This site uses session, functional, analytics and third-party cookies. Please click on "learn more" to read our cookies policy and decide to accept cookies during site navigation.
Other JRS Publications
This section provides access to a variety of publications from Jesuit Refugee Service and its various offices worldwide. You can find annual reports; Servir our quarterly magazine on issues affecting refugees and forcibly displaced persons and; books, research reports and other material by JRS.

No Giving Up: stories of untold journeys
Asylum seekers face uncertainty and ambiguity about their future. The experiences of the women who contributed to this booklet shed light on a disturbing reality, where asylum seekers try to secure their rights, but are confronted with a system full of hurdles and difficulties.
Download Now

Rescued – what next? Protection seekers stranded in Sicily
As the international press in 2014 focused on the flow of forced migrants reaching Sicily and Lampedusa, far less attention has been paid to what happens to those who end up staying in Sicily. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Italy, known as Centro Astalli, has offices in Rome, Trento, Vicenza, Palermo and Catania, offering a range of services. JRS teams in Sicily witness first-hand the suffering of refugees and other forced migrants struggling to survive there. This report seeks to give a voice to those who agreed to share their experience in Sicily to highlight the urgent need for changes in Italy's reception system.

This publication is also available in Italian here.

Download Now

Lives at the Southern Borders
A special report Vidas en la Frontera Sur (Lives at the Southern Borders) based on two fact-finding missions to the Spanish borders with Morocco, calls on the Spanish government and the European Union to put human rights before border security. The report and recommendations were submitted to the Spanish Ombudsman at the end of July.
Download Now

Beyond Imagination, Asylum Seekers Testify to Life in Libya

In 2009, Jesuit Refugee Service Malta published a booklet about life for asylum seekers in Libya, entitled Do they know? At the time, Gaddafi was still in power and asylum seekers and migrants were subjected to arbitrary detention, torture and xenophobic violence.

By all accounts, the post-Gaddafi era is even worse. Since Malta has very actively considered push-backs, JRS decided to issue another publication about life for asylum seekers in Libya today, so that the consequences of returning anyone there will be clear to all.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates that Libya hosts around 30,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers, as well as a huge population of migrants searching for work, who come from sub-Saharan Africa as well as Middle Eastern and other North About this booklet African countries. Many, if not most, asylum seekers consider Libya as a stepping-stone on their arduous journey to find safety in Europe.

These pages focus specifically on asylum seekers from Eastern Africa, bringing you the voices of Eritrean and Somali asylum seekers who passed through Libya in 2012 and 2013 and who were interviewed after their arrival in Malta.

Download Now

Persistent Insecurity: abuses against Central Americans in Mexico
The current context in Central America's Northern Triangle, the capabilities and weaknesses of the Mexican government, and civil society research and advocacy are all critical to understanding migration through Mexico and the alarming rates of abuse that migrants suffer. Economic and social problems in migrants' countries of origin both motivate migration and shape migrants' journeys and vulnerabilities in Mexico. The Mexican government has taken some positive steps to fulfill its obligations to protect migrants through legal and institutional safeguards, but without more robust implementation and better accountability for government officials, migrant abuse is likely to remain inexcusably high and continue to worsen, a trend shown by data from the last four years. Meanwhile, civil society has played a crucial role in improving the protection of migrants through research, reports, and advocacy that raise awareness of the serious abuses that migrants suffer and by pressuring the Mexican government and international community into action.
Download Now

From Back Door to Front Door: Forced migration routes through Macedonia to Croatia.
Brussels, 26 June 2013 – This report examines the experiences of forced migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and in Croatia. Both these countries are attempting to deal with complex border control and migration issues while also managing ever closer relations with the European Union and struggling to address domestic economic stagnation.

Within the mixed migration flows that pass through the Balkans there are a wide variety of migrant profiles, from economic migrants to asylum seekers and refugees. Yet despite their various backgrounds, forced migrants often share many experiences in common: they face the same challenges with regard to crossing borders, transiting to their country of destination safely and resolving their legal status once there. These are the experiences that JRS report hopes to illuminate.

