Title Author(s) Publishing Date Summary Keywords Dossier
Faith-Based Actors in Şanlıurfa, Turkey: Reducing Tensions Between Host Populations and Syrian Refugee Communities Zeynep Şahin Mencütek October, 2020

Preventing possible tensions between refugees and the host population has become a policy priority for countries hosting large numbers of refugees. In addition to local, national and international humanitarian actors, faith-based actors from both host and refugee communities attempt to prevent any tension, as it may disrupt public order, migrant integration and social cohesion. However, little is known about the mechanisms and strategies used by refugee-led faith-based actors to take a role in reducing tensions between host-community and refugees. This article examines refugee-organised faith-based actors’ capabilities, limits and interactions with host city actors in conflict prevention, by drawing from the case of Şanlıurfa, a Turkish border province which hosts half a million Syrian refugees. Based on ethnographic field research, including interviews and participant observation, as well as the analysis of local media outlets, the paper focuses on the engagements of faith-based actors of Syrian refugee community with the local actors of Şanlıurfa. Findings illustrate that faith-based actors are able to prevent escalation of social tensions in early stages when they coordinate and cooperate with local political and humanitarian actors. However, their effectiveness in preventing tensions in later stages remains limited and does not fully eliminate the risk of violence, as such tensions are often underpinned by socio-economic factors. Finally, the case shows that faith-based actors’ engagement in refugee-host community relations lead to small but significant contributions that come with risks and challenges. 

refugees, faith-based actors, Turkey, Syrians, conflict prevention Migration, Mobility and Circulation
The Intersection of Labour and Refugee Policies in the Middle East and Turkey: Exploring the Dynamics of "Permanent Temporariness" Souad Osseiran September, 2020

The majority of Syrian refugees who have migrated to neighbouring countries in the Middle East and Turkey are faced with being “permanently temporary,” whether this temporariness defines their legal status, or state actor policies targeting refugees. The permanent temporariness of Syrian refugees in the region, while reinforced by various (non-)state actors, and produced differently based on the history and asylum framework of nation states in the region, aims primarily at incorporating Syrian refugees into local economies as surplus labour. This paper seeks to examine the incorporation of refugees as labour in relation to the development of migration governance in the region. Refugees as labour is used to conceptualize how refugees, as a type of mobile population, are approached as a desirable source of labour power due to their precarious position and permanently temporary presence. As such, the paper critically evaluates the ways in which refugees as labour are normalised. Lastly, it seeks to enquire how this impacts refugeehood as a political-legal concept. 

refugees, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Labour, Migration Policies, Asylum Politics Migration, Mobility and Circulation
Migration Emergencies and Multi-Level Governance at the EU–Turkey Border Nefise Ela Gökalp Aras August, 2020

Since 2011, political, social, environmental, and economic instability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has sparked large transnational population movements that have stressed existing state and non-state migration management systems to capacity. This has created opportunities for new actors – including national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), intergovernmental organisations (IGOs), and even regional and municipal administrations – to assume roles traditionally performed by national governments. Against this background, this paper seeks to shed light on recent changes in Turkey’s border governance, particularly concerning its relationship to the European Union (EU). 

The paper focuses on the roles of and interaction between various local, international and supranational actors (both state and non-state). Drawing on concepts of governance, the paper critically analyses Turkey’s approach to border management since 2011. It argues that the EU and the Syrian mass migration are the most significant forces of change in Turkey’s border management, which seems to have become more inclusive and open to different actors such as NGOs or IGOs, and Turkish state actors exclusively assume a control function, while NGOs and IGOs are assigned a care function. It is informed by fieldwork conducted between July and November 2018 at the main sea border-crossing points of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. 

border management, multi-level governance, Turkey, Civil Society, inter-governmental organisations Migration, Mobility and Circulation
“What We Lost in Syria, We Had Already Lost in Palestine:” Uncovering Stories Across Generations of Palestinian Women Born in Syria Mette Edith Lundsfryd Stendevad July, 2020

