Recent International Coverage of Migration
Migration Research Center at Koç University

Migration Research Center at Koç University

International Press Reader
August 20 - 26, 2016

Flight for Life is a student project in journalism, sharing the stories of
refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ghana, Egypt and Iran.

About two weeks ago, the Guardian leaked 2,000 incident reports from Australia’s offshore detention facility for asylum seekers on the island of Nauru. The ‘Nauru Files’ reveal systematic abuse of asylum seekers, especially minors, as well as widespread self-harm and suicide attempts. The government has defended its practice of detention as a deterrent of smugglers and more asylum-seekers. Sam Hawke argues that Australia’s mismanagement is no different from the UK’s neglect of asylum seekers - both through indefinite detention in the UK and, more significantly, by denying entry and forcing them to stay in terrible conditions in camps in Greece or France.

The leaked documents have renewed the call to resettle those kept in captivity at Nauru as well as a more general restructuring of Australian immigration and asylum law in accordance with international law. On Wednesday August 17, the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea announced that the detention center on Manus island will be closed. The destiny of the 854 detainees remains unknown, except that none will be resettled in Australia.

Also on the mainland, Australia’s migration management is receiving criticism. The Australian government has a special program to attract skilled laborers since 1973 but most skilled laborers are unable to find a job in their field upon arrival - especially women. For some, the inability to work in their profession comes with a loss of identity. As migration is shifting from permanent to temporary settlement, Australia faces a new challenge to its model of citizenship-based multiculturalism. The migrants are recruited but not welcomed, pay taxes but are denied state support.

What is the future of migration and asylum in Australia? A small glimpse of hope comes from New South Wales, which will double its refugee intake and in collaboration with employes create jobs for the newcomers.


A collection of news articles, op-eds and thinkpieces on migration

Omran Daqneesh, Aylan Kurdi and the invisibility of Syrian children

The picture of Omran Daqneesh after he was saved under the rubble of his destroyed home in Aleppo has surfaced and shook the internet. The image reminds us of Aylan Kurdi, who was found dead on the Turkish shore in September 2015. The two stories show the inescapable plight of Syrian children, their lives torn by war whether they stay or leave their homes. As thousands of other Syrian children have lost their lives, have become injured and suffer from psychological trauma, Omran Daqneesh has attracted worldwide attention, becoming a symbol for those who remain invisible. But the global outrage sparked by the photographs is but temporary and people are critical it will lead to any action or change.

North Africa - More than a transit destination

As the EU attempts to limit immigration and export border management to the peripheries of Europe, many sub-Saharan migrants find themselves stuck along the North African coast. In Morocco, they live in make-shift and mobile camps until they attempt the sea crossing to Europe - or across the fences of the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Others find themselves stuck in Tripoli, where they are detained in dire circumstances. The story of a Senegalese migrant sheds light on the corruption, violence and racism that they experience on their journey, and eventually in the detention centers of Libya. The sea route is no less dangerous. 2016 has already seen more fatalities as compared to 2015. A photographer followed a team of Sea Watch volunteers during their rescue operations on the Mediterranean.

The EU not only tries to curb migration through policing its borders but also through the promotion of return migration. Since 2009, a program of the French government aids the return of Tunisian migrants by giving students and workers who agree to return home free training, internship placements and small stipends to establish their own business. While the training offers some hope for especially younger returnees, Tunisia’s rampant unemployment and a tourism industry suffering from security concerns begs for more large-scale development.

The media’s Eurocentric focus on migrants’ move up North overshadows the fact that most African migration is intercontinental. Up to 20,000 people every year take the ‘Southern Route’ to reach South Africa, deemed the Promised Land of the continent. Their stories reveal that they too fall victim to smuggling, torture and other abuses.

War on Terror’s effect on Latino migrants

Recent research has pointed out the devastating effects of the War on Terror on Latino immigrants in the U.S. Over the past fifteen years, U.S. policies and institutions have merged terrorism and immigration positing also the U.S.-Mexican border as a potential terrorist threat.

