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Refugee Migration and Extra-territorial Controls



Countries of immigration—old and new—have developed a range of methods to control the arrival of potential refugees on their territory. Migration scholars have paid increasing attention to the extraterritorial control of migration by Global North countries beyond their borders, while refugee scholars have investigated the ways in which United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) policies may reproduce the exclusion in camps within the Global South. However, studies of humanitarian affairs and integration rarely converge with studies of control. With an institutional ethnography of an European Union-led refugee integration initiatives in Ukraine, this case study seeks to bridge this gap, exploring the consequences of the securitization of migration in this nascent destination and gateway to Europe. The findings identify the ways in which local nongovernmental organizations and international humanitarian agencies may inadvertently reinforce social exclusion and extraterritorial control through refugee integration policies transposed from Global North to Global South. The article concludes with suggestions for studying the link between
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International Journal of Sociology
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Global Migration and Extraterritorial Controls: The
Case of International Refugee Policy in Ukraine
Raphi Rechitsky
To cite this article: Raphi Rechitsky (2016) Global Migration and Extraterritorial Controls:
The Case of International Refugee Policy in Ukraine, International Journal of Sociology, 46:3,
169-188, DOI: 10.1080/00207659.2016.1163990
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International Journal of Sociology, 46: 169–188, 2016
Copyright # Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 0020-7659 print/1557-9336 online
DOI: 10.1080/00207659.2016.1163990
Global Migration and Extraterritorial Controls: The Case
of International Refugee Policy in Ukraine
Raphi Rechitsky
Department of Social Sciences, National University
Countries of immigration—old and new—have developed a range of methods to control the
arrival of potential refugees on their territory. Migration scholars have paid increasing attention
to the extraterritorial control of migration by Global North countries beyond their borders, while
refugee scholars have investigated the ways in which United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) policies may reproduce the exclusion in camps within the Global South.
However, studies of humanitarian affairs rarely converge with studies of migration control. Using
an institutional ethnography of an European Union-led refugee integration initiatives in Ukraine,
this case study seeks to bridge this gap, exploring the consequences of the securitization of
migration in this recent destination and gateway to Europe. The findings identify the ways in
which local nongovernmental organizations and international humanitarian agencies may
inadvertently reinforce social exclusion and extraterritorial control through refugee integration
policies transposed from Global North to Global South. The article concludes with suggestions
for studying the link between securitization and refugee studies, pointing to a sociospatial
definition of the Global South.
Keywords European Union; extraterritorial; Global South; Global North; integration; international
migration; refugee policy; UNHCR
In the post–Cold War era, forced migration in the Global South has continuously reemerged as a
visible public issue, yet it remains an understudied topic across migration and globalization
studies. In the Global North, the control of migration as mobility appears in the mass media
as a punitive practice to police the territorial margins of empire, as evidenced in populist
discourse on both sides of the Atlantic, with a range of tropes across the political spectrum from
“securing our borders” to “Fortress Europe.” Yet, the need-driven flight within the Global
South, to camps and cities in Kenya, Jordan, and Pakistan constitutes a vast part of the inter-
national migration (Abel and Sander 2014: 8), is characterized in the press and humanitarian
aid by the social inclusion cultivated by generous humanitarian relief. Though refugee studies
have paid critical attention to the role of aid in camps in the Global South (Agier 2011; Kagan
2006; Crisp and Slaughter 2009; Verdirame and Harrell-Bond 2005), the ways in which the
Raphi Rechitsky is an assistant professor of sociology in the Department of Social Sciences at National University
(California). He studies international migration and refugees, social movements, and mass media in Europe, the former
Soviet Union, and the U.S.
Address correspondence to Raphi Rechitsky, Department of Social Sciences, National University, 11255 North
Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037. E-mail:
long-distance journeys of refugees across the Global South interact with social contention
around refugee reception often remains overlooked. Using an institutional ethnography of inter-
national aid for refugee integration in Ukraine, this study seeks to bridge this gap, exploring the
consequences of the securitization of migration in this new destination and gateway to the
European Union.
What constitutes the remains of the former Second World may appear to blur or elude the
boundaries of what scholars have now come to divide into the Global South and Global North.
The role of Ukraine in global migration flows in the 1990s and 2000s provides a significant case
study to clarify the North/South conceptualization. Its contentious post-Soviet history, exempli-
fied by the fateful Maidan revolution of 2014, primarily reflected Ukrainians’ aspirations to live
“by European standards,” even though the country remained 83rd on the UN Human Develop-
ment Index in 2015 and a quarter of Ukrainians earn less than $5 per day, half as much as their
neighbors to the west in the former Eastern Bloc (United Nations 2015). Nevertheless, since
sending three waves of refugees and migrants in the twentieth century, and before the massive
internal displacement from the war in the country’s easternmost regions, Ukraine had became
both a transit and receiving country for migrants as well as refugees (Düvell 2006; IOM 1994).
In the aftermath of Soviet collapse, Ukraine’s leaders looked west in hopes of “rejoining
Europe” (Judt 1996). As such, Ukraine acceded to a range of international and European human
rights conventions, including but not limited to the 1951 UN Geneva Convention on the Rights
of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. After facilitating the return of 200,000 Crimean Tatars from
post-Soviet Central Asia, United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR)
convinced Ukrainian courts to begin granting asylum to a small but diverse range of refugees,
largely from postsocialist countries in the “far abroad.” Despite constant institutional and legal
reforms, the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in Ukraine soon came under intense
scrutiny from global rights groups (Border Monitoring 2010, 2011; Human Rights Watch
2011). By the mid 2000s conditions for migrants and especially refugees in Ukraine came to
be widely criticized, with complaints ranging from a lack of hate crime legislation and
xenophobic street violence, to abysmal refugee status recognition rates, as well as police
violence and unlawful expulsions of refugees, or refoulement (Human Rights Watch 2011).
Why and how, then, would the European Union come to convince the UN Refugee Agency
to institute a policy of refugee integration in Ukraine? And, how would refugees and local
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) negotiate this mandate with each other and local
institutions? Using a multisited institutional ethnography with refugees, asylum seekers, and
their advocates, this article seeks to show how UNHCR participation in the securitization
of migration transforms the durable solution of local integration into a mechanism of
extraterritorial control of asylum.
Studies of international migration have paid increasing attention to the reach of Global North
states to control migration beyond their borders, and the centrality of asylum seeking to this
extraterritorial control of mobility (Betts 2010; Gerard 2014; Pickering 2011; Sterkx 2008;
Vecchio 2014; Weber 2013; Zolberg 2009). Attention to migration through transit countries
remains a politicized and complex field (Düvell 2012). On one hand, transit migration is a result
of North states’ security concerns that impact refugees in transit countries just beyond initial
destinations. On the other hand, transit migration concerns a nonlinear pattern of mobility that
may or may not result in reaching territory of North states (Düvell 2012). Recent studies of the
securitization of migration have sought to capture the link between these policy and migration
arenas. Gerard and Pickering (2014) find that European Union (EU) external policy results not
only in physical coercion in transit but also in gendered “structural” violence that puts at risk the
safety of women refugees in transit through Libya to EU-member Malta (see also Gerard 2014).