Download Now

Protection interrupted, The Dublin Regulation's Impact on Asylum Seekers' Protection
Brussels, 4 June 2013 – Numerous refugee NGOs throughout Europe have criticised the Dublin Regulation for failing to provide asylum seekers with access to fair and efficient asylum procedures in Europe. Critical voices have long argued that to force asylum seekers to process their claim in the first country to which they entered is unfair, because more likely than not the 'first EU country of entry' would have had more to do with happenstance than with a logical choice on the part of the asylum seeker.

The Dublin Regulation is supposed to be situated within a Common European Asylum System, in which an asylum seeker can have access to the same conditions and procedures regardless of whichever EU country they are in. Sadly, this is far from the reality at hand.

The objective of the research that is at the heart of this report is to examine these issues from a particular perspective: that of the asylum seeker and migrant who is in the Dublin system. Much of the existing research on the Dublin Regulation has been done from an institutional perspective: member state ‘Dublin practices’, legal reasoning in court judgements, the quality of reception conditions and access to asylum procedures. Yet there is still much to learn from the point of the view of the people who are directly concerned with the Dublin Regulation.

This report is divided into four main parts: 1) the interview data findings, analytic conclusions and policy recommendations; 2) an assessment of EU member state Dublin practices based on the research; 3) a review of the Dublin Regulation based on case law and human rights standards; and 4) national reports from each of our 10 project partners.

Download Now

Experiences of migrants living in Morocco and Algeria
Brussels, 6 December 2011 – Since the end of 2010, dramatic changes in North Africa and the Middle East, and conflict in parts of West Africa, have had a huge impact on the region and its migratory flows. Coupled with EU external border controls, Morocco and Algeria, often considered as countries of transit, are becoming host countries. An increasing number of forced migrants are getting stuck there – unable to move either forwards to Europe or backwards to their countries of origin.

Those facing the consequences of EU border policies are primarily the migrants themselves. The hardships and risks they face in their lives are rarely, if ever, taken into account when policies directly influencing them are made. Such consequences can vary from being stuck in transition for a number of years - living with little or no rights and in sub-standard conditions, to people actually losing their lives attempting to cross into Europe in extreme conditions.

Despite the variety of reasons why migrants leave a particular country, they often share a common situation in their host country. They share commonalities in their legal status, as well as problems in accessing mainstream services and the labour market. Livelihood security has been defined as employment security, housing security and ability to solve a crisis.

Having a legal status is linked with the ability to access secure employment whilst the right to redress in a court of law plays an important role in one's ability to solve a crisis. Irregular migrants are generally regarded as second-class human beings by the local population, invisible and without a voice. The psychological resilience and level of vulnerability of individuals have a deep impact on their ability to cope in this new environment.

JRS set up the 'Observatory' project in order to get a better understanding of the human consequences of EU border and returns policies affecting North and West Africa. Through field visits, interviews with migrants themselves and other relevant stakeholders, such as service providers, JRS attempts to provide a window of awareness into the lives of people and the conditions in which they live. The hope is that such experiences will be taken into account when decisions are made and that persons being affected by policies will have their voices heard by those making the decisions.

Andrew Galea Debono LLD

Download Now

The Search: Protection and Asylum Space in Practice in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and the Philippines
This report offers a practical guide which will assist other advocates to give accurate information to asylum seekers and refugees about the realities of protection space within the region.

It covers five broad themes: protection concerns, convention obligations and domestic legal frameworks, refugee-status determination, durable solutions, and finally an outline of the realities of living in the region in relation to employment, education, healthcare and housing. Given the range of challenges, it is essential that those that work with asylum seekers and refugees know as much as possible about the asylum options available in urban areas in the capital cities of Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and Phnom Penh.

Download Now

From Deprivation to Liberty, Alternatives to detention in Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom
20 December 2011 – Detaining migrants is unnecessary because more humane non-custodial alternatives exist, according to the latest JRS report, From Deprivation to Liberty.

