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Concept: Refugee


Does naturalization cause better political integration of immigrants into the host society? Despite heated debates about citizenship policy, there exists almost no evidence that isolates the independent effect of naturalization from the nonrandom selection into naturalization. We provide new evidence from a natural experiment in Switzerland, where some municipalities used referendums as the mechanism to decide naturalization requests. Balance checks suggest that for close naturalization referendums, which are decided by just a few votes, the naturalization decision is as good as random, so that narrowly rejected and narrowly approved immigrant applicants are similar on all confounding characteristics. This allows us to remove selection effects and obtain unbiased estimates of the long-term impacts of citizenship. Our study shows that for the immigrants who faced close referendums, naturalization considerably improved their political integration, including increases in formal political participation, political knowledge, and political efficacy.

Concepts: Causality, Effectiveness, Law, Experiment, Metaphysics, France, Refugee, Political science


BACKGROUND: Over the past decade, there has been growing interest within ethnobiology in the knowledge and practices of migrating people. Within this, scholars have given relatively less attention to displaced people and refugees: to the loss, maintenance, and adaptation of refugees' ethnobiological knowledge, and to its significance for refugees' wellbeing. This study focuses on cosmetics and remedies used to heal skin afflictions that are traditionally used by Sahrawi refugees displaced in South Western Algerian refugee camps. METHODS: The research methods included a structured survey carried out with 37 refugee households, semi-structured interviews with 77 refugees, 24 retrospective interviews with refugees and other knowledgeable informants, and a voucher specimen collection of the plants and products cited. RESULTS: We recorded the use of 55 plant species, nine animal species, and six mineral products used within the three main use categories discussed in this paper: 1) Remedies for health issues that are typical of the desert environment where the Sahrawi once lived as nomads and now live as refugees (e.g. eye afflictions); 2) Remedies for wounds that are influenced by the Sahrawi’s recent history of guerrilla warfare; and 3) Cosmetics and products used for body care, decoration and perfuming (e.g. hair care, teeth cleansing, henna use) and for aromatizing the air inside of tents and which are widely used in everyday life and social practices. CONCLUSIONS: We discuss the changes that have occurred in the patterns of use and procurement of these products with exile and sedentarization in refugee camps, and conclude that refugees are not simply passive recipients of national and international aid, but rather struggle to maintain and recover their traditional ethnobiological practices in exile. Finally, we suggest further research into the ethnobiological practices and knowledge of displaced populations.

Concepts: Wound healing, Internally displaced person, Refugee, Vietnam War, Algeria, Western Sahara, Displaced person, Polisario Front


Refugees and internally displaced persons who are affected by armed-conflict are at increased vulnerability to some forms of sexual violence or other types of gender-based violence. A validated, brief and easy-to-administer screening tool will help service providers identify GBV survivors and refer them to appropriate GBV services. To date, no such GBV screening tool exists. We developed the 7-item ASIST-GBV screening tool from qualitative research that included individual interviews and focus groups with GBV refugee and IDP survivors. This study presents the psychometric properties of the ASIST-GBV with female refugees living in Ethiopia and IDPs in Colombia.

Concepts: Focus group, Colombia, Internally displaced person, Refugee, Violence against women, Displaced person, Darfur, Forced migration


To determine current status, areas for improvement and effect of conflict on infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices among internally displaced persons (IDP) in eastern Ukraine.

Concepts: Internally displaced person, Refugee, Displaced person, Forced migration, Persecution


In 2015, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees accommodated over 15 million refugees, mostly in refugee camps in developing countries. The World Food Program provided these refugees with food aid, in cash or in kind. Refugees' impacts on host countries are controversial and little understood. This unique study analyzes the economic impacts of refugees on host-country economies within a 10-km radius of three Congolese refugee camps in Rwanda. Simulations using Monte Carlo methods reveal that cash aid to refugees creates significant positive income spillovers to host-country businesses and households. An additional adult refugee receiving cash aid increases annual real income in the local economy by $205 to $253, significantly more than the $120-$126 in aid each refugee receives. Trade between the local economy and the rest of Rwanda increases by $49 to $55. The impacts are lower for in-kind food aid, a finding relevant to development aid generally.

Concepts: Economics, Sustainability, United Nations, Refugee, Economic development, Economy, Development aid, World Food Programme


Climate change-related hazards and disasters, known to adversely impact physical and mental health outcomes, are also expected to result in human migration above current levels. Environmentally-motivated migration and displacement may lead to the disruption of existing social ties, with potentially adverse consequences for mobile populations as well as their family members who remain in places of origin. We propose that the disruption of social ties is a key mechanism by which climate-related migration may negatively impact mental health, in particular. Existing social ties may provide social and material resources that buffer mental health stressors related to both prolonged and acute climate events. Preparation for such events may also strengthen these same ties and protect mental health. Communities may leverage social ties, first to mitigate climate change, and second, to adapt and rebuild post-disaster in communities of origin. Additionally, social ties can inform migration decisions and destinations. For example, scholars have found that the drought-motivated adaptive migration of West African Fulbe herders only occurred because of the long-term development of social networks between migrants and non-migrants through trade and seasonal grazing. On the other hand, social ties do not always benefit mental health. Some migrants, including those from poor regions or communities with no formal safety net, may face considerable burden to provide financial and emotional resources to family members who remain in countries of origin. In destination communities, migrants often face significant social marginalization. Therefore, policies and programs that aim to maintain ongoing social ties among migrants and their family and community members may be critically important in efforts to enhance population resilience and adaptation to climate change and to improve mental health outcomes. Several online platforms, like Refugee Start Force, serve to integrate refugees by connecting migrants directly to people and services in destination communities. These efforts may increasingly draw upon novel technologies to support and maintain social networks in the context of population mobility due to climatic and other factors.