Knowledge about the stateless Palestinian population of Syria is limited, and the experiences of Palestinian women particularly remains uncovered. This paper argues that the loss of Syria as a safe home affects Palestinian woman born in Syria in several ways. The paper explores twelve constraints that bear an impact on women’s lives, including female experiences of statelessness, denial of “the right of return,” forced family separations and lack of access to uninterrupted family life, lack of freedom of movement, the inability to pass nationality onto children, denial of UNRWA services, lack of rights to political participation, unemployability, lack of access to protection as refugees, lack of rights to belong via citizenship, and experiences of racialisation. The structural constraints have disproportional implications with regards to the women’s age, education level, marital status, maternity status, and their current place of exile. The results presented here are based on women’s oral history as part of a decolonial intersectional feminist epistemology centralised in Palestine Studies. This paper illustrates a prolonged, transgenerational, and cross-continental marginalisation of Palestinian women from Syria, while also documenting their endeavours to speak up for their right to belong where they are, as well as to return to Palestine. 

refugees, Oral History, Palestinian Women from Syria, Gendered Statelessness, Decolonial Intersectional Feminism Migration, Mobility and Circulation
The Power-Interest Nexus in Responses to Syrian Refugee Arrivals in Lebanon: Tensions and Interactions between the State and the International Community Clothilde Facon October, 2020

This paper focuses on power dynamics between the Lebanese government and the international community in response to Syrian refugee arrivals in Lebanon as of 2011. Looking at the power-interest nexus to understand the multifaceted aspects of both actors’ motivations and bargaining tools, it seeks to map the interactions, tensions and opposing discourses at play. The methodology used is based on a series of in-depth interviews with representatives of the international community, Lebanese officials, and civil society actors. It also includes field visits, analysis of extensive documentation, and examination of scientific literature and media sources. This paper argues that international donor interests, beyond humanitarian concerns, have been infused with foreign policy considerations, aiming to prevent Syrian refugees from migrating towards Europe. Meanwhile, the Lebanese government has been encouraging resettlement, and recently returns, notably by implementing policies targeting Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The article posits that asymmetric patterns have emerged between the international community and the government, with Lebanese authorities capitalizing on the use of “productive power” to increase their bargaining position to request further funding.

refugees, influx of Syrian refugees to Lebanon, refugee governance, international community, Power Dynamics, externalization of EU borders Migration, Mobility and Circulation
Syrian Refugee Men in Za‘tari Camp: Humanitarianism, Masculinities, and “Vulnerabilities” Lewis Turner July, 2020

This paper summarises the findings of a research project on humanitarian work with Syrian refugee men, focused on Za‘tari Refugee Camp in Jordan. It argues that, for humanitarians, refugee men present a challenge. They are read in gendered and racialized ways, as independent, agential, political and at times threatening, and thereby disrupt humanitarian visions of refugeehood as a passive, feminised subject position. In this paper, these arguments are demonstrated through an exploration of some of the key areas the research focused on: how Syrian men were understood as objects of humanitarian care, how humanitarians understood Syrian men’s (non-)“vulnerability,” and Syrian men’s attempts to create livelihoods opportunities in the camp. The paper is based on extensive ethnographic participant-observation in the camp, and interviews with humanitarian workers and Syrian refugees in Jordan, which was undertaken in 2015-2016.

Mascunalities, Syrian Refugees, Za‘tari Refugee Camp, vulnerability, Jordan Migration, Mobility and Circulation
The Obstacles to Decent Work for Migrants in Jordan: A Discussion with Alia Hindawi Jennifer Gordon June, 2020

Alia Hindawi, Programme Manager for Jordan and Lebanon at the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), is a longtime advocate for the rights of migrant and refugee workers in the Middle East. Born in Pakistan and raised in Jordan, Hindawi has worked for the International Organization for Migration and the International Labour Organization, as well as for the International Trade Union Confederation and the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, among others. In this interview, she explains how the kafala (migrant sponsorship) system interacts with other formal and informal structures on the transnational, national, and individual level and contributes to the exploitation of migrant workers in Jordan, and recommends a set of reforms to address these issues.

