By Cevdet Acu
I came to Amman/Jordan on 8 March 2020, only three days before the World Health Organization (WHO) characterized the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a pandemic. I had travelled to Jordan to conduct interviews with Syrian refugees in order to gain a better understanding of their economic integration in society. However, the COVID-19 crisis changed my original plans as it changed almost everything, from the governments’ refugee policies to human relations across the world.
By Cevdet Acu
By Dr Sophie Henderson, Dr Richa Shivakoti, & Dr Matt Withers
Although migration bans often appear to be enforced in a piecemeal and reactive fashion, they have been embraced by an increasing number of countries and used more frequently over time, drawing nascent academic and civil society attention to their efficacy as a potential mechanism for negotiating better wages and conditions for migrant domestic workers (MDWs). There has been little comparative analysis of the varying political logics behind migration bans, the extent to which they might reflect extant gender norms or economic constraints, and the emergent patterns of policy convergence or divergence within and between sub-regional contexts.
Friday, 12 June saw a panel of researchers and practitioners discuss remote work for refugees in a meeting hosted by The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement at Cambridge University. In this guest post, Philip Rushworth covers some of the key themes that came up.
Covid-19 and the onset of lockdown around the world has revealed and accentuated a number of existing faultlines and trends. One of these is discourses about “the death of the office” and an increasing shift to remote work. This promises a profound impact for many people, but it raises particular questions for those who face severe restrictions on their ability to work in their location. One such group is refugees.
The fourth video in our Global Conversations series.
There is an urgent need for scalable, sustainable and replicable models of job creation for refugees, and technology has the potential to provide this. Yet, this potential has not been fully realised for refugees. The current disruption to employment caused by COVID-19, forcing many to work from home, has emphasized the potential for some work to be done remotely, via technology. As many companies now realise that their employees can work anywhere, from home, from a cafe or even from a refugee camp, this has presented an opportunity for refugees.
Today, on World Refugee Day, the Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement recognises the courage and resilience of the nearly 80 million people who have been forced to flee from their homes as refugees or internally displaced people. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and with anti-racism protests spreading globally, it seems an opportune time to take stock and consider how, in ways both small and large, we can contribute to making the world a more inclusive place.
By: Dr Georgia Cole
It is fitting that the Centre for Global Human Movement’s first Global Conversation on Covid-19 began with a discussion on the virus’ impact on migrants in the Gulf States. As Froilan Malit, Jr. outlined at the start of his talk, all but two states within the Gulf Cooperation Council, namely Oman and Saudi Arabia, have a larger number of migrants within their borders than nationals. Any effective and sustainable regional response to the virus must thus necessarily put migrants and migration at its centre. While political leverage is far from evenly distributed between governments in the Gulf and those in migrants’ home countries, a degree of interdependence means that governments in migrants’ countries of origin have also been enrolled in conversations about how to manage the virus’s impacts on public health, social protection, transnational remittances and international diplomacy.
By Dr Mohammad Tarikul Islam
Bangladesh now hosts around one million Rohingya refugees, many living in makeshift camps in the area of Cox’s Bazar. The Rohingya refugees are highly vulnerable to Covid-19 in part because of the health risks associated with displacement, overcrowding, increased climatic exposure due to substandard shelter, and the poor nutritional and health status among affected populations.
The second video of our Global Conversations series. We were joined from San Antonio, Texas, by Mr Isaac Bencomo, who is part of efforts aimed at delivering primary and emergency care to displaced and migrant populations in Matamoros, Tamaulipas in Mexico.
By: Petra Molnar
As the ‘Feared Outsiders’, refugees, immigrants, and people on the move have long been linked with bringing disease and illness across borders. Not only are these links blatantly incorrect, but they also legitimize far-reaching state incursions and increasingly hard-line policies of surveillance and novel technical ‘solutions’ to manage migration.
By: Dorien Braam
As the war in Syria drags on, humanitarian actors have shifted from emergency response towards longer term development aid, affecting the assistance available to people living outside formal refugee camps. The recent measures, that have been implemented to reduce the impact of the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic have further restricted the availability of aid. Lockdowns and movement restrictions have severely disrupted the supply of medical and food items available to refugees in- and outside camps. Worldwide COVID-19 policy and health responses have so far mainly relied on uncontextualized ‘science-based’ risk assessments, which risk exacerbating local socio-economic and health inequalities.