Research Outputs (African Centre for Migration and Society)

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    Syria, cost-sharing, and the responsibility to protect refugees.
    (University of Minnesota., 2015) Achiume, E.T.
    The Syrian refugee crisis may soon be the largest since the Second World War. This Article is the first to analyze the devastating fallout of this crisis, and to propose a novel approach to a perennial international law problem at its center. Nearly all of the more than 4 million refugees that have fled the conflict in Syria are concentrated in five countries in the region. These countries do not have the resources to sustain these refugees and there is no principled basis for the current distribution of the responsibility of protecting Syrian refugees. Instead, geo-graphic proximity to conflict and porousness of borders remain the primary determinants of which nations bear the heaviest cost. The resulting distribution of refugees threatens Syrian lives, regional stability and international security. Despite the gravity of the Syrian refugee crisis, however, states can mitigate it if they cooperate to share the cost of protecting these refugees. Regrettably international refugee law offers no basis for achieving this cooperation. This Article proposes a means of achieving international cooperation to share the cost of protecting refugees fleeing mass atrocities, such as those fleeing Syria. It uses an as yet unexplored avenue to do so: the international doctrine of the responsibility to protect (RtoP). International actors and scholars have typically focused on when and how RtoP facilitates state cooperation for coercive international action against human rights violators. This Article argues for a new, non-coercive use of the existing doctrine — facilitating international refugee cost-sharing. It proposes a mechanism for achieving this refugee cost-sharing to address rising international displacement from conflict, and applies it to the Syrian refugee crisis to illustrate how the mechanism would function. Some scholars will question the suitability of RtoP as a frame for pursuing international cooperation for refugee protection, in light of the concerns that commentators have generally raised regarding the doctrine in other contexts. To overcome these concerns, this Article proposes a new approach to how international actors develop and apply RtoP even beyond the context of refugee protection.
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    Subjective health of undocumented migrants in Germany - A mixed methods approach Health behavior, health promotion and societ.
    (BioMed Central Ltd., 2015-09-19) Kuehne, A.; Huschke, S.; Bullinger, M.
    Background: Health of migrants is known to be above-average in the beginning of the migration trajectory. At the same time reports from non-government organisations (NGOs) suggest that undocumented migrants in Germany tend to present late and in poor health at healthcare facilities. In this paper, we explore the health status of undocumented migrants with a mixed method approach including complementary qualitative and quantitative datasets. Methods: Undocumented migrants attending a NGO based in Hamburg, Germany, were asked to fill in the SF-12v2, a standardized questionnaire measuring health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The SF-12v2 was analyzed in comparison to the U.S. American norm sample and a representative German sample. Differences in mean scores for HRQOL were evaluated with a t-test and with a generalized linear model analyzing the impact of living without legal status on HRQOL. The quantitative research was complemented by a qualitative ethnographic study on undocumented migration and health in Berlin, Germany. The study included semi-structured interviews, informal conversations and participant observation with Latin American migrants over the course of three years. The study focused on subjective experiences of illness and health and the impact of illegality on migrants' health and access to health care. Results: HRQOL was significantly worse in the sample of undocumented migrants (n∈=∈96) as compared to the U.S. American sample (p∈<∈0.005). Living without legal status displayed a significant negative effect on subjective mental and physical health (p∈≤0.003) in the generalized linear model when adjusted for age and gender compared to the representative German population sample. The ethnographic study, which included 35 migrants, identified socio-economic conditions, the subjective experiences of criminalization, and late presentation at healthcare-facilities as the three main factors impacting on health from migrant perspective. Discussion: The present research suggests a high morbidity and mortality in this comparatively young population. The ethnographic research confirms negative impacts on health of social determinants in general and stressassociated with living without legal status in particular, both are further aggravated by exclusion from health care services. In addition to the provision of health care it appears to be important to structurally tackle the underlying social conditions which affect undocumented migrants' health. Conclusions: Living without legal status has a negative impact on health and well-being. Limited access to care may further exacerbate physical and mental illness. Possibilities to claim basic rights and protection as well as access to care without legal status appear to be important measures to improve health and well-being.
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    Making Migrants ‘Il-legible’: The Policies and Practices of Documentation in Post-Apartheid South Africa.
    (2014) Amit, R.; Kriger, M.
    In South Africa, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) – the department charged with managing migration – has struggled to control growing migration flows, particularly the increased demand on the asylum system. The DHA has both relied on and sought to undermine documentation attempts as part of its migration management efforts. These shifting practices reveal an official ambivalence toward granting foreign migrants documents and the rights that accompany them. Ensuring that foreign migrants remain undocumented fulfils the DHA’s objective of facilitating their removal, but it undercuts the administration’s ability to know who is in the country, another expressed DHA goal. Examining two documentation schemes – the asylum system, and the three-month documentation programme targeting undocumented Zimbabweans – this article highlights these conflicting purposes. It explores the DHA’s administrative strategies and practices to withhold or deny documentation, and hence legal rights, to foreign migrants even when its stated goal is documentation. Looking at the role that documentation plays in state administration, the article argues that the street-level organisational approach and its focus on implementation best captures the actions of the DHA, underscoring the ways in which street-level bureaucrats can influence documentation policy and practice by determining who gets access to documents.