international refugee laws, diplomatic conventions, and protocols. This paper argues that the Eritrean regime's transnational authoritarian practice under the guise of diaspora tax is legally illegitimate and unsubstantiated since it resulted in the blatant breaches of international law, international refugee law, diplomatic protocols, conventions, and domestic jurisdiction of refugee-hosting countries. This paper also shows that the levying and collection of diaspora tax is an institutionalized means of the Eritrean regime’s extraterritorial authoritarian practice of intimidating, coercing, castigating, and punishing Eritreans in the diaspora.

This paper finds that the diaspora tax is an extension of the Eritrean regime’s long arm of repression and intimidation into transnational spaces which is designed to retraumatize Eritrean migrants who flee the country in fear of persecution, repression, and intimidation. This paper suggests that the refugee-hosting states should take proper and balanced measures to convince Eritrean authorities to cease this transnational repression. The Eritrean regime should respect and uphold international law, international refugee law, and diplomatic protocols, and act according to the domestic jurisdiction of the hosting state in its diplomatic engagement with refugee-hosting countries. 

Keywords: Diaspora tax, Eritrea, extraterritorial authoritarianism, legality

From Social Imaginary to Reality: Young African Domestic Workers in Lebanon

by Rim Trad, ZRC-SAZU

This study examines the trajectories of five young African women coming to Lebanon to work as domestic workers. It presents the conflict between the social imaginary they built around migration and the reality they found working under the Kafala, or sponsorship system in Lebanon. Facing their new realities, they actively resist the oppression of the Kafala, individually through resistive acts and collectively through political activism.

Following participants from their countries of origin to Lebanon, this paper seeks to answer the question: What are the self-narrated journeys and experiences of African migrant domestic workers in Lebanon?

To answer this question, this study used a flexible methodology centred around the voices of the participants and their agency in narrating their subjective experiences and understanding of the Kafala. Online individual storytelling meetings were conducted with participants. This paper presents different aspects of their stories: the construction of their social imaginary of migration and domestic work before they left their countries; how they made their decisions to migrate; what were their experiences upon arrival; how do they resist daily the oppressive nature of the Kafala; and their roles within their social networks and communities as providers and receivers of communal support.

The stories show the intersections among gender, race, age, and education. While the paper shows the oppressive nature of the Kafala through the individual stories of the participants, it also highlights their individual and collective resistance to that oppression. The paper avoids a binary description of migrant domestic workers as heroes or victims, distinguishing it from other scholarship on the topic, which often focuses on their victimization. The stories narrated in this study confirm that migrant domestic workers are more than passive victims of the Kafala and show the agency and the will that migrant women have to individually and collectively resist the oppressive system, even when their activism puts their lives at risk.

Spotlighting Somali-Born Women’s Lived Experiences and Gender Identities in Nakivale, Uganda

by Zhao Wen, TPO-Nakivale

Despite the diverse personal experiences of Somali refugee women, the suffering they undergo is strongly correlated with the gendered aspects of being a woman. Applying an intersectional and feminist narrative approach, the researcher conducted one-on-one interviews and analysed the resulting narratives of six Somali-born women, aged between 29 and 53, who have immigrated from Somalia to the Nakivale Refugee Settlement and currently reside there. The stories delve into aspects of gender identity, femininity, and subjectivity.

The analysis aims to deepen our understanding of their self-perception, lived experiences, and the meanings embedded in their stories. These stories of Somali women are built upon various life experiences and other factors, with particular emphasis on how gendered identities, symbolic representation, discrimination, and vulnerability restrict and hinder their mobility and available choices. Their bodies and gender serve as primary markers and carriers of national identity, culture, and honour. Similarly, their experiences of trauma, including sexual violence, and their interactions with culture and religion shape their perceptions of self, with a particular emphasis on motherhood and community membership.

Furthermore, the narratives of these Somali women do not explicitly depict them as submissive individuals. They engage in self-reflection and strive for independence, defying the cultural norms that exploit them.

Cross-Border Mobility: A Comparison of South Sudanese and Congolese Refugees in Uganda

by Vitor Amador, Alight Uganda

Faced with barriers to accessing socioeconomic spaces and insecure livelihoods in Uganda, refugees resort to cross-border mobility between Uganda and their home countries to enhance their livelihoods. This paper explores what factors influence South Sudanese and Congolese refugees’ decisions to engage in cross-border movements from Uganda to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Moreover, the paper explores how refugees use cross-border mobility to enhance their livelihoods. This study relied on qualitative research by using triangulating methods, namely semi-structured interviews and other scholarly works. The findings show that the inability to secure their livelihoods in Uganda pushes refugees to go to their home countries to search for other means of generating income that allow them to cope with adversities in their country of asylum.

Moreover, refugees adopt transnational approaches such as distributing family members in different geographical spaces, allowing refugee households to better cooperate, address complex situations, minimize risks, and maximize their opportunities by benefiting from the advantages available on each side of the border. Nonetheless, cross-border mobility of refugees is illegal, and dangerous, and implies refugees losing their refugee status. De facto mobility patterns of refugees pose challenges to persisting concepts and dichotomies such as migrant versus refugee, forced versus voluntary migration, and should therefore be taken into account by national, regional, and international policy-makers. Allowing refugees to move across borders provides a complement to existing durable solutions, insofar as it facilitates alternative livelihood possibilities during their forced migration journeys.

Keywords: cross-border mobility, livelihood, transnational families, durable solutions, stay, return, forced migration, voluntary migration

Perceptions of interculturality in Czechia

by Chiamaka Rita Akpuogwu, IOM (Prague)

Interculturality is increasingly regarded as vital for harmonious relations between diverse populations globally. The effective interaction of various cultures is particularly relevant to Czechia, a historically homogenous country until the end of the 20th century, now witnessing demographic changes due to a surge in immigration and refugee flows. This paper explores the perception of interculturality in Czechia, shedding light on the vacillating attitudes towards refugees and the complex dynamics of cultural interactions within the country.

In recent times, Czechia has gained a reputation for being reluctant to accept immigrants and refugees, but this reluctance was derogated for Ukrainians following the 2022 Ukrainian crisis. This research examines the current perceptions of interculturality in Czechia against the backdrop of the influx of Ukrainian refugees and broadens the discourse around interculturality in Czechia to the racialisation of refugee issues. To do this, the researcher employed a qualitative research method, conducting four interviews with citizens and immigrants alike in Czechia to investigate how Czech citizens, immigrants, and refugees perceive and experience interculturality in the country. The intergroup contact theory was also utilised to argue for increased positive contact between the local populations and immigrants and refugees to combat the prejudices impeding positive perceptions and the attainment of an intercultural Czech society.

The key themes that emerged during the research include Czech history, media representations, race, and the role of policies in shaping perceptions of interculturality. The research findings from the interviews suggest a complex intercultural landscape in Czechia, marked by varying levels of interculturality in various parts of the country, a predominant focus on Ukrainian refugees to the exclusion of immigrants and refugees from other nationalities, and a barely discernible impact of existing intercultural initiatives. While there are allusions to growing cultural diversity, there are also instances of cultural tensions and hesitance, especially towards Africans and Middle Easterners. This paper contributes to the broader discourse on interculturality within European societies and attempts to fill the gap on interculturality in Czechia by providing current realities and perspectives following the significant refugee influx from Ukraine.

Understanding the nuances of intercultural perceptions in Czechia is crucial for fostering seamless intercultural relations. By shedding light on the intricacies of interculturality in Czechia, this research aims to inform strategies for promoting intercultural relations and egalitarianism in contemporary Czech society.


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