Sussex experts join global effort to protect refugees
By: Anna Ford
Last updated: Wednesday, 2 January 2019
A major new international project launches this month, which aims to protect people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes.
The project, known as 'TRAFIG' (which stands for Transnational Figurations of Displacement), includes experts from around the world. The University of Sussex team will include Dr Anne-Meike Fechter (Anthropology), Professor Nuno Ferreira (Law, as lead), Dr Pamela Kea (Anthropology), Professor Russell King (Geography) and Dr Laura Morosanu (Sociology).
This interdisciplinary team, all affiliated with the Sussex Centre for Migration Research (SCMR), will contribute to the TRAFIG project by working on the idea of 'transnational figurations of displacement' (the key concept that will ground all the work carried out throughout the project), analysing the governance system of forced displacement, identifying protection solutions through the use of human relationships and movements, and ensuring the impact of the project through stakeholder engagement and policy responses.
Professor Nuno Ferreira at the University of Sussex explained his enthusiasm for the project:
"We are very excited to be part of this global effort to improve the lives of people who have been forced to flee their homes and have not yet found a stable solution for them and their families. By working together with partners around the world, and thanks to the substantial funding from the European Union, we will be able to help put forward original solutions for these people, which will benefit not only themselves, but also the communities and countries where they are currently living.
"The sorts of people who this project aims to help includes those who are Eritrean, Congolese (DRC), Syrian and Afghan.”
The project will see Sussex working collaboratively with partners from Europe, Africa and Asia to help people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes.
Through comparative empirical research in refugee camps and cities in Asia, Africa and Europe, the project will analyse why displaced people live in vulnerable situations in host countries, how they sustain their livelihoods as well as how policy and humanitarian practice can better support their self-reliance. The project team will also trace refugees’ networks of interaction and support beyond their place of living and ask how these transnational connections shape their current situation and their future mobility trajectories. Last but not least, it seeks to better understand the relations between refugees and host communities and investigates the medium and long-term economic impacts of displacement.
On the basis of its findings, the project will develop a rapid assessment tool in order to support policymakers and practitioners to enhance the self-reliance of displaced people as well as host and refugees relations through tailored programming and policy development.
Benjamin Etzold, who is leading the project at the Bonn International Center for Conversion, said:
“TRAFIG will provide academic evidence and more robust data on refugee movements and protracted displacement.
“With our innovative research and our rapid assessment tool, we do not only seek to improve knowledge on protracted displacement and refugees’ transnational lives, we also truly hope to contribute to improving policies and humanitarian programs and thereby towards reaching the goals of the Global Compact on Refugees”.
The 11 research partners from Austria, Ethiopia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Jordan, the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, United Kingdom, will closely cooperate with key stakeholders throughout the entire life cycle of the project.
The European Commission funds the TRAFIG project within its Horizon2020 research program. BICC is coordinating the three year project. The partners in this excellent interdisciplinary and international research consortium are Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Norway, International and European Forum on Migration (FIERI) in Italy, International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and Danube University Krems in Austria, Society for Human Rights and Prisoners' Aid (SHARP) in Pakistan, Sussex Centre for Migration Research at the University of Sussex, University of Leiden in the Netherlands, and Yarmouk University in Jordan.