Recognising refugees

FMR 65

FMR issue 65’s main feature on Recognising refugees explores shortcomings, challenges and innovations (and their consequences for refugees/asylum seekers) in refugee status determination processes worldwide. A second feature offers reflections on lessons and good practice emerging from the 2018–20 GP20 Plan of Action for IDPs.

Contents
Cathryn Costello, Caroline Nalule and Derya Ozkul

Refugee status determination procedures are the gateway to refugeehood and as such are profoundly important. Various challenges arise, however, in studying these practices.  

Hilary Evans Cameron

The Canadian refugee system is often regarded as a model for refugee status determination. While there is much to learn from what it does well, there is just as much to learn from what it does badly.

Lili Song

Although UNHCR processes all individual refugee status claims in China, public information about this mandate RSD has been sparse. Shedding light on the current procedure helps to identify the current challenges and opportunities relating to refugee protection in China.

Clara Zavala Folache and Beth Ritchie

Incorrectly processing a child’s asylum claim as an adult’s as a result of an age assessment fails to give due weight to child-specific vulnerabilities and may affect the integrity and outcome of the RSD process.

Betsy L Fisher

Procedural protections are vital in all aspects of refugee status determination (RSD). Shortcomings in operations conducting RSD for purposes of access to resettlement and complementary pathways call for greater clarity and transparency.

Eileen Imbosa and Andrew Maina

Opportunities for asylum seekers in Kenya to appeal refugee status determination (RSD) decisions are restricted by limited access to legal representation.

Lamis Abdelaaty

The arrangements established between governments and UNHCR in relation to conducting RSD reflect the varying motivations of, and challenges for, both parties.

Roshni Shanker and Hamsa Vijayaraghavan

India has repeatedly signalled its continued commitment to refugee protection and yet its dual system of refugee recognition presents a complex protection picture.

Caroline Nalule and Derya Ozkul

Handing over responsibility for refugee status determination from UNHCR to States is a complicated process that is rarely speedy or smooth. A successful handover – and the ability to meet the overarching goal of providing adequate protection for refugees – depends on many factors.

Evangelia (Lilian) Tsourdi

EASO has recently seen an expansion of the scope of its activities and – as a consequence – its potential to influence national refugee status determination.

Makesh D Joshi

Country guidance case law should be perceived as one source of open-access information.

Jessica Hambly, Nick Gill and Lorenzo Vianelli

Research across a range of European jurisdictions suggests that the use of multi-member judicial panels at appeal stage improves the quality and fairness of RSD. 

Angeliki Nikolopoulou

Reforms to Greece’s asylum system initially improved the fairness and independence of RSD but subsequent reforms are raising questions once again.

Derya Ozkul

Some Syrian refugees in Lebanon have chosen not to register with UNHCR, believing – often with good reason – that refugee recognition will hinder their freedom and their family’s access to humanitarian assistance.

Liliana Lyra Jubilut and João Carlos Jarochinski Silva

Brazil has used group recognition to grant refugee status to over 45,700 Venezuelans. The practices and technologies involved may well represent a landmark in refugee protection but there remain concerns over limitations and inattention to vulnerabilities.

Thomas McGee

The experiences of stateless Kurdish refugees from Syria in Iraq highlight the importance of identifying statelessness during RSD, and the benefits this can offer for refugee protection.

Ghislain B Tiadjeu

Prima facie recognition of refugees claiming to be from the Central African Republic depends on establishing their link to the Central African Republic. This is a difficult task, and one that also highlights the vulnerabilities of those who are at risk of statelessness.

Eleanor Paynter

In Italy, uncertainties inherent in the asylum system affect asylum seekers’ motivation, decisions and well-being.

Angela Moore and Periklis Kortsaris

COVID-19 has provided a new entry point for conversations about the adaptability of asylum systems. The swift, constructive approach taken by Portugal to ensure the rights of asylum seekers during the pandemic offers a protection model for others to consider.   

Paula Camino and Uber López Montreuil

The continuing crisis in Venezuela has generated a significant increase in applications for asylum in neighbouring Peru. This has exceeded the government’s capacity to respond adequately and in a timely manner – difficulties that are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elise Currie-Roberts and Sarah-Jane Savage

The ability of an asylum system to adapt its processes is important and plays a key role in ensuring sustainability over time. Adaptation, however, must never come at the expense of other vital elements of a strong and just asylum system.

Additional Articles

At the end of the three-year GP20 Plan of Action, I applaud the significant achievements made by States and other actors, and look forward to our continued, shared engagement on enhancing protection for IDP rights.

Cecilia Jimenez-Damary

With record numbers of people internally displaced, the urgency of the situation has triggered greater international attention and a stronger imperative for States and the international community to act. The GP20 initiative has highlighted a number of opportunities to allow much-needed progress to be made in finding bold, concrete solutions.

Samuel Cheung and Sebastian von Einsiedel

South Sudan faces significant and complex humanitarian challenges but the recent drafting of a national IDP law reflects a renewed commitment to and vision for protecting its citizens.

Chaloka Beyani, Gatwech Peter Kulang and Rose Mwebi

The magnitude, severity and diversity of internal displacement situations cannot be understood – and much less be adequately responded to – without comprehensive and accurate data. Initiatives such as the GP20 Plan of Action offer examples of good practice for the way forward in this complex area.

Devora Levakova, Adrián Calvo Valderrama, Jacques Ajaruvwa Wathum and Damien Jusselme

Four short case-studies offer examples of positive developments in the areas of disaster mitigation, disaggregated use of data, allocation of land, and a new law on IDP protection.

Participatory spaces – like those organised as part of the GP20 initiative in Colombia – must be maintained and expanded so that IDPs can work directly with local and national decision-makers in order to identify and take up opportunities to achieve durable solutions.

GP20 Colombia

State-to-State exchanges in 2019 focused attention on what more is needed if governments in the IGAD region are to respond more effectively to high levels of internal displacement.

Charles Obila and Ariadna Pop

Examples of good practice relating to preventing, mitigating and preparing for disaster displacement, discussed as part of the GP20 initiative, have revealed valuable lessons on early action, data, laws and policies, and community engagement.

Barbara Essig, Sebastien Moretti and Platform on Disaster Displacement Secretariat

Analysing how the IASC Framework has been used over the decade since its launch in 2010 provides some useful reflections for those working to achieve durable solutions to internal displacement. 

Durable Solutions Working Group Somalia (DSWG), DSWG Sudan, Margharita Lundkvist- Houndoumadi and Jasmine Ketabchi

 

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