Concepts: Demography, Population, Climate, Sociology, Climate change, Immigration, Human migration, Refugee


Since its inception in 2010, the Arab Spring has evolved into a situation of violent conflict in many countries, leading to high levels of migration from the affected region. Given the social impact of the large number of individuals applying for asylum across Europe in 2015, it is important to study who these persons are in terms of their skills, motivations, and intentions. DiPAS (Displaced Persons in Austria Survey) aims to uncover the socio-demographic characteristics of the persons seeking refuge who arrived in Austria in 2015, mainly originating from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Particular focus is on human capital, attitudes and values. This survey, the first of its kind in Austria and possibly in Europe, was carried out among adult displaced persons, mostly residing in Vienna, yielding 514 completed interviews. Information gathered on spouses and children allows for the analysis of 972 persons living in Austria, and of further 419 partners and children abroad. Results indicate that the surveyed population comprised mainly young families with children, particularly those coming from Syria and Iraq. Their educational level is high compared with the average level in their country of origin. A vast majority of respondents are Muslims, rating their religiosity at medium levels. Judging from stated attitudes towards gender equity, interviewed men seem to have more liberal attitudes than their compatriots. The majority of respondents do not intend to return to their home countries, mostly because of the perception of permanent threat. DiPAS provides data for political decision-making and the on-going societal dialogue. Its findings can help to inform assessments about the integration potential of the displaced population into the host society. In addition, the applied methodological technique and experiences during the fieldwork provide valuable insights on sampling asylum seekers and refugees in the current European context.

Concepts: Europe, Canada, Turkey, Internally displaced person, Refugee, Jordan, Displaced person, Right of asylum


Finklestein, M., Laufer, A. & Solomon, Z. (2012). Coping strategies of Ethiopian immigrants in Israel: Association with PTSD and dissociation. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 53, 490-498. The aim of this study was to examine the relations between coping strategies, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and dissociation among Jewish Ethiopian refugees in Israel (following exposure to pre-, peri- and post-migration stressful events). Method: A random sample (N = 478) of three waves of refugees took part in the research (N = 165; N = 169; N = 144). Religiosity, coping strategies, stressful and traumatic events, pre- and peri- migration, post-migration difficulties, posttraumatic symptoms, and dissociation were assessed. Results: A significant relationship was found between PTSD symptoms and avoidance coping over and above immigration wave and traumatic events. Dissociation was positively associated with passivity and antisocial coping and negatively associated with social joining and level of religiosity, over and above immigration wave and traumatic events. The findings are discussed in the light of the coping strategies employed by Ethiopian refugees.

Concepts: Psychological trauma, Immigration, Abnormal psychology, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Prolonged exposure therapy, Refugee, PTSD, Vietnam War


While conflict-induced forced migration is a global phenomenon, the situation in Colombia, South America, is distinctive. Colombia has ranked either first or second in the number of internally displaced persons for 10 years, a consequence of decades of armed conflict compounded by high prevalence of drug trafficking. The displacement trajectory for displaced persons in Colombia proceeds through a sequence of stages: (1) pre-expulsion threats and vulnerability, (2) expulsion, (3) migration, (4) initial adaptation to relocation, (5) protracted resettlement (the end point for most forced migrants), and, rarely, (6) return to the community of origin. Trauma signature analysis, an evidence-based method that elucidates the physical and psychological consequences associated with exposures to harm and loss during disasters and complex emergencies, was used to identify the psychological risk factors and potentially traumatic events experienced by conflict-displaced persons in Colombia, stratified across the phases of displacement. Trauma and loss are experienced differentially throughout the pathway of displacement.

Concepts: Risk, Human migration, Colombia, Internally displaced person, Refugee, Displaced person, Forced migration, Population transfer


Based on an analysis of 19 mummified Maori heads (mokomokai) referred to our forensic laboratory for anthropological analysis prior to their official repatriation from France to New Zealand, and data from the anthropological and medical literature, we propose a complete forensic procedure for the analysis of such pieces. A list of 12 original morphological criteria was developed. Items included the sex, age at death, destruction of the skull base, the presence of argil deposits in the inner part of the skull, nostrils closed with exogenous material, sewing of eyelids and lips, pierced earlobes, ante-mortem and/or post-mortem tattoos, the presence of vegetal fibers within nasal cavities, and other pathological or anthropological anomalies. These criteria were tested for all 19 mokomokai repatriated to New Zealand by the French authorities. Further complementary analyses were limited to fiberscopic examination of the intracranial cavities because of the taboo on any sampling requested by the Maori authorities. In the context of global repatriation of human artifacts to native communities, this type of anthropological expertise is increasingly frequently requested of forensic anthropologists and other practitioners. We discuss the reasons for and against repatriating non-authentic artifacts to such communities and the role played by forensic anthropologists during the authentication process.

Concepts: Skull, New Zealand, Refugee, Repatriation