SOC383H1: Lecture 2: Women in Flight September 20
For Lecture 2 and 3 (September 27) we will address the following questions
1- Who is a refugee?
2- What do we know about refugees? How do we know?
3- What causes refugee flows?
4- Responses: refugee camps
5- What happens to women?
6- Resettlement in Canada
What motivates women to migrate,move?
How do they get into Canada?
How is their life in Canada after getting in?
1. What is the definition of a refugee? See Boyd reading.
Voluntary migration v.s. involuntary migration=usually refer to trafficking
Voluntary as individual has deliberate decision making when migrating
Displaced ppl: ppl who are fleeing due to natural disasters or mostly the
warfare, genocide... The displacement usually refer to ppl who
cannot return to original country.
Internally displaced:ppl who have fled their homes but remain within the border
of their countries
1.Who is refugee?
According to the UN 1951 convention:
A refugee is a person who…
"... owing to well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion,
nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is
outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is
unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country ....”
Reflects an incompatibility btw the applicant and their country of origin
143 countries have signed
“Refugee” can have broad meaning
a) UN 1951 convention
b) those in “refugee like” conditions
c) IDP - internally displaced ppl, ppl on move internally
d) Refugee claimant/asylum seeker, somebody arriving the countrys
border or inside the country, seeking shelter seeks formal
recognition of their status and claim to be refugee,
1 What constitutes protection? What constitutes persecution?
PROTECTION: Governments are responsible for enforcing a country's laws.
May be unable or unwilling to do so, often during a conflict or civil unrest
„Unwilling‟- when civil war based on ethnicity, govt try to prosecute not state
dominated ethics, e.g. Roma's like jepys originate form India,
move to east eu then spread in eu, being prosecuted and subject of
selection attention, being object of persecution in WWII
Each case handled individually coz not all romas are being prosecuted and
some being middle class. So donot classify a group of pop as refugee but handle
each refugee claimer individually ESP the primary claimer
PERSECUTION: What constitutes persecution is debated
a) state-sponsored & focused on individuals, e.g one religion
country prosecute citizens with other religious
b) widespread social practices & attitudes may also be
grounds for persecution ; failure to conform what's socially
accepted behaviors e.g. Homosexuals in some country that
recognize heterosexual as norm; women refuse to dress in
certain way,or not being submissive so at risk of being
Gender-based prosecution: refers to form of harm that are regularly experienced
by females and are directly at them b/c of their sex
UNHCR= UN high commissioner for refugee
2. What do we know about refugees?
Population of concern for UNHCR
35 million % in 2011
Refugees 29.4 (17.1 UNHCR)
Asylum seekers 2.5
IDPs (protected) 43.7
Returned IDPs 9.2
Returned refugees 1.5
2 Where are they concentrated? Is the size big or small? Explain? What is the
representation of women among this population? Why?
Half are women because the source of refugees are countries of unrest like
Under civil war,hence, men are either in the army or recruited fighting against
army. So, women flee under unrest. Often the exact refugee stat is hard to
collect because they flee out to neighboring country and go back after unrest
35milion ppl in 2011 deemed to
fall under UNHCR mandate
Where concentrated and why?
- 10.6 mil in Africa
-13.6 mil in Asia
- 1.4 mil in europe
-3.9 mil in latin and C. America
-3,900 in N. America
-2,500 in Oceana
- 7,200mil in other/stateless
3. What are the causes of people in flight?
Rooted in geopolitical structure –nation-state
What is a nation?
Political expression of the nation(many forms)
Because of duality in nation, states contain the potential for creation of new
states – 3 possiblities
A) multinational nation state
B) nation state
Tensions in the nation-state model yield 3 sources of refugee production:
3 a)The suppressions of national identities in multi-nation states; Conflict of
“identities” and power
(1) Create a supra-national identity
(2) Create a national identity centered on the dominant group
(3) Ethnic cleansing
b) Disagreements over the organization of the state and the economy
Arab Spring in March 2010
c) State implosion
Ethnic conflict in Rwanda: example of multi- nations/ethics state
3clans- Tutsi, Hutu and Twa
1884: colonized by Germany
1919: colonized by Belgium
1991: Rwanda revolution
1961: independence,one of 3 major tribes took control of the country but all
fought be gain/ remain inb power
What is a failed state?- state implosion
- no sitting government in control;
- no operative justice system;
- crumbling infrastructure without resources to maintain it;
- lack of social services – schooling, organized medical care;
- primitive internal markets, virtually no exports;
- banking and monetary systems that have become worthless
4) What happens after flight?
What are the needs? What are the challenges and struggles?
Relief work (UNHCR, Red Cross, etc):
Cooking supplies, stove/oven;
Clean Water; and
4 Medical Supplies
Where do regugees go ?
Rural, urban and UNHCR camps
In 2009, 59% urban 30%camps
Three outcomes for people in flight
1) Preferred solution: voluntary repatriation (eg return)
2) Integration in local host country
3) Resettlement to third country (eg Canada)
What happens to women?
Are among the most vulnerable;
1) poor resources (gender stratification in origin countries; what level of
education the wome have) poor countries always hav disproportionate
resource given to women compare to man, sometimes may not be ruled in law
but parents chose to put more resource for son who is expected to incur more
return I future
2) little physical protection - absent males & poor camp design;
3) also denied full participation in decision making; access to food distribution;
4) may lack proper documentation that increases denied resettlement; and
5) rape; abduction; bartering sex
Gender issues are central to who gets resettled to Canada
- Women and girls are atrdeast 50% of refugee pop - higher in camps
-Under-represented in 3 country settlements
Why? 2 reasons
1) Selection from abroad, suitability, adaptability issues
2) Who gets to Canada as claimant? Women not as likely - gender norms
5 Lecture 3, 27 September 2012
System hierarchy usually refer to higher statues man and lower statues women
Refugee- informal defn as ppl in flight, informal migrants; administrative defn
as list of categories UHHCR recognizes;formal defn as appears in1954
convention used in refugee deter nation process
Major general questions for September 27, 2012:
How is the process of resettlement different for women and men who are “in
flight?” What happens to women in camps in terms of resettlement?
Three “options” for people in camps. which does UNHCR and many countries
In refugee camps,
are among the most vulnerable;
1)poor resource (gender stratification in origin country), resources given to man
and so man are more likely educated, women in camp are often under-educated
or not educated, but education is important as it gives ppl the mastery over
2)little physical protection-absent males (protection from brother to sis, father to
daughter, husband to wife) &poor camp design(hot weather and girls being
3) also denied full participation in decision making ;access to food distribution
4)may lack proper documentation that increase denied resettlement
5)rape,abductionand used as "wife";bartering sex; Www.
3 options for ppl In refugee camps,
1)preferred solution : voluntary repatrition(eg return); "home" this notion of
identity is very powerful, a spot u know society, neighbors, family, no need to
struggle,powerful drawback for ppl