The report is based on in-depth interviews with 25 migrants participating in alternatives-to-detention programmes in Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. It finds that although community-based measures are clearly a step in the right direction, unless they are accompanied by appropriate legal, social and other support, migrants can be forced into destitution.
Download Now

Safe and Secure: How do Refugees Experience Europe's borders
(December 2011) This report seeks to demonstrate how refugees themselves experience the external and internal borders of the EU. Through the testimonies of refugees and texts analysing the current legal and political problems, the report highlights ways in which the EU protection system is failing, and the consequences of that failure for individuals and families.
Download Now

Europe: Becoming Vulnerable in Detention
(June 2010) This reports investigates and analyses vulnerability in detained asylum seekers and irregular migrants: both the way in which pre-existing vulnerable groups cope with detention, and the way in which detention can enable vulnerability in persons who do not otherwise possess officially recognised vulnerabilities and special needs.

In partnership with NGOs in 23 EU Member States, JRS-Europe oversaw the collection of 685 one-on-one interviews with detainees. The size and scope of the sample reveals that, despite the diversity of personal circumstances of the detainees, detention does have a common negative effect upon the persons who experience it. In addition to detainees, project partners interviewed detention centre staff and other NGOs operating within the centres, and conducted a survey of asylum and immigration laws in their respective countries. This data is included within each of the 22 national reports that are published in the full DEVAS report.

This study builds on previous reports and projects that investigated vulnerability in detention. It analyses the situation of individuals and groups that possess officially recognised special needs, such as minors, young women with children, the elderly and persons with medical illness. But this study also analyses the situation of detainees who often go unnoticed: young single men, persons without stated physical and mental health needs, and persons in prolonged detention. Most importantly, this study pushes the discussion on vulnerability and detention one step further because its results are based exclusively on the voices of detainees. Thus the understanding of vulnerability that emerges from this study characterises the experiences of detainees as they told it themselves.

Download Now

Destitution: A European Wide Phenomenon, A Summary
(March 2010) Destitution is experienced by a wide variety of migrants with different legal backgrounds. The analysis among migrants in the selected countries identified diverse groups of migrants who have become victims of destitution. This can include migrants in the possession of residence rights.

This report describes the social and legal situation of forced migrants who came from countries outside the European Union1 and are living in destitution in the following EU Member States: Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Annexes contain summaries of the situation in France, Slovenia and Ukraine.

The basis for the report is a definition of destitution as a situation of lack of means to meet basic needs such as shelter, food, health or education as a consequence of a State‘s policy which excludes certain migrants from enjoying basic rights and receiving official assistance or severely limits their access to such assistance and, simultaneously, deprives them of any effective opportunity to improve that situation, resulting in a continuing denial of the dignity of the person.

The report gives an insight into the meaning of destitution and its effects on migrants who suffer from it.

Download Now

Destitution: A European Wide Phenomenon
(March 2010) Destitution is experienced by a wide variety of migrants with different legal backgrounds. The analysis among migrants in the selected countries identified diverse groups of migrants who have become victims of destitution. This can include migrants in the possession of residence rights.

This report describes the social and legal situation of forced migrants who came from countries outside the European Union and are living in destitution in the following EU Member States: Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Annexes contain summaries of the situation in France, Slovenia and Ukraine.

The basis for the report is a definition of destitution as a situation of lack of means to meet basic needs such as shelter, food, health or education as a consequence of a State‘s policy which excludes certain migrants from enjoying basic rights and receiving official assistance or severely limits their access to such assistance and, simultaneously, deprives them of any effective opportunity to improve that situation, resulting in a continuing denial of the dignity of the person.

The report gives an insight into the meaning of destitution and its effects on migrants who suffer from it.

Download Now

JRS UK Response to Secure Borders, Safe Haven: Integration with Diversity in Modern Britain
(2002) In this paper, JRS responds to the UK government White Paper Secure Borders, Safe Haven: Integration with Diversity in Modern. The paper welcomes the positive aspects of the document, including the more positive use of language regarding the benefits of migration. Moreover, it makes specific recommendations to increase levels to improve protection provided to asylum seekers in the country.

Download Now

Malta: Do They Know?
(December 2009) Do They Know? is a collection of testimonies from asylum seekers who were granted protection in Malta, highlighting their experiences of life there. Published by JRS Malta to coincide with International Migrants' Day 2009, the testimonies reveal the unthinkable hardship many migrants face in Libya, which is almost an obligatory transit country for sub-Saharan Africans fleeing widespread violence and human rights violations in their countries

Download Now

Untitled: Tenure Insecurity and Inequality in the Cambodian Land Sector
(2009) This report, by JRS Cambodia, the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) and Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia (BABSEA), documents evidence of forced displacement caused by the World-Bank-supported Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP).