Weber (2013) sees totalizing “virtual borders” in the Australian version of surveillance as
forceful policing of asylum seeking directly from neighboring island states. At the same time,
Pickering and Weber (2014) find that even the Australian state needs “deterrence scripts”
to legitimate punitive offshore detention in ways that appear humane to the public and key
stakeholders. Vecchio (2014) points to the ways in which even the work of the state as well
as refugee-assisting NGOs in global cities contribute to upholding the labor exploitation faced
by asylum seekers. Despite the burgeoning of interest in extraterritorial control of asylum, it is
surprising that few studies investigate the impact of humanitarian affairs on South–South
How to theorize the extraterritorial impact of global refugee policy? Institutional and world
polity theories of globalization stress the utility of global policies and international organiza-
tions as vehicles for the spread of progress and social change (Meyer 2010). Despite the risk
of a “boomerang effect” that may reverse change (Keck and Sikkink 1998), sociological neo-
institutional views parallel democratization perspectives in political science, both stressing that
national institutions eventually improve when transnational advocacy networks leverage the
support of international organizations that pressure states to conform to international norms.
In this guise, change occurs when international institutions lobby for policies; states, for
instance, will implement policies that promote the protection of norms on the right to asylum
enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights. The assumptions of neoinstitutional
analysis that is dominant in globalization studies implies a steady march toward human rights,
varying in countries undergoing social change on the strategic lobbying of international agen-
cies like UNHCR, but ultimately on the preexisting opportunity structures in national polities
and societies (see Shevel 2011). The shrinking gap between the cultural character of national
policy and the spread of global norms expected by a normative neoinstitutional theory fails
to explain extraterritorial state effects in other countries, such as the securitization of migration
A political sociological perspective attentive to refugee studies provides a way to understand
power relations in global migration and refugee policy. Since the postwar period, knowledge
about forced migration has been facilitated by a refugee regime as part of a governance system
outside of the United Nations (Loescher, Betts, and Milner 2008; Malikki 1995; Stevens 2006;
Zolberg et al. 1989).
As of 2014, UNHCR operates in 120 countries and maintains authority
over humanitarian issues in the international arena. The refugee regime produces a breadth
of applied knowledge that may have discursive consequences for the way we understand
who is a refugee and what is legitimately forced displacement—as well as its types—as opposed
to voluntary migration (e.g., UNHCR 2010). Local integration is one of three durable solutions
that signatories to the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention are obliged to provide. However, in
practice, UNHCR often steps in for extended if not indefinite periods of time, providing ser-
vices that protect refugees’ access to basic rights available to native residents in the host state,
such as housing, health care, and formal education (see Crisp and Slaughter 2009; Stevens 2006
2009). Though the UNHCR has adopted global policies on age, gender, and diversity (UNHCR
2011b), the structural impact of policy decisions on ethnic/racial exclusion in the Global South
have rarely been investigated (cf. Milner 2014).
By contrast to neoinstitutional theory, political sociologists of refugee studies are con-
cerned not only with comparing models of legal change, but with the outcomes of change
on social inclusion or exclusion. Refugee studies have investigated the role of international
organizations and global aid groups in reproducing power relations in Global South sites
of refugee settlement and transit. Loescher and colleagues (2008, 2001) has pointed to
how the UNHCR’s dilemma hinges on a balance between its humanitarian authority with
the “realpolitik” interests of donor states. Betts (2010) argues that such “regime shifting” into
travel, humanitarian, and human rights arenas since the 2000s have transformed UNHCR into
a technocratic actor that promotes “burden sharing” in the interest of Global North states and
at the cost of its core mandate of refugee protection. In either guise, power relations set by
powerful states and nonstate actors can then explain the gap in policy and practice in areas
such as development in the South (Crisp and Slaughter 2009). Critical refugee studies exam-
ining the consequences of aid in camps in the Global South have stressed that the experiences
of refugees are mediated by private aid agencies without accountability, resulting in their
management of “undesirables” by obscuring irregular mass encampments from public visi-
bility (Agier 2011). Other studies even go as far as analyzing the gap between UNHCR’s
public relations and policy practices in Northern Africa as “janus-faced humanitarianism”
(Verdirame and Harrell-Bond 2005; Stevens 2006). Nevertheless, the social mechanisms that
produce and result in the gap between UNHCR’s mandate and on-the-ground outcomes
remain overlooked, especially outside the camp setting. Such a focus is particularly important
considering that unlike most UN agencies, the UNHCR’s budget is based on its successful
campaigning for voluntary donations from governments, with EU states as well as Japan
and the United States as some of the most generous contributors.
While the refugee studies literature is global in scope, the focus of research is geographically
divided between South and North. On one hand, covering the work in the making of refugee
camps in the Global South, few studies of encampment have investigated reception in so-called
transit countries. A literature on refugee resettlement and integration looks at how programs in
receiving societies in the Global North reproduce and contest refugee subordination.
A recent
debate in the Journal of Refugee Studies has dealt with the extent and limits of power of global
refugee policy, largely in the South, in the age of the retrenchment of national refugee policies
(Fresia 2014; Gammeltoft-Hansen 2014; Milner 2014). Yet the issue of the externalization
of state power through institutions, particularly through humanitarian mechanisms, remains
understudied. There is little consideration in refugee studies to the soft power of the EU as a
super-state and the impact of its migration policy (Lavenex 2006), as well as on the microlevel
impact of these policies on the decisions and aspirations of refugees in buffer countries between
the South and North. This article thus prefers a robust and relational definition of the Global
South, defining it as a variegated space outside the geographic borders of the Global North
states, in relation to their methods of controlling migration. The focus on forced migration,
a process characterized by undetermined direction and extent of mobility, heeds the call of
recent scholarship to go beyond a “destination-centric nature” of studies on new immigrant des-
tinations (Winders 2014: 167). Paying attention to power dynamics transnationally rather than
focusing on integration in comparative perspective goes beyond the paradigm of “new” immi-
grant destinations to look at the relationship of migration within the Global South to power
dynamics within the Global North.
This article draws on mixed methods using interviews and institutional ethnography (Maynes,
Pierce, and Laslett 2008; Smith 2005 3).
Personal narrative data collected includes 83 original
semistructured interviews conducted largely in Russian and English in three Ukrainian cities in
2009–11 with refugees from 25 countries—with a majority of respondents from Afghanistan, DR
Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Iran, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine, Russia, Sudan, Somalia,
and Uzbekistan (see Table A1). This article describes information from some of the 310 hours of
recorded interviews and observation in the offices of NGO, state, and international organizations
in three cities dealing with refugee assistance and international migration (see Table A2). For
purposes of both simplicity and robustness, I define as refugees those identified as such by the
UNHCR and its partner organizations rather than any host state or potential state of resettlement
(though I recognize the limits of this definition, my research points to a broader scope of statutory
refugees and other asylum seekers who fear approaching UNHCR for assistance in Ukraine;
see Zetter 2007).
