Mobilising for rights in the MENA region

Due out: June 2023

Deadline for submission of article proposals only: 20th September 2022

To view this call for articles as a PDF click here.

As part of the REF-ARAB research project, based at the University of Oslo, we will be producing a special feature in Forced Migration Review (FMR), based at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. It will seek to engage with the question: What role(s) can and/or do localised acts of mobilisation play in supporting the rights of forced migrants in the MENA region? To increase the exchange of ideas ahead of the submission of articles for review by the FMR editorial board, we are organizing a workshop on this topic.

Worldwide, procedures and processes put in place for refugee rights-recognition fall short. They are often elusive. And they frequently draw upon exclusionary mechanisms, for instance by focusing on national backgrounds or narrow understandings of vulnerability. Through this call, we seek to explore what actions are undertaken by forced migrants and their allies to gain greater access to protection within what are often complex legal landscapes. Our geographical focus is on practices in and from the MENA-region.

Mobilisation is understood as the processes and efforts undertaken by different actors to engage, join and take action for addressing structural oppressions and establish social change, in this case to improve the position of people seeking refuge. Caution is needed here as the very process of claiming rights can backfire, putting people who are already in structurally vulnerable positions at even greater risk.

As a project we value bottom-up approaches, solidarity and partnership. Because of this we will give preference to submissions that are produced by and/or produced together with the people who are actively involved in negotiating refugee rights. These may be (other) people with refugee backgrounds, people working for legal aid organisations, public service lawyers, bar associations, civil society actors, opinion leaders, policy makers, activists, etc. We are hoping to cover a wide variety of countries in the region and will try to reflect this diversity in our final selection of articles for publication. The workshop is open to anyone interested in this topic: people with lived experiences of forced displacement, academics, activists, practitioners and policy makers.

For the workshop and subsequent FMR publication, we welcome contributions that discuss (interrelated) aspects of mobilisation in the MENA and seek to answer our overarching question.

Areas include:

  • Strategic litigation or other forms of legal advocacy, for instance through strategic deployment of international refugee- and human rights instruments. 
  • Negotiations with local, national and/or regional governmental actors, in favour of establishing changes in legislation and in practice.
  • Mobilisation for greater access to rights among forced migrants.  
  • Community-led efforts, including paralegal programs and activism. 
  • Interconnecting struggles: the interaction of movements for refugee rights with other social movements for instance anti-racism, feminism and labour rights.
  • Criminalisation and other barriers to mobilisation, including the short-term focus of humanitarian aid and reliance on external funding.
  • Mobilising through knowledge-sharing and knowledge-production, including through teaching and awareness-raising of legal entitlements.
  • And other issues relevant to mobilisation in the MENA.

We strongly encourage those interested in participating and contributing to the FMR feature to submit a short article proposal (100-200 words) by 20 September. These can be sent to Nora on  

Discussions within the workshop will contribute to selection procedures for the FMR special feature. At the end of October, selected contributors will be invited to develop their article proposals into articles (1,200 to 2,500 words). Subsequently, the deadline for articles will be in early January 2023.

We organise this workshop twice at different days and time slots. This enables space for broader discussion on overlapping themes and to accommodate to people living in different time zones and work schedules. Please indicate which day(s) you are able to attend.

Whereas submitted article proposals must be in English, fully developed articles will be accepted in English, Arabic, French and Spanish. If you wish to submit in another language, please also indicate this and we will discuss options with you. For this and other questions, you can also reach out to Nora.

Please note: We ask all authors to give appropriate consideration to the particular relevance of their responses to persons with disabilities, to LGBTIQ+ persons, to older persons, and to other groups with specific vulnerabilities and characteristics, and to seek to include a gendered approach as part of their articles.