Refugee arrivals in Germany

Over the past year, Germany has become home to more than 1.1 million refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants. The migrant influx often leads to self-determined neighborhoods termed ‘arrival cities’, which may give rise to either a new creative, commercial class or a wave of tension and violence. Berlin’s Kreuzberg has been an arrival city for decades, but more recently many asylum-seekers are resettled in Hamburg, where collaboration and community input - including of the newcomers themselves - may be able to make a difference.

In Saarbruecken, young asylum-seekers receive short-term therapy where they express their emotions through art. This kind of support is not available everywhere however and many school-aged children face difficulty in accessing education due to limited spaces and a lack of trained teachers.

Refugees targeted by mafia in Greece

In Greece, aid workers warn of criminal activity in and around the camps. As the police turns a blind eye, Greek and Albanian mafia push vulnerable men and women into drug smuggling, prostitution and human trafficking.

Relativizing the 'refugee crisis'

A new blog post by Hein de Haas debunks the public perception that refugees and asylum-seekers are the biggest source of migration today. De Haas shows that rather, the share of refugees has been small and stable in recent history and that ultimately it's a matter of willpower rather than capability whether we can respond.

World Humanitarian Day

August 19 is the annual World Humanitarian Day coinciding with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad. This year, the UN-inspired day was themed 'One Humanity' and focused on the theme of global solidarity for those in need of humanitarian aid. A limited overview of events and initiatives organized on the day can be found here.



The Hague Institute for Global Justice is now accepting applications from policy experts, academics and civil society professionals to participate in the Global Governance Reform Initiative. The project focuses on migration governance and protection of vulnerable migrant groups. Experts will present findings on policy-oriented research during a workshop in the Hague on December 8 and 9, 2016. 

For more information on the Global Governance Reform Initiative as well as application guidelines, check the program website.


The Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration (ETMU) and the Association for Gender Studies in Finland (SUNS) continue to accept abstracts for workshop presentations during the Gendered Mobilities conference held on November 25 and 26, 2016. Note the bilingual nature of the conference and that workshops may be organized in English and/or Finnish. For an overview of all workshops and application guidelines, check the conference website.


'Movement on People', a comparative conference on migration, will take place on September 23 and 24 at Hamburg University. The conference has a legal focus and will bring together academics and experts on migration and refugee law in Europe and North- and Latin-America. The finalized program can be accessed here.


On April 6 and 7, the conference Heritages of Migration: Moving Stories, Objects and Home will be held at the National Museum of Immigration in Buenos Aires. The conference looks at the actors and processes that produce and reconfigure the old world in the new, and the new world in the old across the Atlantic – north and south – through constructions of heritage in material and immaterial form. For more information about the conference and application guidelines, click here.


The latest issue of New Perspectives on Turkey focuses on the impact of the Syrian refugee flow on labor relations in Turkey. Edited by Derya Özkul and Mine Eder, the journal articles details the precarious and highly securitized lives of Syrian refugees. Read more here.


You can now get free access to a large number of Taylor and Francis Online journal articles on migration. The migration collection will be open to all until the end of 2016.


Amsterdam University Press offers a unique 50% discount on more than 50 IMISCOE titles on international migration, integration and social cohesion. The offer is available until October 31st. See a full list of discounted works here.



The Migrant Solidarity Network (Göçmen Dayanışma Ağı) invites all to an open meeting at Abbasağa Park at 4 p.m. on September 4th. With this meeting, GDA hopes to remobilize the network among those working on the issue of migrants and refugees, share experiences and discuss possibilities of working and acting together.

About MiReKoç

Migration Research Center at Koç University (MiReKoc) was established in August 2004 as a grant-giving program by the joint initiation of Koç University (Istanbul) and the Foundation for Population, Migration, and Environment (PME, Zurich).

As of 2010 MiReKoc has become a fully functioning research center aimed at developing the research capacity to address migration issues in Turkey.

In addition to being an institutionalized hub for Turkey-related migration research, MiReKoc also initiates conferences, workshops, meetings and seminars aimed at engaging students, academics, bureaucrats, policymakers, stakeholders and civil society organizations (CSO).

Copyright © 2016 Migration Research Center at Koç University, All rights reserved.

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