International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM)

IASFM14: Contested Spaces and Cartographic Challenges

The 14th Conference of the International Association for Studies in Forced Migration (IASFM) will be hosted by the Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group, Kolkata, India January 6 - 9, 2013. This is the first time that the conference is being hosted in South Asia. 


The nature and character of migration, particularly ‘forced' migration, today is different from that in previous decades. But while this is not a new observation, it has not been acknowledged in such a manner, because of what underlined the refugee regime and what regulated the management and protection of refugees. This has been underscored by migratory patterns in much of the colonial world (read, Africa and Asia, for instance) as against the European context. The UN however, acknowledged this by noting in its 10 Point Plan of Action that migration is characterised by "mixed movements". Even then, the underlying institutions that aimed at securing the rights of refugees in the last few decades did not change. Refugees continued to be those that fled "political persecution" leaving a large number of people who fled due to other factors outside the legal definition and thus protection regime. Second, internal displacement gained prominence as a category of rights bearing subjects but the role of UN institutions was curtailed or expanded depending on the state that produced the internally displaced. Thus, even though forced by circumstances, government policies or government inaction/impunity, internally displaced persons were not accorded the same kind of protection that refugees were. Thus it is not uncommon for internally displaced persons to call themselves refugees even while they are within the physical borders of the state.

IASFM 14 proposes to highlight the unique features of the new reality by focusing on the relevant experiences of strategies of protection of victims of forced migration, particularly in the post-colonial world.

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IASFM13: Governing Migration

The 13th conference of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration will be hosted by the Refugee Law Project, Kampala, Uganda on July 3 - 6, 2011. It aims to explore key dimensions of the relationship between forms and tools of governance on the one hand and patterns and experiences of forced migration on the other. Governing Migration', will enable a wide-ranging exploration of both the direct and indirect relationships between conflict, governance and forced migration and transitional justice.

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IASFM12: Transforming Boundaries

The 12th conference of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) was hosted by the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, from 28 June to 2 July 2009. This was the first time in more than a decade that the conference had been held in Europe.

The theme of boundaries encompassed a range of connections, links and exchanges that were essential to exploring, debating, understanding and creating policies that respond to forced migration.

Borders play a prominent role in forced migration today; definitions of categories of forced migrants such as refugees and IDPs, policies of interdiction and extra-territorial processing, and metaphors of "fortresses" and free-movement all rely upon the notion of a border.

Geographically at the border between Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, the island of Cyprus possesses its own particular historical experience of forced migration and borders, making it a unique and appropriate location for those working in the field.

The conference invited papers that fell within the broad theme of the conference and forced migration more generally. We particularly encouraged proposals of organized panels.

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