The politics of migration, displacement and belonging among Afghans migrants and refugees in Europe and North America
Our research on Afghan experiences of displacement and migration focuses in the following issues: the politics of the migration, asylum and resettlement of Afghans in Europe and North America; Afghan journeys and migration into Europe and the engagement of recently arrived Afghans in Europe for peacebuilding and development in Afghanistan. We aim to examine the situate of the complex migration histories of Afghans who have recently migrated from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan within debates around the categorisation, intersectionality and development in migration.
Afghanistan has the second largest refugee population globally, around 2.7 million refugees according to UNHCR. Recent migration trends, eclipsed by the Syrian humanitarian crisis, point to two new trends: that increasingly more Afghans who had been living in Iran and Pakistan for many years, if not all their lives, are migrating out of the region. Secondly, Afghan middle classes are also leaving Afghanistan due to insecurity. In addition, the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan has both contributed to refugee movements and has created a crisis of internal displacement exacerbated by refugee returns and deportations.
Yet, Afghan migration, particularly the recent displacement and migration trends, is understudied. Our research on the histories, journeys and experiences of Afghans in Turkey and Greece thus addresses an important geographical gap in research on Afghan migration and contributes to migration policy in its conceptualisation on migrant journeys, migrant decision making processes and categorisation of different forms and migration and displacement that challenge dominant policy discourses.
Based on this research, we are developing a research agenda that looks at the treatment of Afghans in Western countries and its consequences for development and peacebuilding in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is one of the least peaceful and developed nations in the world. We are interested understanding how, given their migration histories and reception conditions in Europe, view their relationship to Afghanistan and their prospects for contributing to bringing about peace and prosperity to the country. We aim to engage with European policies on Afghan asylum, migration and development.
Refugee resettlement: politics, practices, rhetoric
This project explores resettlement in countries of destination as well in those which host large numbers of forcibly displaced persons. Drawing evidence from a select group of case-studies, we analyse the ways in which the politics of resettlement are translated on the ground through the practices and narratives of the staff of intermediary organisations such as UNHCR, IOM and the NGOs involved in resettlement; and government officials as well as their main respective donor governments. Using decolonising methodologies, we also aim to study the intertwined narratives, storytelling and rhetoric about resettlement of the women and men who have been forcibly displaced.
Managing the migration crisis? Undocumented migrants and refugees at Europe’s southern border
Over recent years, hundreds of thousands of people have crossed the Mediterranean to Italy as part of what has come to be known as Europe’s ‘migration crisis’. An intensification of controls on international population movements has taken place both at sea and after arrival. This project seeks to better understand what the impact of attempts by EU institutions and national governments to manage the crisis has been on migrants’ status and journeys. It serves to document the ongoing crisis through the experiences of newly arrived migrants and refugees.