After facilitating the mass return of Crimean Tatars from Central Asia back to the Crimean
Peninsula, the UN Refugee Agency set up a regional office in Kiev in 2001, the year before
Ukraine was set to implement its earlier adoption of the 1951 Geneva Convention. Due to
demands to internationalize asylum criteria by UNHCR, the government granted refugee
status to 3,022 individuals from 85 countries since beginning granting asylum in 1996
(UNHCR 2012). Since the 2012 reshuffling of the Ukrainian Migration Service, the number
of individuals who filed for asylum rebounded to 1,573. This approached recent rates in
2010, but remained below the higher rates of asylum applications in the 2000s (e.g., in
2008 there were 2,237 applications [HIAS 2010; UNHCR 2012]). In 2010, partners imple-
menting UNHCR legal protection had a caseload of 1,009 asylum seekers, from over twenty
countries including Afghanistan, Russia, Palestine, Congo, and Uzbekistan (HIAS 2010).
However, my observations revealed that many would-be asylum seekers may never
approach the government or obtain assistance from UNHCR, whether for lack of faith in
the asylum procedure or concerns for their security.
It is this broader population of refu-
gees and asylum seekers as well as those registered with UNHCR that are the subject of this
With the European Union’s expansion to Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland and to Ukraine’s
border ahead of 2008, attention to security turned European policy to invest resources to limit
what was perceived as unauthorized “transit migration” to Europe (see Düvell 2006). Finding
neither safety nor opportunities in Ukraine, many refugees and migrants sought a way west
despite the sophistication of controls at EU’s Schengen border controls and emerging return
and refoulement practices.
Much applied migration research in Eastern Europe had long sought
to document the existence of transit and “secondary movements” into western Europe (ICMPD
2011; IOM 1994; UNHCR 2006) in order to more efficiently control unauthorized migration
west into the EU to begin with. With the EU’s changing policy priorities since the 2008 EU
accession of Ukraine’s western neighbors to the Schengen Security Zone, its external policy
became more focused on controlling unauthorized migration and securitization than improving
human rights in the region.
To this end, the European Union began closer ties with Ukraine with both diplomatic and
financial incentives since the accession of Ukraine’s neighbors to the west—Poland, Hungary,
Slovakia, and later, Romania (ECRE 2008; see Follis 2012). Early diplomatic efforts under the
European Neighborhood Policy (ENP, cf. the case of Libya [Hamood 2008]), promised Ukraine
the possibility of accession to the EU (ICMPD 2008). These early incentives sought Ukraine’s
adoption of a readmission agreement to return migrants who transited through Ukraine from
across the EU. This included promises of visa-free travel for Ukrainian nationals, and was
modeled after the EU’s model agreement with Russia (Hernández 2010). But, after the signing
of the readmission agreement, the EU instead moved quickly to a broader range of financial
incentives for technical assistance to fortify, on both sides, its eastern border of the Schengen
Security Zone along the Carpathian Mountains and plains further north. Much of this funding
moved to enhance Ukrainian authorities’ capacity building, and institutionalization of control
measures that included not only the green border and checkpoints but also controls and Migrant
Accommodation Center (MAC) detentions across the country. Of €494 million allocated under
the EU’s European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) for 2007–10, €30 was spent on the establish-
ment of additional MAC detentions in Ukraine in addition to the two established by the IOM in
preceding years (Border Monitoring Project 2010: 42–43; ICMPD 2008: 4). Through the post-
Soviet aid program that preceded the ENP, Ukrainian border and police authorities received
what was three-fourths of over €200 million ($287 million) in aid in 2004–7 toward such
technocratic and border control measures (ECRE 2008).
The European Commission on Refu-
gees and Exiles, or ECRE (2008), found that only 9 percent of the net migration-related aid to
Ukraine during this period went to refugee protection. As in many developing countries, most
refugee protection services are administered via the UNHCR through local NGOs providing
legal and social assistance in several Ukrainian cities to those whom UNHCR qualifies as
refugees under international law.
In this emerging sociopolitical context, the European Commission funded a new program to
be implemented by UNHCR: The Local Integration of Refugees in Ukraine, Belarus, and
Moldova (LIP).
The program was initiated as an implementation of recommendations based
on a 2007 study headed by the to-be regional director of UNHCR who came to oversee the
program and cosponsored by the IOM and the Swedish Soderkoping process (Andrysek and
Rantala 2007; UNHCR 2011a). Extended beyond 2016, the EU earmarked a large majority
of funding with the goal of building “real opportunities for integration” for refugees in
Ukraine as well as Belarus and Moldova (UNHCR 2011a). The LIP’s stated goal is to lay
the groundwork for “a favorable environment” for refugees by getting “governments and refu-
gee-assisting organizations to deal with refugees and their integration” (UNHCR 2011a).
Speaking with refugees and partnering aid agencies, it first appeared as if program services
deeply benefited refugee communities. However, upon closer look, the number of refugees
actually touched by the program remained quite small due to several factors. The program
serves only the 3,022 statutory refugees, the lucky few recognized by the Ukrainian state over
the past twenty years who stayed in Ukraine.
As of May 2011, about one-third of statutory
refugees received Ukrainian language courses as well as cultural programs, and consultations
on obtaining employment and medical and other services. Second, even those who received pro-
gram services rejected the notion that they had any social benefits. For example, as one south
Asian refugee explained about the stipend given to language course attendants, “I don’t need
Ukrainian training if I can’t use it, apply it here—or even Russian. It’s useless if nobody will
give me a job. I just need the money to survive in some way.”
If not the impact of its services and policy lobbying what, then, are the consequences and
purpose of integration programs in this transit country? In the next section, I will show how
I resolved this puzzle by listening to the personal narratives of refugees and conducting an
institutional ethnography of refugee organizations. From glossy brochures in cramped NGO
offices to the sprawling street markets outside post-Soviet cities, “integration” quickly became
a buzzword starting in 2008, the program’s promotional materials traversing various social
networks. But, why did so much criticism of “integration” take root in refugee communities
and within NGOs?
Unlike state-supported asylum systems in Western Europe, North America, and Australia, the
services funded by international organizations constitute the little material and legal support
available to refugees in Ukraine. They serve the most basic needs, and thus in many ways chal-
lenge refugees’ subordination in society. However, while providing refugee reception services,
in practice the LIP unwittingly places blame on refugees for not “integrating” into their host
society. For instance, the following vignette from my field notes demonstrates how the
implementation of the LIP reinforces blame on service recipients and even other migrants
outside of its refugee mandate:
On my way to visit a UNHCR partner organization, I meet an Eritrean asylum seeker from Kenya,
in his third year stranded in Ukraine. He had just been evicted from his home at a makeshift hostel
along with hundreds of other refugees on the outskirts of the city. The caseworker immediately
demands he speaks in Russian to explain his situation, and persistently refuses my offer to
interpret. “They need to integrate, that is why we ask them to speak Russian,” she explains.
Beyond the barrier, she informs him that if he received a letter that the UNHCR does not find
him to be an eligible refugee, she has no way to help him.