Despite having legitimate rights to the land under Cambodian law, thousands of families residing around Phnom Penh's Boeung Kak Lake were denied titles when the area was adjudicated by LMAP in January 2007, the same month that a well-connected developer acquired a legally dubious 99-year lease over the area. Residents have since been subjected to intimidation and pressure to leave their homes by the developer and local officials. So far, an estimated 900 families have been evicted, with more than 3,000 families due to face the same fate.

The report cites numerous flaws in the LMAP, including a failure to issue titles to vulnerable households in accordance with legal procedures, ineffective and corrupt dispute-resolution mechanisms, and a lack of essential public awareness campaigns and legal aid programmes.

Evictions and forcible confiscation of land rank as one of Cambodia's most pervasive human rights problems. In Phnom Penh alone, approximately 133,000 residents, or 10 percent of the city's population of over 1.3 million have been evicted since 1990.

Download Now

Dublin II: A summary of JRS experiences in Europe
(October 2008) This document offers is a summary of JRS’ experiences with the Dublin Regulation in Europe.

Questionnaires were sent to JRS offices in Belgium (BE), Germany (DE), Italy (IT), Romania (RO), Slovenia (SI) and Sweden (SE) because of their regular contact with asylum seekers who experience the consequences of the regulation’s implementation.

Download Now

Administrative Detention of Asylum Seekers and Illegally Staying Third Country Nationals in the 10 New Member States of the EU
A Summary

(October 2007) Across Europe, at any given moment, thousands of foreigners are detained while they await removal or a final decision on their asylum application. The 10 Member States that acceded to the EU on 1 May, 2004, most of whom are now responsible for policing a large part of the external borders of the Union, are no exception.

NGOs working in the area of immigration and asylum have often questioned the widespread use of detention primarily because of the human rights concerns it raises, but also because of its effects on the asylum procedures, the conditions in which detainees are held, the duration of detention, the lack of effective access to legal remedies to challenge detention and, not least, because of the great suffering it causes.

The aim of the project, of which this report is an essential element, is to support civil society in the Member States, which acceded to the EU on 1 May 2004 by creating and strengthening a sustainable network of civil society actors concerning asylum seekers and illegally staying third-country nationals in administrative detention across those 10 new EU Member States. The project was implemented by 10 partners4, one from each of the 10 new Member States of the EU. All are NGOs active in the field of immigration and asylum in their own countries, most with particular expertise in the area of administrative detention.

Between February and July 2007, each partner conducted research in one Member State. The research focused exclusively on the situation of asylum seekers and illegally staying third country nationals deprived of their liberty for reasons other than conviction by a court for a violation of penal/criminal law in the 10 new Member States of the EU7.

The partners examined various areas relating to the administrative detention of these categories, particularly: national law regulating administrative detention of asylum seekers and illegally staying third country nationals; conditions in one or more detention centres in use; best practice in this area and civil society activities with and for detained migrants. This allowed for increased public awareness and active civil society citizenship at national level. The information collected in the national reports is compiled and analysed in this Regional Report.

The research covers detention conditions in 30 detention premises/facilities spread across the 10 new Member States: two in Estonia, one in Latvia and one in Lithuania, on the North-Eastern border; six in Poland, two in Slovakia, four in Hungary and one in Slovenia, on the Eastern border; five in Cyprus on the South-Eastern border; three in Malta on the Southern border; and five in the Czech Republic.

The report is divided into four parts: the first contains the 10 national reports; the second outlines EU immigration and asylum law and policy, with particular reference to detention; the third part examines the use of detention in the 10 new Member States, summarising the main findings of the research conducted in each state and highlighting best practice; the last part focuses on civil society activity in the area of administrative detention in the 10 new Member States.

