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SPOTLIGHT SERIES

Migration and Forced Migration during the COVID-19 Pandemic

In 2020, on occasion of the United Nations' 75th anniversary, the Network for Migration Matters decided to study the activities of the United Nations related to migration and forced migration.

The series features discussion on issues including:  

 

We will continue to publish articles concerning the activities of the United Nations as they can be a source of inspiration and guidance for the implementation of projects around the globe that seek to provide aid to migrants, refugees​, displaced and stateless persons. 

We’d love to inspire further thought and discussion, so please do join us for this series and share your thoughts with us!  
 

The collection of articles was coordinated by our Academic Coordinator Gillian Kane.

A HISTORY OF THE UNITED NATIONS

Rising from the ashes of a broken, war-torn world, the United Nations represented a reach towards a new direction in international politics: the preservation of peace, security and human rights.  

 

Imogen kick-starts our UN75 month by providing an overview of the history of the UN. In doing so, she explains the motivations behind its formation, its structure and how the UN has grown to be the organisation that it is today. 

 

WEBINAR

The United Nations of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow:

Conversations with UNHCR personnel

We spoke with Roland Schilling (Representative of UNHCR's Regional Representation for Central Europe) and Andreas Wissner (UNHCR’s Representative to the European Institutions in Strasbourg) about their past and present experiences at UNHCR, as well as their views on the future.

 

CLIMATE REFUGEES, OR CLIMATE MIGRANTS, THAT IS THE QUESTION…OR IS IT?

Chiara Maria explores how climate change and migration are intertwined. She argues that although the status of persons displaced due to climate change is not clearly defined under international law, it does not mean that protections do not, or should not, exist for such. She then delves into the various activities the United Nations (UN) implements across the world to help those displaced by disasters caused by climate change, as well as how it mitigates such affects.

She ultimately proposes that:

  • the use of human rights law has the potential to provide protections by those displaced by climate change;

  • mitigating climate change and preparing populations for the effects of climate change can go a long way;

  • creating policies of understanding and facilitation of migration between States severely affected by climate change, and neighbouring countries, can significantly help to reduce statelessness and the sudden mass displacement of persons which could become unmanageable.

 

UN TREATY BODIES: A VEHICLE THROUGH WHICH RIGHTS CAN BE PROTECTED IN THE CONTEXT OF MIGRATION?

In the UN’s 75-year history, it has played a central role in the development of international human rights law (IHRL). Since the adoption and ratification of the first two UN human rights treaties, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), a number of additional treaties and optional protocols have been adopted. In this blog, Gillian outlines the ways in which treaty bodies can play a meaningful role in the protection of rights, in the context of migration and displacement.

  

Gillian is a PhD Researcher in the School of Law at Queen’s University, Belfast. Her research focuses on the role of public international law in addressing human trafficking among refugees and asylum seekers.

 

ENHANCING UN DIALOGUE ON INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT

There are also serious in-built limitations to UN fora as platforms to promote inter-State dialogue on internal displacement. For example, internal displacement is scarcely discussed at the UPR, even in respect to States with the highest IDP populations. Refugee fora, such as those associated with the GRF and EXCOM, only discuss IDP issues insofar as they relate to refugee issues. It is therefore time for a new dedicated global forum on Internal Displacement in order to firmly, and finally, put internal displacement on the international agenda. 

 

The article was written by Dr Bríd Ní Ghráinne who is a Lecturer in Law, Maynooth University, a Senior Researcher, Masaryk University, and a Non-Resident Fellow, Institute of International Relations Prague. And by Dr Ben Hudson who is a Lecturer at the University of Exeter. 

 

LGBTIQ+ REFUGEES EXIST AND BELIEVE:

CHALLENGING THE BINARY WESTERN THOUGHTS ON ASYLUM SEEKERS, RELIGION, AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY

Ernesto Fiocchetto is an Argentinean Sociologist and Specialist in Religion and Migration. He studied and worked at Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, from 2001 until 2017, when he moved to the US to start his graduate studies at Florida International University (FIU). At FIU, he earned a Masters in Religious Studies and, currently, he is a Ph.D. student in International Relations. He also works as a Graduate Assistant for the Miami-Florida Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence. His research interests center on the multidimensional intersection of transnational mobility, sexual orientation and gender identities, and religion. For his dissertation, he explores the displacement and reception and integration processes of LGBTIQ+ Latin American asylum claimants in the EU and the US and the role of religion, particularly faith actors, in such processes.

He challenges the binary Western thoughts on asylum seekers, religion, and sexual orientation and gender identity.

20 YEARS OF TACKLING HUMAN TRAFFICKING AT THE UN: ADDRESSING EXPLOITATION RISK IN THE MIGRATION CONTEXT?

The year 2000 marked the beginning of not just a new century, but a new millennium. Such a significant year will undoubtedly be remembered for many reasons, but for those who had advocated for greater protections for those at the greatest risk of exploitation, the year 2000 will be remembered as the year in which States, UN officials and NGOs gathered together in the Italian city of Palermo to adopt the Protocol to Prevent, Supress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Protocol).  In this article, Gillian provides an overview of the Palermo Protocol, the role that human rights law can and does play in addressing trafficking, and additional aspects of the UN’s efforts to tackle human trafficking in the context of migration.  

Gillian is a PhD Researcher in the School of Law at Queen’s University, Belfast. Her research focuses on the role of public international law in addressing human trafficking among refugees and asylum seekers.

 

LGBTQIA+ ACTIVISTS AND REFUGEES – RACIALIZING ACTIVISM AND DECOLONIZING SOLIDARITY IN SPAIN

Nathali Arias is an Afro-Dominican activist and doctoral researcher at the University of Sussex school of Global Studies where she tutors in the Gender and Development module. She received an MSc from Queen Mary University of London in Migration, Culture and Global Health Policy in 2016, and has a BA in Political Science from Rutgers University. For her doctoral thesis Nathali is exploring the experiences of legally precarious migrant women, and the roles of care work and migrant-led activism in Cataluña, Spain.

She writes about the hostile immigration, social and labour policies which restrict the movement and rights of refugees in Spain. 

THE GLOBAL COMPACT ON REFUGEES:

IN SEARCH OF SOLIDARITY?

Set against the backdrop of the world’s increasing refugee population, the New York Declaration was unanimously adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations in 2016. The Declaration, a political agreement between signatory States, provided the stepping stone to two Global Compacts; the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).  In this article, Sarah discusses key aspects of the GCR, and highlights some of the issues which still remain.

 

Sarah Craig is a lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast.  Her research focuses on solidarity within the Common European Asylum System, specifically looking at regional solidarity and fair-sharing ambitions.