The process of generating domestic refugee policy in low- and middle-income countries in the Global South is shaped by both internal political interests and politicians‘ reading of aid donors‘ preferences. Thus, both by omission and commission, development and humanitarian aid agencies play a significant role in shaping domestic refugee policies in refugee-hosting countries. This talk will provide an overview of the orthodox economic and sociological theories of development aid that reflexively shape how governments in East Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia conceptualize and implement their domestic refugee policies. To concretize this general overview, the talk will highlight recent research findings on how these reflexive politics play out in the lives of refugees, using examples from Colombia, Kenya, and Malaysia. These findings offer a way to better understand the challenges of creating coherent, rights-based domestic refugee policies in the Global South. They also offer a lens for critically reflecting on how countries in the Global North magnify these challenges with development aid policies that eschew human rights in favor of externalizing frontiers and pushing the burden of refugee management onto low- and middle-income countries.
Dr. Charles Martin-Shields is a Senior Researcher at the German Institute of Development and Sustainability in Bonn, Germany. His research focuses on development and humanitarian policy in forced displacement and refugee response. Since 2018 he has focused on the role of digital technologies in the lives of refugees in Latin America, East Africa, and Southeast Asia. This work has been published in International Migration Review and P&I: Policy and Internet. Along with his academic work, Dr. Martin-Shields has served as an expert consultant and advisor to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, UNHCR, the World Bank, and U.S. Institute of Peace among other organizations. He completed his PhD at the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at Gorge Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, USA.