Download Now

Administrative Detention of Asylum Seekers and Illegally Staying Third Country Nationals in the 10 New Member States of the EU
A comparative report of how migrants and asylum seekers are detained in the countries that joined the EU in 2004. Published in 2007 by JRS Malta. 
Download Now

Children in Immigration Detention Position Paper
(November 2007) This Position Paper produced by the International Detention Coalition, of which JRS is a founding member, analyzes the international legal framework on immigration in general and specifically as it relates to children, and examines its compatibility with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other international norms. It considers alternatives to detention that are being, or could be, utilised by states, and concludes that immigration detention of children is only compatible with international law if certain criteria are met, particularly the criterion of use only as a measure of last resort. It argues that there are almost no circumstances in which alternatives are unavailable to states, and that therefore it cannot be classified as a measure of last resort, rendering it incompatible with international law, other than in rare exceptional cases.
Download Now

Europe: Destitute forced migrants, we're dying silent

(May 2007) Destitution is experienced by a wide variety of migrants with different legal backgrounds. The analysis among migrants in the selected countries identified extremely diverse groups of migrants who have become victims of destitution. This can include migrants in the possession of residence rights. Roughly, there are three categories of destitute migrants: asylum seekers in the appeals phase (either with or without residence rights), rejected asylum seekers and irregular migrants.

The report gives an insight into the meaning of destitution and its effects on migrants who find themselves in such a situation. In particular the report addresses the situation of the forcibly displaced who are forced into destitution. First hand information is provided by those who fell victim to destitution, as well as by NGOs and organisations active in this area

Download Now

Democratic Republic of Congo: Understanding the Phenomenon of Child Soldiers
(February 2007) The study, undertaken during December 2006, was based on interviews with 128 former child soldiers living in a JRS reception centre in Uvira in South Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). All of those who participated in the study were young boys, on average 12 years old at the time of their recruitment and their 'term of service' approximately two and half years.

The children surveyed were engaged as soldiers, couriers and cooks. The JRS centre assists them to re-integrate into civilian life, helping them return to school or undertake vocational training. Its also assists them in overcoming the trauma they have suffered before returning to their families and communities of origin.

This data enables JRS to appreciate the difficulties faced by these children as they seek to restart their lives. For instance the absence of girls in the study indicates the inadequate facilitates for their demobilisation. There is a desperate need for funding to construct girl-only centres. Many of these girls have suffered terrible abuses, often being forced to act as sex slaves.

Although many stated they voluntarily enrolled as child soldiers, when they were questioned about the circumstances surrounding their recruitment, one discovers that it was poverty, joblessness and appalling family circumstances which pushed them to join armed groups.
Download Now

Broken Promises: Follow-up of the application of international recomendations on forced displacement in Colombia 2004-2005
(December 2005) This document analyses the situation of forced displaced in Colombia and the failure of the government to protect its population.

The study presents a summary of existing diagnoses on forced displacement along with an initial analysis on the evolution of the regulatory and institutional framework. The six chapters that follow refer to the different phases of forced displacement and the rights of the victims.

At the end of this report, conclusions and recommendations are presented for the UN Secretary-General's Representative.

Download Now

An inquiry into the reluctance of the Rwandan refugee community to repatriate
By Dawson Williams

(August 2004) The Zambian Ministry of Home Affairs and UNHCR have made concerted efforts to convince the Rwandan refugee community in Zambia to repatriate. Rwanda has arranged tripartite agreements with UNHCR and the various countries who continue to host Rwandan refugees. One such tripartite agreement between Zambia, Rwanda and UNHCR was reached in January 2003. Since that time, of a population of approximately 5,000, only 125 Rwandans have elected to repatriate.

After the tripartite agreement was reached, Rwandan volunteers were encouraged to visit Rwanda for a go-and-see. In theory, the Rwandans would return to Zambia, report favorably on the conditions in Rwanda, and convince the refugees that return is both safe and superior to remaining in asylum.

As it turned out, very few Rwandans volunteered for the go-and-see. One person who did volunteer was told that he could not participate because his name was found on a list of those to be imprisoned by the Rwandan government.2 Ultimately, only two Rwandan refugees participated in the program. Their report of the situation in Rwanda, while positive, was not well received by the remainder of the Rwandan refugee community in Zambia.

This project was undertaken in an effort to determine the reasons why Rwandans are reluctant to repatriate. The position of those advocating repatriation will be compared to those who are unwilling to return. Information has been gleaned from official statements as well as unofficial interviews.