Despite not being a recognized refugee who receives services or is under the LIP program,
this asylum seekers’ language ability becomes subject to demands for cultural assimilation. The
short-lived Refugee Integration Center, as Sahel, a recent Afghan refugee jealously observed,
had almost entirely benefited well-off Afghan ethnics. These were refugees indeed, but those
of a different generation of the Soviet conflict and of a different ethnic background. Many
had long obtained Ukrainian citizenship and a higher socioeconomic status than more recent
Afghan asylum-seeking refugees, largely of Pashtun ethnic backgrounds. These examples
illustrate that the very legal categories assigned to “refugees” and “asylum seekers,” when
applied by NGOs, not only construct barriers to integration but also may exacerbate refugees’
existing social subordination in society.
At the same time, the staffs of the NGOs remain caught between the state and international
institutions, given few resources to model West European modes of refugee integration
in Ukraine. Furthermore, like refugees, NGO legal advocates stand up to authorities in
representing their clients and bear the brunt of the complicated conflicts within the state,
as well as between the state and international organizations. Reflecting on her day, one legal
advocate commented on her day representing asylum seekers at the State Migration Service
It was a long day. The State Migration Service is a black hole. You can sit there for nine hours
having your soul sucked out. I have a newly registered Ugandan woman and Somali man. The
head of the SMS curses the refugees in racial profanities and threatens the lawyers with violence.
Then there are always new forms; this one demands the refugee themselves, knowing law without
anyone’s assistance, describe and discuss the distinction about the reason for seeking refugee sta-
tus (political, ethnic, religious, etc.). Finally, they canceled it after I protested and was yelled at.
Their excuse is that the MS are being checked by [state security services] for their efficiency, or
something like that, so they are especially vicious. Still, this is more of the same as usual.
Nevertheless, refugees are caught in the middle of the power nexus of the refugee regime,
between state and international organizations. Reacting to another’s rejection from UNHCR
services, one Afghan explained how he sees his frustration with social assistance for refugees:
“Refugees are like a football, they shoot us from post to post but they don’t even know where
the goal is. Or maybe they know there is no goal!”
Program staff in several sites seemed puzzled by the small number of applications for available
small business grants under the LIP. Only nine refugees obtained start-up grants by June 2011
(see UNHCR 2011a). The questions posed by a recently recognized Ivorian refugee explained
how he experienced individualized service structures and social blame:
They called me, and asked me to come to their office. And you know what they told me when I got
there? “How can we help you?” Why would you call me over here and ask how you can help me? …
Then they tell me it’s you who has the problem. What kind of mafia are you running? Why would
you want us to integrate in this country when I don’t want to be integrated in this country?
By conceiving of integration as a directive to integrate out of touch with existing opportunity
structures facilitated by the state, LIP programs unwittingly reproduce refugee subordination in
social service provision.
Refugees find this directive to “integrate” socially bankrupt. Those who seek legal and social
services for asylum seekers are taught that their own “integration” efforts solve only their own,
personal problems. In one instance, refugee leaders were outraged when approached by LIP
staff with a proposal for relocation from the city to manual labor at foreign-owned agribusiness:
“They are trying to sell us. Does even the UN think we are slaves? First they propose that we
voluntarily deport ourselves to be butchered at home and now they want to send us back where
they came from: serfdom.” After retelling his experiences with racist violence at the hands of
police, an African refugee and Ukrainian resident of 18 years conceived of racial exclusion of
his children as a fixed limit for “integration”:
My child is starting to understand this, and that is what’s scary. Is that integration? If I am a
person that has not integrated yet, how can I integrate now? I don’t even worry about myself
anymore. The problem is my daughter, not me. How can she have a better life here?
A Guinean asylum seeker similarly explained:
Just today I had two guys come up to me on the street: “where are you from, why aren’t you
home?” I said, “I’m from here. I’m home.” And they got confused and wanted to fight: “how
could you be from here?” They want us to integrate but there is no integration. People aren’t
even willing to accept us as one of them.
Especially for refugees and migrants who lack legal and social protection, the pervasive
threat of racially motivated attacks is ever-present, making a directive to “integrate” on behalf
of assisting agencies all but insulting. Such refugee narratives expose integration as a damaging
discourse for victim blaming rather than service program model.
Beyond blatant instances of victim blaming, LIP programs also inadvertently project an
idealized image of an integrated refugee that is next to impossible to live up to. “Despite
difficulties and rejection of refugees in some sectors of society, we see a few successes
when you talk to an employer, tell them this is legal, you get some results,” a local
LIP staff explained to me when I asked about the difficulties of the integration project.
Yet speaking to refugees outside of the institutional context provides a different picture.
Morris is a single well-educated man from a middle-class family in the Ivory Coast. Having
been traumatized watching his family be killed in front of his eyes, he arrived in Ukraine
having escaped persecution in the ongoing conflict, and entering on a quick student visa
through Gabon. Morris is touted as a success story by international organizations in their
promotional materials:
Integration is all I hear, it’s a commercial, and they show me as an example. But my experience
is that integration here is impossible. I was taught to give more to my children than I had, that’s
impossible here … . There are very smart and capable people that come. But in Ukraine
people bury their dreams—and themselves. I will not be one of them … . Since I moved, I still
barely make rent even though I actually found work. But the only reason I was hired was
because the [LIP] lawyer personally convinced that employer to “give it a try, maybe he’s
not as bad as our [people].” I get very strange faces when I travel for work. “Hello, I am here
with this company.” Some slam doors, many threaten violence, or at least demand my
documents and hold them until I agree to leave. And the work is temporary because of my [asy-
lum seeker] document … . My first reaction when I came to Ukraine was “I’m safe.” But that is
before I realized I have to live a life now too. So the only solution I see is resettlement to a third
Four years after coming to Ukraine, even this model refugee is looking for every chance to
flee yet again, seeing few ways to settle in Ukraine. I speak with Morris as he, like thousands
others, approaches UNHCR with a desperate appeal for resettlement. The contrast between
his determined and defiant personal story and his depiction as a model refugee illustrates an
institutional interest to depict the illusion of refugees’ local integration and Ukraine as a safe
country. For the others left behind, only the able and resourceful will find irregular paths west.
This analysis has demonstrated the detrimental social consequences for refugees of importing
foreign models of diversity, such as West European “refugee integration,” without
many resources and little political will from host states. The next section investigates the
international political-economic causes of these dynamics, paying close attention to refugees’
narratives on racial exclusion and onward migration.
The international refugee legal regime is based on three “durable solutions”: repatriation,
resettlement, and integration. First, in addition to forced repatriation, or deportation, “voluntary”
return implemented by the IOM for UNHCR has been widely recognized by human rights groups
as a problematic solution with high risks of putting refugees back into the conflicts they had
escaped. Second, given ever-stricter border control policies of western states and their responsi-
bility for refugee-displacing conflicts, demand for international resettlement to safe countries in
the North has grown, all while refugee admission has stalled (just under 10,000 refugees are
resettled per year compared to 12 million refugees in the world today—most from Afghanistan
and Iraq). Thus, the third policy of refugee integration in refugees’ first countries of arrival has
become a popular solution for UNHCR in the new millennium.
