• Behind the Scenes of South Africa’s Asylum Procedure: A Qualitative Study on Long-term Asylum-Seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo

      Schockaert, L; Venables, E; Gil-Bazo, MT; Barnwell, G; Gerstenhaber, R; Whitehouse, K (Oxford University Press, 2020-02-20)
      Despite the difficulties experienced by asylum-seekers in South Africa, little research has explored long-term asylum applicants. This exploratory qualitative study describes how protracted asylum procedures and associated conditions are experienced by Congolese asylum-seekers in Tshwane, South Africa. Eighteen asylum-seekers and eight key informants participated in the study. All asylum-seekers had arrived in South Africa between 2003 and 2013, applied for asylum within a year of arrival in Tshwane, and were still in the asylum procedure at the time of the interview, with an average of 9 years since their application. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. The findings presented focus on the process of leaving the Democratic Republic of Congo, applying for asylum and aspirations of positive outcomes for one’s life. Subsequently, it describes the reality of prolonged periods of unfulfilled expectations and how protracted asylum procedures contribute to poor mental health. Furthermore, coping mechanisms to mitigate these negative effects are described. The findings suggest that protracted asylum procedures in South Africa cause undue psychological distress. Thus, there is both a need for adapted provision of mental health services to support asylum-seekers on arrival and during the asylum process, and systemic remediation of the implementation of asylum procedures.
    • Extractive resources and the Ebola economy

      Calain, Philippe (Oxford University Press, 2015-01-13)
    • In search of the 'new informal legitimacy' of Médecins Sans Frontières

      Calain, Philippe; Unité de Recherche sur les Enjeux et Pratiques Humanitaires (UREPH), Médecins Sans Frontières-Switzerland (Oxford University Press, 2011-12-30)
      For medical humanitarian organizations, making their sources of legitimacy explicit is a useful exercise, in response to: misperceptions, concerns over the 'humanitarian space', controversies about specific humanitarian actions, challenges about resources allocation and moral suffering among humanitarian workers. This is also a difficult exercise, where normative criteria such as international law or humanitarian principles are often misrepresented as primary sources of legitimacy. This essay first argues for a morally principled definition of humanitarian medicine, based on the selfless intention of individual humanitarian actors. Taking Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as a case in point, a common source of moral legitimacy for medical humanitarian organizations is their cosmopolitan appeal to distributive justice and collective responsibility. More informally, their legitimacy is grounded in the rightfulness of specific actions and choices. This implies a constant commitment to publicity and accountability. Legitimacy is also generated by tangible support from the public to individual organizations, by commitments to professional integrity, and by academic alliances to support evidence-based practice and operational research.