Migrant Workers, refugees, Labour Rights, Jordan Migration, Mobility and Circulation
Unravelling Histories of Displacement: The Protracted Refugeehood of Syrian Kurds in Istanbul Adnan Keği, Saygun Gökarıksel June, 2020

This paper critically engages with Turkey’s refugee governance by offering insight into the daily struggles, aspirations, and longings of Syrian Kurdish migrants living in the inner-city neighbourhood of Demirkapı, Istanbul. It aims to sketch a multifaceted Kurdish geography of displacements beyond nation-state borders and to show how social differences and hierarchies of class, gender, and ethnicity shape greatly the experiences of the groups living in the neighbourhood. The paper is based on an ethnographic field research that consists of first-hand observations, conversations, and 25 semi-structured in-depth interviews with Kurdish migrants. The emplaced, ethnographic research is particularly promising to understand the daily lives of migrants and their multi-layered history of displacement and migration within and across borders. This history, we underscore, is not a past history, but one that unfolds in the present, within the current social hierarchies and in the midst of the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq that poignantly shape the feelings, expectations, and memories of the Kurdish people currently living in Demirkapı. Each life trajectory, that we briefly describe, involves a strenuous effort to establish a relatively stable and enriching life under the precarious conditions of ongoing crises and authoritarian neoliberal capitalism.

Migration Governance, Migration, Migrant Workers, refugees Migration, Mobility and Circulation
Challenging “Migration Governance” in the Middle East and Turkey: Dynamic Power Relations, Contested Interventions, and Individual Strategies Amreesha Jagarnathsingh , Maissam Nimer May, 2020

This special issue aims to challenge the way in which migration is “governed” in the Middle East and Turkey. Migration governance entails the “norms and organisational structures which regulate and shape how states respond to international migration.”

Migration, Migration Governance, refugees, Middle East Migration, Mobility and Circulation
Gulf States’ Humanitarian Assistance for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Susanne Schmelter January, 2019

The humanitarian engagement of Gulf States has globally increased over the last two decades. This trend also manifests itself in Lebanon, where the displacement from Syria has lead to an unprecedented growth of Lebanon’s diverse humanitarian sector. Due to the weakness of state institutions and the absence of a concerted government strategy, UN-institutions took a leading role in the coordination of international and local NGOs. However, numerous Gulf-funded organisations function largely outside the UN-coordinated response and rely on their own coordination structures. This paper explores these structures and characteristics of humanitarian assistance for Syrians displaced in Lebanon running primarily on Gulf funding. Thereby it focuses particularly on two umbrella organisations, URDA and I’tilaf, that are largely Gulf-funded and coordinate the work of numerous faith-based humanitarian organisations. Based on ethnographic field research – which was mainly conducted in 2014 and 2016 – the paper examines positions and negotiations within these humanitarian structures. These ethnographic insights are completed by an analysis of the available data and literature on Islamic charitable giving and funding trends in Lebanon. Coordination among the different humanitarian actors has repeatedly been a matter of complaint and discussion in both interviews and international reports: The lack of comprehensive coordination structures, the subsequent inefficiency in the use of funds, and the unsatisfying inclusion of local stakeholders are among the main points of critique. Here, Gulf-funded humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees in Lebanon shows alternative models and approaches in regard to operating standards, administrative procedures, planning, reporting, and contact to the local population. Yet, ad hoc deliveries with few administrative procedures and a lack of transparency simultaneously expose the Gulf donors also to accusations of the misuse of funds and diminish accountability towards donors, beneficiaries and possible cooperation partners. This, finally, raises questions regarding the possibilities of the multilateral system to provide forums for exchange, efficient coordination, and mediation between conflicting positions.

Syrian Displacement, Lebanon, Humanitarianism, Coordination Structures, Gulf Donors, Islamic Charities Syrian Refugees in Lebanon, Civil Society Observatory