the ETHICS issue

FMR 61

We each live according to our own personal code of ethics but what moral principles guide our work? The 19 feature theme articles in this issue debate many of the ethical questions that confront us in programming, research, safeguarding and volunteering, and in our use of data, new technologies, messaging and images. Prepare to be enlightened, unsettled and challenged. This issue is being published in tribute to Barbara Harrell-Bond, founder of the Refugee Studies Centre and FMR, who died in July 2018.

Nicole Behnam and Kristy Crabtree

Donors’ thirst for data is increasingly undermining security and confidentiality, putting both survivors of violence and staff at risk.

Petra Molnar

States are keen to explore the use of new technologies in migration management, yet greater oversight and accountability mechanisms are needed in order to safeguard fundamental rights.

Jan-Paul Brekke and Anne Balke Staver

The growing use of data gathered from social media in asylum claim assessments raises critical yet underexplored ethical questions.

Christina Clark-Kazak

The IASFM has agreed an international code of ethics to guide research with displaced people. Challenges that arose during its development merit continued discussion.

Naohiko Omata

A number of ethical issues emerge from working with ‘over-researched’ and ‘under-researched’ refugee groups.

Cleophas Karooma

Refugees in Nakivale refugee settlement demonstrate research fatigue, yet a return visit by one particular researcher reveals an interesting twist to the tale.

Johannes M Luetz

The situation of the Carteret Islanders, often characterised as the first ‘climate change refugees’, has attracted much research interest. What is the impact of such interest? And are standard ethics compliance processes appropriate?

Sarah Chynoweth and Sarah Martin

Researching sexual violence against men and boys in humanitarian settings requires navigating multiple ethics- and accountability-related tensions.

Carla Nayton and Sally Baker

Service providers working in settlement contexts could draw more on research principles in order to better enable new arrivals to understand questions of rights and consent.

Prisca Benelli and Tamara Low

As humanitarian agencies increasingly follow the example of academia in establishing ethics review committees, one such agency reflects on the benefits and drawbacks.

Anaïs Faure Atger

EU migration policies are undermining basic humanitarian principles and making it more difficult for humanitarian actors to uphold their ethical commitments. 

Marta Aleksandra Balinska

When MSF recently piloted travel medicine services for people travelling along migration routes in Greece, various ethical challenges and moral dilemmas emerged.

Ruta Nimkar, Viren Falcao, Matthew Tebbutt and Emily Savage

The humanitarian community needs to develop a better shared understanding of how to provide principled assistance in areas controlled by proscribed groups.

Anna Turus

What ethical dilemmas affect humanitarian agencies’ responses to fraudulent behaviour by persons of concern? And how might refugee community structures be more involved in defining responses?

Ashley Witcher

Volunteers in Greece who are filling gaps in service provision can encounter complex ethical situations for which they may be insufficiently trained and supported. 

Dualta Roughneen

NGOs, international organisations and donors alike must consider the impact of the images and messaging they use in seeking to raise funds for humanitarian assistance.

Natalie Slade

The representations of refugees created by advocacy and solidarity groups must be devised in partnership with those whose stories are being told.

Agnes Olusese and Catherine Hingley

Aid organisations have to go further if they are to meet commitments to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, listen to survivors, and remove barriers to reporting.

Sarah Blakemore and Rosa Freedman

Robust, comprehensive safeguarding measures, including those used in crisis- and conflict-affected contexts, need to take appropriate account of local contexts in order to adhere to the highest international standards, including in safeguarding children.

General Articles
HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan

Barbara Harrell-Bond’s work had a radical impact on the lives of the uprooted and on people’s attitudes towards them.

Anita H Fábos

Part of Barbara Harrell-Bond’s legacy is the example she set of a refugee-centred approach to forced migration and refugee studies.

Maja Grundler

The importance of rigour and detail in preparing expert witness reports cannot be overstated.

Chris Dolan

Twenty years after Barbara Harrell-Bond co-founded the Refugee Law Project in Uganda, its current director considers the continuing legacy of the principles that run through her book. 

Joshua Craze

Barbara Harrell-Bond’s approach stemmed from her core belief that we are all adults, all equal, all responsible.

Sarah Elliott and Megan Denise Smith

Former AMERA staff and advisers reflect on the impact this NGO had in advancing refugee protection and how it embodied Barbara Harrell-Bond’s philosophy.

Alyoscia D’Onofrio

What insights can the pre-eminent critic of camp-based aid provision, Barbara Harrell-Bond, offer contemporary practitioners?

Olivier Rukundo

The assistance that I, as a refugee, received from Barbara Harrell-Bond shows that her defence of refugees went far beyond the preparation of asylum applications.


Opinions in FMR do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors, the Refugee Studies Centre or the University of Oxford.
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