For the LIP, obtaining refugee status from the state is the first step to integration.
as one Cameroonian lamented to me about his newfound documents from Ukraine, obtaining
refugee status seems all but a trap:
This certificate they gave me guarantees that I die here … Europe and the UN need to come here
to help us get away from this country … . They talk about integration, but they forget that it is
absolutely impossible at this moment. How can they integrate us without a real document? How
can we be somebody when you cannot work? How can you say you are an integrated person but
you continue to be abused every day because you are black?
Lack of opportunities for integration, in the eyes of refugees, motivates them to move onward
to safer countries to the west. While refugee status opens the door for limited opportunities such
as legal employment, it all but bars them from the few opportunities to apply for resettlement or
asylum elsewhere.
Coming to see Ukraine as an untenable destination, refugees are reluctant to seek out LIP assist-
ance. When I visited a new LIP office, I met hardworking and motivated staff, but no refugees.
Ukrainians huddle around a guarded gate, scribbling notes on applications as they await their
appointments. This is the Polish consulate in Odessa, which happens to be right around the cor-
ner from a new refugee integration program office. Entering a dirt-paved yard off this busy street
from bustling visa lines, I find the LIP office hidden behind a car repair lot … . A small plaque
bearing the names of international funders hangs on the locked gate … . The elderly guard that
eventually opens the door first insists that there is no UN or social program office here. He tells
me to come back later, observing that I do not “look Russian.”
This vignette of business as usual illustrates a contrast between emigration and immigration
motivations. Ukrainians seek institutional means to leave Ukraine, while refugees have little
desire or support to “integrate” and settle. The program’s office has moved, as another refugee
described it after our brief visit, to a “posh and comfortable location.”
Furthermore, refugees’ own understanding of integration programs view LIP not as an
alternative to resettlement, but as a mode of control intended to thwart any search for safe
refuge elsewhere. Sitting in his dark room at the Temporary Accommodation Center, a young
Guinean man explained:
If you have a refugee passport, they propose that you integrate into this country. They will tell
you that your application on resettlement is closed. I told them, please, I’m not a dupe. I plead
my case in February as we sit in the refugee camp with your people from resettlement. But now,
you want to change my case and put it under the integration plan. I’m the master of my life. Why
do you guys want to integrate me to Ukraine, when you know that even Ukrainian people can’t
integrate into this country? The government would never do anything for refugees in this
country. Ukrainian people don’t know what is the meaning of refugee … . And everybody knows
I can’t go anywhere else if they give me this status of refugee. I need to live in a country where
there is security, because here I am nobody.
While the UNHCR often, and sometimes appropriately, accuses the state of provoking
anti-UNHCR discourses, listening to refugees’ defiant stance on this program shows instead that
they see it as another form of control to prevent refugees from seeking protection elsewhere.
What is the relationship between immigrant and refugee social incorporation and onward
migration? An asylum seeker from Guinea, Conakry, explained the risks of migration and
how a lack of social opportunities and inability to return home influence clandestine journeys
across the EU border:
Who am I, a black man, risking six months in a gulag, passing through villages with people who
have never seen a foreigner? … Only when people land in Ukraine and find [UN] resettlement
impossible do they say I’m tired, I’m fed up, if I lose my life I don’t care … . It’s because they
cannot go home … . If my own life was not at stake why would I not go back home in this situation:
as a refugee, you cannot work or live here either.
Integration programs may provide very limited material and social support to disincentivize
unauthorized migration by ameliorating refugees’ destitute living conditions. Yet, international
organizations’ programs—like the state’s—take for granted the structural conditions that facilitate
migration decisions: refugees are not only forced to leave home countries and cannot return
but also are forced to leave Ukraine due to the exclusion they find in this (often unintended)
destination. LIP and NGO staff working directly with refugees recognize the contradictory
positions these social programs occupy with respect to migration. As one NGO head explained:
I see that [refugees] have hopes of going to a country where there is some social accommoda-
tions … . Sure it’s easy to say, close the border, so they die equally on par with Ukrainians . In
order to allow refugees to live here in decency in this country, you need to totally transform the
economic and social situation for everyone … . People do not live here in decency and likewise
neither do refugees.
Despite finding innumerable “obstacles” facing refugees’ “integration” in Ukraine (cf. Local
Integration of Refugees 2008), international organizations dependent not only on European
funding but also state demands marginalize the standpoint of refugees and asylum seekers,
who continue to seek a way to an increasingly elusive “Europe.”
Asked about the intentions of the program, a UNHCR staff member laughed, “It was never
written anywhere, but it is understood that the purpose of the program funded from Europe has
always been to stop people from going to Europe.” Another refugee NGO staff reflected on the
interests of international organizations in Ukraine:
The government just passed a law stopping refugees from being represented in court and the UN
refused to confront. Why? The UN won’t pack up and leave. They don’t want to go to the dreadful
camps in Africa or go to Afghanistan. Their people like it here and they won’t move a thing for
fear of getting kicked out like they did in Uzbekistan.
Thus, without human rights lobbying via transnational advocacy networks, well-intending
international institutions may not conform to their aims, but will conform to organizational
Providing an analysis of European initiatives for refugee social incorporation in Ukraine, this
article has shown how international humanitarian aid programs may not only contest but also
inadvertently reinforce social exclusion. At the same time, the uneven structure of humanitarian
policies creates unintended consequences of producing incentives against onward migration for
refugees to seek protection. The policy aim of this article is not to advise rolling back aid for
social services and refugee protection. To the contrary, it is to point to internal political
contradictions within existing international humanitarian institutions that are detrimental
to them.
This article has several innovative contributions to political sociology in both the study of
social change on one hand and refugees and the political sociology of refugee migration on
the other hand. The first and broadly theoretical contribution contests normative neoinstitutional
theories of social change. According to neoinstitutional theory, social change is driven by a
conflict between international norms and state practices. Instead, this article has demonstrated
how power is unevenly constituted even in the practices of international institutions—
particularly in UNHCR—producing unintended negative consequences for vulnerable social
groups. As interviews with NGOs and refugees demonstrate in this study, even refugee
integration practices are structured by the migration policies of Global North states that
fund them.
A second contribution of this article is geographic and has to do with categorizations of
countries, pointing to the need to rethink conceptions regarding both the concept of the Global
South as well as migration within the Global South. Unlike the current transit routes of Syrians
into Greece, transit through countries to the east of the European Union, past and present, may
not neatly fit into the cartographic south of the globe. Nevertheless, the distinction between
South and North, as this article has demonstrated, remains a political and socio-spatial one.
For better or worse, Ukraine is likely to remain outside of political Europe-proper despite its
leaders’ hopes of EU accession, even after its 2014 Revolution of Dignity. The state’s own
capacity to guarantee refugee protection are also, at least in part, due to the deep socioeconomic
inequities with neighboring European countries to the west and inside of “Fortress Europe.”