Download Now

Six months after the official closure of the IDP camps, JRS Assessment of the IDP Return Process in Liberia
By Renaud de Villaine

(November 2006) In this report, JRS analyses the return process for the internally displaced population (IDP) in Lofa and Bomi counties, Liberia.

The report looks at the situation of the IDPs remaining in the camps after they were officially closed in April 2006, that of the returnees and draws some lessons for future repatriation programmes.

The report finds that the majority of the population suffered from nutritional problems in part due to how the return programme was organised. The IDPs in particular suffered from the lack of agricultural tools and seeds in the assistance packs provided by the UN refugee agency to help them return home. The distribution of tools and seeds by humanitarian organisations has often been too late, after the cultivation season has started.

In the long-term, the study states that only an integrated global strategy will put an end to malnutrition in Liberia. These include job opportunities, more efficient agricultural techniques and access to basic services such as drinking water and sanitation systems, as well as access to higher quality education.
Download Now

Comments on the EU Commission Communication, towards more accessible, equitable and managed asylum systems
(September 2003) Comments on the EU Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament towards more accessible, equitable and managed asylum systems (COM(2003) 315 final)

Download Now

The Current Situation of Internally Displaced Persons in Kenya
(March 2001)

by Prisca Mbura Kamungi, Researcher for JRS-funded research about internally displaced people in Kenya found that 90 per cent of respondents displaced by tribal land clashes feared to return home due to ongoing hostility.
Download Now

Illegal in Germany: summary of the findings of the research project on the life situation of ‘illegal’ migrants in Leipzig
(June 1999) The report aims to relate two ‘secret worlds’ to one another which for outsiders are usually strictly separate, thus making a unified picture of them: the world of the ‘illegals’ and their supporter networks on the one hand, and the world of the institutions dealing with them on the other. For the author a number of wide-ranging obligations result from this separation as regards protection of data, persons and confidentiality of which interviewees have been given assurance. This in turn will presumably cause the reader to question the credibility of the report: is what is stated here in fact an apposite picture of reality?

The most important means of ensuring the visibility and transparency of these ‘secret worlds’ appeared to the author to be the detailed, if anonymous, quotes of his interviewees in the research report itself. They provide the best evidence of the reasons and motivations prompting a growing number of people to disregard laws – whether in that they do something which is forbidden or fail to do something which is obligatory.

These quotes are also meaningful because they are the words of those who scarcely have a chance to express their view of things otherwise. In the author’s view the contrast between these statements and the ‘public’ and ‘official’ declarations on the same subject make apparent why many of the measures adopted hitherto in this area either produce poor results or have side-effects which can be in no-one’s interest. This clarity is in its turn an important pre-requisite for the beginning of a comprehensive discussion on this complex of problems including all of the relevant social groups, which reflects the many facets appropriate to the material and is orientated toward a search for solutions.

Download Now

In a Twilight World – Undocumented Migrants in the United Kingdom
(June 1999) In the course of its work worldwide the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has come to realise the scope of the problems faced by migrants without documents, also called sans papiers. The focus of this study, part of a European project encompassing field study in the UK, Germany and Spain, is on how undocumented people cope with the social, legal and political everyday problems in their lives.

The aim is to provide insight into the specific experience of the undocumented at the "local" level in the UK and provide the material for a comparative European approach. On the basis of the analysis of the information gathered, it is intended to draw up guidelines for a constructive lobby policy in support of the human rights of migrants without legal status.

Download Now

Temporary protection in Australia
(October 1999)

by Penelope Mathew, Researcher for JRS and Senior Lecturer in Law, the Australian National University, Canberra,

Through an examination of the history of the concept of temporary protection, the relevant conclusions adopted by the Executive Committee of the Programme of the UNHCR, and the writings of jurists, this position paper tackles questions such as situations of mass influx of asylum-seekers or the right to apply for determination of refugee status. The relationship of temporary protection to the Refugee Convention; the relationship between cessation of temporary protection and cessation of refugee status; and the relationship between cessation of temporary protection and the durable solution of voluntary repatriation are analysed. The provisions of the Temporary Safe Havens Act and associated regulations are set out and critiqued. Key problems with the Act and regulations are identified. It is recommended that the Australian government ensure that persons protected under the rubric of temporary safe haven be permitted to apply for refugee status and that the criteria for refusal and cancellation of temporary safe haven visas be amended. It is also recommended that alternative forms of accommodation for persons sheltered under the rubric of temporary safe haven be pursued; that they be permitted to work without restriction; and that the encouragement of voluntary repatriation with financial incentives be balanced with an assessment of and information as to whether a change of a fundamental, stable and durable nature has occurred in the country of origin
Download Now

Haitian migrant workers in the Dominican Republic: Their protection by international law
by Katrin Gerdsmeier. Finished. Shared with ILO, HRW and JRS Dominican Republic people, who published it in Spanish in "Estudios Sociales", n.118, October-December 1999.

