Migrants and Citizens

Feet of clay: Aung San Suu Kyi, UNHCR and the Rohingya refugees

Idolatry is a dangerous habit. As a starry-eyed liberal teenager, I knew the names I was supposed to venerate. Aung San Suu Kyi was on the list, sandwiched somewhere between Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela on… Read More

Protection vs protectionism: debating Australia’s migration policies

In the past week, the Australian government has announced new plans to resume “offshore processing” of asylum-seekers who arrive by sea. This blog is a response to this article written by Amanda Vanstone, who was once Australian Minister… Read More

Homeward bound?

This — on my favourite theme of refugee migration — is shortly to appear on LSE’s Africa blog: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/africaatlse/   There is a poster in my office at LSE.  A shot of subway graffiti reading “Refugee go home”. The… Read More

Israelis and Africans: the other refugee story

We all know the story of Israel and the Palestinian refugees. And certainly, even in this most politicized of conflicts, no one should dispute the continuing human suffering of the civilian Palestinian population. There should be shame that… Read More

A history lesson

I spent Monday in the archives. Most of the time I’m an ex-historian now, busy arguing about what should happen, not what did happen. But occasionally a day of detecting in old files brings the two together. History… Read More

What’s humanitarian?

I gave £20 to a destitute asylum seeker yesterday. An Afghan I would guess, although he had almost no English so I could not ask. It was an encounter which left me feeling hopelessly inadequate and extraordinarily angry… Read More

Kenya, Jubaland and Somalia’s refugees: no quick fixes

In recent days, Kenya has launched a military incursion into Somalia, to push back the Al-Shabbab militants responsible for the recent murder and abduction of Western tourists and aid-workers from Kenyan territory. Framed as a necessary security response… Read More

You can stay, but you have to go…

All gifts come with strings attached: but some have more strings attached than others. In 2008, Tanzania announced it was prepared to offer naturalization to 162,000 Burundian refugees. Known as the “1972” caseload (to distinguish them from the… Read More

Africans, Arabs and Asylum (or the Daily Mail, part 2)

The second Daily Mail story is more shameful. It underlines the nasty xenophobia that pervades UK attitudes to migration and asylum. A Senegalese football team is missing in France: the Mail reports that ‘It is possible that the… Read More

Ménage à trois

Every refugee researcher has an opinion on UNHCR and its role in providing refugees’ protection. For some, UNHCR is the devil incarnate, responsible for many refugees’ imprisonment in camps and part of the problem, rather than the solution…. Read More

Manufacturing Migration “Crises”

How many refugees make a crisis? 20 million? That was the number displaced in Europe after World War II. 170,000? That’s the number of Rwandans who crossed the Tanzanian border in one twenty-four hour period in 1994. 80,000?… Read More

“No people ever was and remained free, but because it was determined to be so…”

I have watched the movements in Arab states, like every other politically conscious citizen of the world with awe, anticipation – and, at moments, envy. What must it feel like to have stood in Tahrir Square on the… Read More