Ukraine may thus seem like an unlikely host of refugees—even discounting its recent 1.3
million internally displaced from the eastern Donbas region in the conflict of 2014–15. But,
as this paper has also shown, it is the externalization of asylum to outside of the EU, not only
to Turkey today (e.g., İçduygu and Yükseker 2012) but to Ukraine, that contributes in no small
part to refugee integration—or lack thereof—in transit countries outside of the EU. Thus, socio-
spatially, refugee migration to Ukraine may be considered within the South, as well as always
linked to the external policies of the North.
A third contribution of this article concerns the scope of extraterritorial control policies
outside of Europe. Remote control (Zolberg 2006) takes the shape of not only punitive
practices, symbolized today by brutal detention off the coast of Australia (Weber 2013), but
also as aid policy that enables the legitimacy of an illusion of refugee security in “safe third
countries.” Observing how extraterritorial state power operates at the borders of Europe in
the area of migration and admission policy, Huysmans (2006) argues that control and
liberty may not be at odds, but could instead be expressed through one another, referring
to what Foucault (2010) calls biopolitics. “Despite the spectacular nature of walls and
fences,” Huysmans (2006: 95–96) writes, “modern states use more sophisticated techno-
logies that determine specific conditions of entrance” (96). Besides being an authority
on humanitarianism, UNHCR has also emerged as a stakeholder in a constellation of global
governance agencies in the areas of travel humanitarianism, human rights (see Betts 2010),
not to mention nongovernmental think tanks.
One direction border and refugee studies
might take would be to analyze how the political economy of aid is reproduced through
expert knowledge of aid organizations.
The fourth contribution of this article affects the study of refugee studies and ethnic
relations. This study has demonstrated how humanitarian initiatives are implemented across
borders via universalistic models of social change, here rooted in west European models of
refugee integration (Smyth, Stewart, and Da Lomba 2010). Shevel (2006, 2011) has argued
that the UNHCR and international institutions expand opportunity structures for an inclusive
refugee policy, particularly in postsocialist countries where contention over ethnicity makes
room for an inclusion of a range of ethnonational groups.
However, this study demonstrates
that North–South power dynamics can emerge even through the very institutions established to
promote ethnic diversity, unwittingly exacerbating refugee exclusion in transit countries in the
Global South.
It is such consequences of globalization that drive regional political actors in the Global
North—and the EU is no exception—to externalize not only control but also ideas about
refugee integration. “Objective knowledge” (see Smith 2005) on refugee integration in
Western Europe becomes transposed into a neoliberal ideology of self-reliance, instituted into
refugee and in immigrant services throughout Europe and beyond EU borders. Such a relational
view of migration to the Global South also sheds light on refugee practices within the Global
North, where European integration has worked more as a discourse imposed from the top down,
one that places blame on refugees for structural barriers to social incorporation without seeking
to address them with resources and equalizing policies (Fekete, Bouteldja, and Muhe 2010: 1).
Along with European political integration, demanded without membership to European
Neighborhood Countries, a neoliberal politics of diversity—with few resources to enforce
them—have been passed on to poorer countries to the south and east of the EU without enabling
their equal development on par with member states or building from their own experiences with
antiracism. Thus, not only are restrictive admission policies externalized to Europe’s buffer
zone, but so, too, are West European neoliberal discourses on immigrant and refugee
incorporation in order to reinforce controls and social exclusion.
Finally, this article contributes to theories of globalization and human rights. Many
perspectives that dominate neoinstitutional theories develop models of change around a norma-
tive assumption of the positive role played by international laws and institutions in spreading
human rights norms (Keck and Sikkink 1998). However, this research arrives at a contrary con-
clusion, taking a critical refugee studies perspective that international organizations’ policies,
practices, and interests are unevenly driven by Global North states’ policy priorities, with
security and control concerns driving the shape of humanitarian policies. A retrenchment of
international human rights organizations—with a declining influence of transnational advocacy
networks—thus results in Global North states’ collusion in “remote control” policies (Zolberg
2006) that constrain the development of human rights norms instead of enabling their inde-
pendent development within countries and regions within the Global South (see Sterkx 2008).
To conclude, I will give three suggestions for future research. First, research on Global South
buffer countries like Ukraine, Serbia, Libya, and Turkey can be compared to tease out the role of
the state from international forces, and used to analyze policies responding to internal displacement
within the country (see Salehyan and Gleditsch 2006). Second, the retrenchment of UNHCR to the
status of “technocrat” (Betts 2009) or “gatekeeper” (Kagan 2006) develops not in a vacuum, but
due to the increased influence of donor states, those driven by the antirefugee and immigrant poli-
tics of Global North states. Aid for those who have crossed borders in the aftermath of
displacement should be studied in relational and transnational perspective to the transit spaces
between the Global South and North that are the object of extraterritorial migration policies against
people on the move from the South. Third, though more visible in buffer countries in the South,
migration and globalization studies should consider the mechanisms facilitating the spread of
policies across a Greater South, including those originating in the more powerful states of the
Global North. Thus, sociologists of organizations and global governance should pay attention to
the structural limits of humanitarian aid initiatives. While well-intended efforts for democratization
in the Global South such as protection of basic rights like asylum may provide a way to contest
abuses of state power, they may also deploy aid to the detriment of marginalized social groups
and possibilities for local, regional, and national social change forged by transnational movements
rather than international aid institutions (see Lloyd et al. 2012).
The author thanks the U.S. Fulbright Program for supporting this research. Special thanks to
two anonymous reviewers, as well as for comments on various earlier versions of this work
by Rawan Arar, Ron Aminzade, David FitzGerald, Donna Gabaccia, Kristin Haltinner, Erin
Hoekstra, June Msechu, jim saliba, and Emily Springer.
1. Reshuffled from their Soviet citizenship format, the “institutional musical chairs,” a federal State Committee
on Nationality and Religion (SCNR) failed to advocate for refugees in court and Migration Services (MS) to process
asylum applications, which was decentralized in 2001 (Malynovskaya 2004). In 2011 both agencies were dissolved, and
most matters regarding refugees subsumed under the police authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
2. Following World War II, UNHCR was created to coordinate the international protection of refugees under the
1951 UN Geneva Convention on refugees—displaced persons who crossed national borders for reasons related to
religious, political, or ethnic persecution.
3. Various debates on the social impacts of refugee and immigrant settlement in western receiving societies
revolve around the effects of ethnic and civic organizations in Western Europe (Lawrence and Hardy 1999; Wahlbeck
1998; Zetter and Pearl 2000) and state and NGO involvement in North America (Bloemraad 2006; Nawyn 2008; Ong
2003; Tomlinson and Egan 2002). But these debates do not engage the larger role of international organizations in refugee
reception in nontraditional receiving societies. Recent research on East European countries looks at the comparative
effects of state building on refugee policy. Comparing Russia and Ukraine, Shevel (2011) argues that the scope of refugee
inclusion depends on the scope of conflict and consensus over inclusion in the country and a strategic role of international
institutions. See also a volume on Soviet and Russian internal migration policy by Light (2016).
