About this Research Topic
This Research Topic focuses on refugee resettlement and other schemes aiming to select and relocate refugees and humanitarian migrants to states willing to admit them, often labelled complementary pathways. Contrary to the right to seek asylum, such schemes are not entrenched in international law.
In the last decade, and especially in relation to displacement crises in Syria and Iraq, there has been an expansion of the number of countries and schemes aiming to resettle refugees and humanitarian migrants. Some have argued that the expansion of such schemes might be to the detriment of the global refugee protection space, as the emphasis is put on orderly movement of forcibly displaced people and, increasingly, on their potential usefulness to resettling societies, rather than on the protection needs of forced migrants resulting from their having to flee their countries of origin. Others have welcomed the increasing diversity of stakeholders supporting resettlement and complementary pathways.
Nevertheless, since 2016 there has been a dramatic decline in the number of resettlement places offered, mainly due to the current US administration's drastic reduction of its resettlement quota. The US had numerically dominated refugee resettlement for decades. The US's declining resettlement leadership has dramatic implications from the local to the global level, with respect to issues such as maintaining service provision and advocacy in a shrinking national resettlement space, the politicization of refugee protection in the US, and whether other countries can replace the US as the traditional resettlement leader.
These developments have contributed to an expansion of scholarship querying the politics of refugee resettlement from the local to the global level and from the selection of resettlement candidates to their admission by, and long-term participation in, resettling states. At issue here are questions of power distribution in refugee resettlement politics and policies; the evolution of the rationale for resettlement selection (i.e. who gets to decide and implement the resettlement selection criteria); what counts as resettlement, and whether support for resettlement is linked with declining support for the right to seek asylum and refugee rights more broadly.
This Research Topic aims to build upon this scholarship and seeks contributions addressing the following questions:
• What forms of agency are possessed by resettlement candidates and resettled refugees from their selection for resettlement to their long-term integration in resettling states, and how does this agency evolve across time and space?
• What role does vulnerability play in the selection of refugees for resettlement, and what is the role of other criteria such as potential socioeconomic contribution to resettling states?
• What contribution do non-state actors make to resettlement selection rationales and practices?
• What does global leadership mean in the context of refugee resettlement?
• What methodological concerns do we face in gathering data on resettlement and complementary pathways?
• How do resettling states, municipalities and resettlement advocates work with one another?
• What is the significance of refugee resettlement and complementary pathways within the global protection space?
• How can recent empirical developments in refugee resettlement and complementary pathways speak to well-established theories in the domain of international relations and politics?
Keywords: refugees, resettlement, humanitarianism, vulnerability, order
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