In the light of the exploitation and mistreatment faced by Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic, JRS considered it useful to give a legal explanation of the rights Haitians are granted by international law. The purpose of the paper is a double one: First, as a working tool for NGOs working to protect and promote the rights of Haitians in the Dominican Republic, to offer all Haitians a basic human rights education. Secondly, the findings of the paper might help those who want to make a complaint concerning the violation of their human rights. Part C of the paper explains the relevant procedures established by international law.

Download Now

Refugee status determination practices in the Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia
by Michael Alexander (1999)

Published in the International Journal of Refugee Law, Volume 11, Number 2, 1999. This article examines the practice of refugee status determination as conducted by UNHCR, looking particularly at UNHCR’s practice in a number of Asian countries. Although the practice differs from one office to another, the practice is found to be generally deficient when assessed in the light of international human rights law, and by comparison with the practices of many governments. In some respects, the standards which UNHCR lays down for governments are not complied with in the practices of UNHCR itself.

The author argues that international human rights law now prescribes standards for refugee status determination, and that UNHCR is bound to comply with these standards. The article further points out that there have been considerable advances in administrative law systems in many countries in recent years, based on the need for governments to be open and accountable to the people they serve. These advances have had considerable impact on refugee status determination processes in many countries, but appear to have made little impact on UNHCR. The article argues that UNHCR’s own refugee status determination process needs a major overhaul. In line with its responsibility (and current priority) of promoting refugee law to governments, UNHCR should, in its own practice, be providing a model for all governments to aspire to.

Download Now

Outside the Protection of the Law: The Situation of Irregular Migrants in Europe

(June 1999)

Synthesis report on irregular migrants in Germany, Spain and the UK

The desire to break the silence and to understand better the complex problem of irregular migration in Europe led JRS to commission three country studies on illegal migration. The countries chosen for examination were the UK, Germany and Spain. They are intended to provide abroad view of the problem of illegality across countries with diverse migration histories. Each of these offers detailed insights into the situation of irregular migrants in these countries, gleaned from many hours of interviewing irregular migrants and those who provide assistance to them.

This synthesis report brings together the findings of these national reports. It is animated by three major aims, to:

  1. provide an English summary of the national reports, written originally in English, Spanish and German respectively.
  2. draw out some common themes from the national studies that are likely to be applicable across all European Union countries.
  3. give a number of recommendations for policy responses towards illegal migrants at European level.

The policies advocated in the report are intended to form the basis of humane and rights-respecting responses by European governments to the phenomenon of illegal migration.

The research on Germany "Illegals in Deutschland", was written by Joerg Alt ( He has published his research with "von Loeper Literaturverlag", 1999. This book can be obtained via bookshops or at; the english summary of the book: Alt, J. (1999) Illegals in Germany. English translation of the Executive Summary of the German research can be obtained from:

The Spanish research has been published by the University of Deusto, Human Rights series vol.4, 1999. "Los inmigrantes irregulares en España".

The full text of the study on irregular migrants in the UK can be obtained clicking here, Anderson, P. (1999). In a Twilight World - Undocumented Migrants in the UK.

Download Now

JRS experience in Bukavu (Democratic Republic of Congo) 1994-1996
(1999) Reflections on the events during the exile of the Rwandans in refugee camps in eastern Congo and the dismantlement in October 1996 of their settlements, due to the war in the Congo (then Zaire). Experiences, humanitarian dilemmas, testimonies, are all dealt from a human and Christian perspective.

This document is available here in French. A summary of these reflections has also been published in Spanish in "Politica Exterior", July-August 2000, "Los refugiados en los Grandes Lagos".
Download Now