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Refugee Children final
Transcript of Refugee Children final
Yvonne, Elizabeth, and Shari
Professor of International Migration at Swansea University and Director of the Centre for Migration Policy Research (CMPR)
Researcher and writer
Department of Geography
Has more than 20 years of experience undertaking research on international migration in many institutional settings
Experience working with migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers
Written and published a wide range of asylum and immigration issues
What comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘asylum’?
Heaven spent 3 days at the Asylum Screening Unit in Croydon (London) observing the ways in which separated children are dealt with when applying for asylum or participating in an asylum interview
QUESTION: Do you think 3 days is enough for the author to collect data for this article?
Professor of Social Geography in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology
Interests: inequality and justice.
asylum-seeking children or
(service providers and
3. pre-flight experience
SCENARIO: You are a refugee child that used to live in Afghanistan but you had to leave your country because of sexual violence. You are now being interviewed by a guy named Peter about your experiences. You think to yourself, is he just another immigration officer? Is he a researcher?
What would you do?
It is time for your final conference for your paper. Many people will be there to ask questions about your research. You want to bring some participants you have used in your study along with you. Is it ethical to do so?
Some of the social workers of the children believe it is not a good idea to bring some participants
You do not see anything wrong with bringing some participants, after all the research is about them
Did not bring participants to the study
Found out this was a good decision based on what he experienced at the conference
Final leaflet for children and full report
‘No one gives you a chance to say what you are thinking’: finding space for children’s agency in the UK asylum system
Protection and immunity granted by the government to a refugee from another country
A person who has left their home country and applied for asylum in another country but whose application has not been approved yet
Written in 2010
Based on the research undertaken during the first 6 months of 2006 exploring the experiences of separated asylum-seeking children in the UK
Focuses on the experiences of separated children in the interview
Explores how children’s political identities and experiences have been conceptualized in procedures for determining who is and is not in need of protection under international refugee law
Interviewed 27 children about their experiences of the
asylum interview after it had taken place
Asylum Interview process
Children were asked to describe their experiences to the decision-makers and they decide whether or not they are afraid of their home country
Interviewed at a very young age
Narrow/directive questions rather than broad and open-ended questions
Lack of care and empathy
In order for children to be accepted for asylum, they would give accounts of their experiences that have to be consistent
Consistency = credibility of account
Inconsistency = false or exaggerated accounts
Previously, children were denied from the interview process and asked to complete a written statement with the assistant of a legal representative
Challenges: illiteracy, language barriers
In 2002, children over the age of 12 can be interviewed
UK asylum system is strictly controlled and complex
Difficult process and many claims are rejected
Angelina’s response after the interview
“No one told me what was happening. I had nothing to eat or drink, not even water. I went to the toilet, that’s where I got water to drink because at the time you don’t have money. It was difficult because I am pregnant. They should put like water to drink or something…it was really bad. Its how they treat you and deal with the other people and ignore you like you are not there.”
~Angelina, age 16, Uganda
QUESTION: Do you
think the asylum
interview process was
ethical or not?
What are some ethical
Children are acted upon; they do not act –assumed to have no agency
Immigration officers described children as ‘rolling in’, ‘turning on the waterworks’
and ‘pretending to be stupid’
Children faced hostility
No food or drink was provided
Told to sit in the waiting area for hours without explanation
Children felt upset and confused
Not in the Best Interest of the Child
Best Interest of the Home Office
Asylum-seeking children receive some form of protection but long-term permanent legal status is less common
Refugee children are exposed to high levels of violence, disruption, losses, and isolation
Higher risk of mental health problems: depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety
Affect memory recall
Children felt upset and confused during the interview and the interviewers failed to respond appropriately
Against the UNCRC
States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure that a child who is seeking refugee status or who is considered a refugee in accordance with applicable international or domestic law and procedures shall, whether unaccompanied or accompanied by his or her parents or by any other person, receive appropriate protection and humanitarian assistance in the enjoyment of applicable rights set forth in the present Convention […]
Child-focused, child-friendly, recognize child agency
Interviewer should make the child feel comfortable and explain the interview process and allow children to say if he or she doesn’t understand something
Asking open-ended questions during the interview
Children should express themselves and at their own speed
Hearing but also listening
Being open to what they have to say why does these experiences matter and what they mean
Consider the difficulties in why children have trouble expressing a consistent account of their experiences
mental health problems affect memory recall
QUESTION: As researchers, what would you have done to make the interview process more ethical?
Role-play the interview process in small groups
2000-Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Somalia
2001- 188 children have arrived in Scotland
2001 - 2003 = 12,400
2001-2003- Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, Montenegro
Two-thirds were male
Over 60% aged 16-17
Reasons for seeking asylum
Death or persecution of family members
Persecution of youths themselves
Rape and sexual violence
Funded by Scottish Refugee Council
Needs/experiences of these children in Scotland
Range of service available
Strengths/ weaknesses of services
Explore social, emotional, legal, and educational needs/experiences
1. Why they left
2. Migration process
3. Current situation
4. Strengths of children
Concerns of research project
Privacy and Confidentiality in the research
Issues related to dissemination of research findings
A. Interviews/ participatory exercise
B. Who to speak to
C. Overall design/ research material
"in loco parentis"
"leaflets that were clear
and simple to read"
"Please feel free to drop out at any time"
"we can join the other people in the next room"
3. Privacy and Confidentiality
"How to access university"
"access to documentation"
IS THIS OKAY?
1. "One young person mentioned.."
2. Left out children's age, country of origin, other countries
3. Ensure confidentiality: Asked service providers
4. Interpreters of children
4. Dissemination of research
"Ethical Issues in Research with Unaccompanied Asylum-seeking