4. Institutional ethnography applies a feminist “sociology for people” to study how different social relations are
reproduced in institutions through the “objectified knowledge” created by organizations’ administrative priorities, or
“ideological codes” (Smith 2005: 3).
5. Vast discrepancies exist in the number of residents in Ukraine. The number of foreigners in Ukraine ranges
between 270,000 documented residents and estimates of up to 7 million people by the World Bank (State Statistics
Committee 2010, Stanek and Hosnedlova, 2012). While flow data on irregular migration from Border Guards is unre-
liable, the figure of 7 million is an exaggeration since it refers to the large number of Ukrainian citizens born in other
Soviet republics who have long settled in Ukraine.
6. Human rights groups have found that more than 2,000 migrants (from third countries) have been denied
asylum procedure, and returned to Ukraine from Hungary and Slovakia under a consolidated EU–Ukraine readmission
agreement (Human Rights Watch 2011).
7. TACIS, or Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States was the EU’s aid program that
preceded the ENP in Ukraine and several other post-Soviet countries.
8. For a critical study of the technical and expert cooperation of Ukrainian authorities with EU and Polish
experts, see Follis (2012).
9. UNHCR Kyiv, personal communication, April 22, 2011. See also UNHCR (2011a).
10. UNHCR Kyiv, personal communication, April 22, 2011.
11. Individual refugees’ names, countries of origin, and other identifying information have been altered throughout
to ensure anonymity.
12. Rokada charity, personal interview, June 2, 2011.
13. Personal interview, UNHCR, May 12, 2011.
14. Personal observations, March 15, 2011.
15. Notably, UNHCR has competed with but also has increasingly worked alongside IOM. Responsible for “facil-
itating” international “migration management,” the IOM has a controversial reputation as the overseer of human rights
abuses in immigrant detention in the Global South on behalf of donor states in the Global North seeking restrictive admit-
tance polices (e.g., Georgi 2010). While much critical work looks at the IOM as the locus of power in global migration,
UNHCR’s role in the contestation and reproduction of migrating refugees’ subordination has largely been overlooked.
16. Shevel (2006, 2011) argues that enduring dissent and contention over the national question provided favorable
opportunities for international organizations to pressure states for wider social inclusion.
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Refugee Interview Respondents by Country of Origin (COI)
COI–ethnicity Years in Ukraine Status at interview
Arrival status
Afghanistan 0.5 AS ND 30 s male
Afghanistan 3 PR AS 30 s male
Afghanistan 0.5 AS R 30 s male
Afghanistan 5 ND S, M 40 s male
Afghanistan–Hazara 2 AS ND 40 s male
Afghanistan–Pashtun 1 AS TR 28 male
Afghanistan–Tajik 1.3 AS AS 20 s male
Afghan–Tajik/Pashtun 0.4 AS ND 20 s male
Afghanistan–Pashtun 0.1 AS ND 40 s male
Afghanistan–Tajik 2 AS L 20 s male
Afghanistan 2 AS ND, TR 30 s male
Afghanistan 8 ND ND 25 male
Afghanistan Pashtun 4 TR AS 20 s male
Afghanistan–Hazara 15 ND AS 30 s male
Afghanistan–Hazara 0.5 AS ND 40 s male
Angola 15 S PR 40 s male
Angola 2 S PR 40 s female
Azerbaijan 9 R VFR 40 s female
Bangladesh 20þR AS 30 s male
Cameroon–Chad 0.5 S, L S 20 s male
Cameroon–Chad .2 S S 20 s female
Cameroon 2 L S 20 s male
Cameroon 0.5 ND, AS ND 30 s male
Cameroon 1 S S, AS 20 s male
Cameroon 0.5 S, AS ND 30 s male
Cameroon 15þAS AS 30 s male
Cameroon 2 S S 20 s male
China 20 L ND 20 s male
COI–ethnicity Years in Ukraine Status at interview
Arrival status
China–Uyghur 1 L, ND ND 20 s male
Cuba 12 AS AS 40 s male
DR Congo 4 AS, RS AS 20 s male
DR Congo 3 AS, RS AS 20 s female
DR Congo 7 S S 20 s male
Ethiopia 2 R S 40 s male
Ethiopia 22 R, PR S 50 s male
Ethiopia 4 R S 50 s male
Guinea ? AS S 20a male
Guinea 1 AS TR 20 s male
Guinea 11 AS S 20 s male
Guinea Conacry 4 AS S 20 s male
Guinea Conacry 5 AS S 20 s male
Iran 8 AS AS 40 s female
Iran 23 AS AS 30 s female
Iran–Iranian 6 S AS 20 s male
Iran–Afghan/Iranian 3 AS AS 20 s male
Iraq 5 PR AS 40 s male
Iraq–Kurd 10þS S 20 s male
Iraq–Sunni Unknown S, AS S, AS 40 s m and f
Iraqi–Shiit 1 AS AS 30 s male
Ivory Coast 3 AS ND 20 s male
IvoryCoast 15 AS S 20 s male
Jordan–Palestinian 12 PR S 40 s male
Jordan–Palestinian 3 AS, PR S 30 s male
Kazakhstan 2 ND L 40 s male
Kyrgystan–Uzbek 8 AS AS 20 s female
Kyrgyzstan–Uzbek 0.2 AS AS 20 s male
Kyrgyzstan–Uzbek 0.3 AS AS 30 s m and f
Kyrgyzstan–Uzbek 15 AS AS 30 s male
Kyrgyzstan–Uzbek 18 AS VFR 40 s male
Kyrgyzstan–Uzbek 3 AS AS 40 s male
Lebanon–Palestinian 15 NR ND 50 s male
Lebanon–Palestinian 12 PR AS 40 s male
Lebanon–Palestinian 23 PR S 50 s male
Liberia 11 S, R AS 40 s male
Nigeria–Biafra 12 L ND 30 s male
Nigeria 5 AS ND 20 s male
Pakistan 6 PR S 30 s male
Pakistan 1 PR S 20 s male
Palestine 3 AS S 40 male
Palestine 20 PR AS 50 s male
Palestine OT– Palestinian 24 AS ND 50 s male
Palestine OT 3 AS S 30 male
Palestine, Gaza 22 AS S 20 s male
Russia–Chechen 2 AS ND 30 s male
Russia–Ossetian 5 AS AS 50 s male
Sierra Leon–Liberian 0.2 S S 20 s male
Somalia 2 AS ND 30 s male
COI–ethnicity Years in Ukraine Status at interview
Arrival status
Somalia 1 R AS 34 male
Somalia 3 R R, ND 22 male
Sri Lanka–Tamil 0.5 AS ND 30 s male
Sudan 1 AS S 40 s male
Sudan 2 AS S 40 s male
Sudan–Arab 7 PR S 30 s male
Sudan–Arab, Berber 0.2 AS S 40 s male
Sudan–south Sudan 8 PR S 40 s male
Syria 0.1 PR S 20 s male
Syria–Palestinian 2 AS, RS, F F 50 s female
Syria–Palestinian 14 PR L 40 s male
Tunisia 0.1 PR S 30 s male
Vietnam 12 L S 20 s male
Yemen 2 PR PR 20 s female
*Age bracket at time of interview; exact age excluded to ensure anonymity, unless voluntarily waived. “m and f”
refers to male and female, two respondents with two respondents from one household.
**Legal status or statuses upon arrival and during interview. Key: AS—asylum seeker; ND—undetermined;
L—overland unauthorized entry; R—state-granted refugee status; PR—permanent resident; RS—UNHCR statutory
refugee; S—student or business visa; TR—tourist visa; VFR—vacated asylum application.
Expert Interviews with Officials
Name Agency Position/focus
Ekaterina and director South Odessa Association of Young Lawyers Legal staff and director
Valera Viktorovich Social Service of Assistance Director of refugee programs
Lyubov Butenko Social Service of Assistance voluntary return, minors
Natalia Zayts State Migration Service Kharkiv Oblast Head
Dr. Karimi Pashat and
Christoff M.
Organization of International Students
and Citizens (Kharkov).
Mridula Ghosh East European Development Institute Director
Benjamin Barry U.S. Embassy Human Rights Unit
Max Butkevich UNHCR, Project No Borders PR officer, advocate
Natalia Oksana CAMZ Director
Fiodr Fiodrovich Shandor, Uzhorod National University Professor, adviser to EC
Mikola Toft State Migration Service, Zakarpattya oblast Head
Viktor M. SUASYL Border monitoring
Several staff Local Integration Program, UNHCR, Local staff
Natalia Gourgij, and
Rokada, Kyiv Director, and social lawyer
Lena Tatyana LIP, UNHCR, Kyiv Integration, adviser to EC
Matteini, Ignazio UNHCR, Kyiv RHQ Local integration project
Karoline Gamre UNHCR, Kyiv RHQ Resettlement chief
Ann Nguyen IOM Deputy chief of mission
Irina Pribytkova Kyiv Institute of Sociology, Soderkoping Process Faculty, migration policy expert
Dmytro Groysman Vinnitsa Human Rights Group Director
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
The crisis of borders and prisons can be seen starkly in statistics. In 2011 some 1,500 migrants died trying to enter Europe, and the United States deported nearly 400,000 and imprisoned some 2.3 million people—more than at any other time in history. International borders are increasingly militarized places embedded within domestic policing and imprisonment and entwined with expanding prison-industrial complexes. Beyond Walls and Cages offers scholarly and activist perspectives on these issues and explores how the international community can move toward a more humane future. Working at a range of geographic scales and locations, contributors examine concrete and ideological connections among prisons, migration policing and detention, border fortification, and militarization. They challenge the idea that prisons and borders create safety, security, and order, showing that they can be forms of coercive mobility that separate loved ones, disempower communities, and increase shared harms of poverty. Walls and cages can also fortify wealth and power inequalities, racism, and gender and sexual oppression. As governments increasingly rely on criminalization and violent measures of exclusion and containment, strategies for achieving change are essential. Beyond Walls and Cages develops abolitionist, no borders, and decolonial analyses and methods for social change, showing how seemingly disconnected forms of state violence are interconnected. Creating a more just and free world—whether in the Mexico-U.S. borderlands, the Morocco-Spain region, South Africa, Montana, or Philadelphia—requires that people who are most affected become central to building alternatives to global crosscurrents of criminalization and militarization.
On 8 August 2003 a few hundred activists of the Sixth Anti-racist Border Camp in Germany made their way from their tents in the Rhine meadows in Cologne to nearby Bonn. Here they demonstrated in front of the office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental organization with 127 member states and an annual budget of more than 1 billion US Dollars (USD) in 2008. Its central motto is ‘Managing Migration for the Benefit of All’ (IOM, 2008a). The demonstrators contested this. For them, IOM always acted ‘in the interests of governments and against autonomous migration and unwanted refugees’ (Anti-racist Border Camp, 2003, p. 3, translation F.G.). The rally was the finale of a 2-year campaign under the slogan ‘Stop IOM! Freedom of movement versus global migration management’ organized mainly by the Noborder Network, comprised of leftist and immigrant groups from different European countries. A day of action in October 2002 targeted the IOM offices in Berlin, Vienna, and Helsinki. During the G8 summit in Evian in May 2003 so-called anti-globalization activists demonstrated outside the IOM headquarters in Geneva, hurling stones. Police reacted with tear gas (interview No Border activist, 25.04.2009). At the same time, the NGOs (non-governmental organizations) Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) denounced IOM for violating the rights of migrants: ‘Our research and the research of colleague organizations […] has revealed a range of ongoing IOM activities that appear to obstruct, in whole or in part, the rights of the very people IOM is tasked with assisting’ (HRW, 2003, p. 3; cf. Amnesty International/Human Rights Watch, 2002).
The book critically engages with theoretical developments in international relations and security studies to develop a fresh conceptual framework for studying security.Contents 1. Politics of insecurity, technology and the political2. Security framing: the question of the meaning of security3. Displacing the spectre of the state in security studies: From referent objects to techniques of government4. Securitizing migration: Freedom from existential threats and the constitution of insecure communities5. European integration and societal insecurity6. Freedom and security in the EU: A Foucaultian view on spill-over7. Migration, securitization and the question of political community in the EU8. De-securitizing migration: Security knowledge and concepts of the political9. Conclusion: the politics of framing insecurity
Asylum seeking and the global city are two major contemporary subjects of analysis to emerge both in the literature and in public and official discourses on human rights, urban socioeconomic change and national security. Based on extensive, original ethnographic research, this book examines the situation of asylum seekers in Hong Kong and offers a narrative of their experiences related to internal and external borders, the performance of border crossing and asylum politics in the context of the global city. Hong Kong is a city with no comprehensive legislation covering refugee claims and official and public opinion is dominated by the view that the city would be flooded with illegal economic migrants were policy changes to be implemented. This book considers why Hong Kong has become a destination for asylum seekers, how asylum seekers integrate into local and global economic markets and why the illegalization of asylum seekers plays a significant role in the processes of global city formation. This book will be essential reading for academics and students involved in the study of migration; globalization and borders; research methods in criminology; social problems and urban sociology.
Of the estimated 12 million refugees in the world, more than 7 million have been confined to camps, effectively "warehoused," in some cases, for 10 years or more. Holding refugees in camps was anathema to the founders of the refugee protection regime. Today, with most refugees encamped in the less developed parts of the world, the humanitarian apparatus has been transformed into a custodial regime for innocent people. Based on rich ethnographic data, Rights in Exile exposes the gap between human rights norms and the mandates of international organisations, on the one hand, and the reality on the ground, on the other. It will be of wide interest to social scientists, and to human rights and international law scholars. Policy makers, donor governments and humanitarian organizations, especially those adopting a "rights-based" approach, will also find it an invaluable resource. But it is the refugees themselves who could benefit the most if these actors absorb its lessons and apply them. © 2005 Guglielmo Verdirame and Barbara Harrell-Bond. All rights reserved.