On 27th June 2019 a new report, ‘For our welfare and not for our harm’, written by Refugee Hosts’ Co-Investigator Dr Anna Rowlands in collaboration with the Jesuit Refugee Service, was launched. The report was the culmination of almost two years of collaboration and ‘meaning-making’ with refugees and the people who work with refugees, and highlights how the current asylum system is experienced ‘as a fundamental distortion of human dignity’. Within this system ‘time, skill, capacity and promise’ are wasted, and justice, love and dignity are lost.
The report does not share stories of refugee journeys, and is explicit in its adoption of a framework that does not view refugees as passive victims and recipients of aid, an approach also adopted by the Refugee Hosts project. Instead, the report views refugees as ‘dignified agents that wish to shape their own lives’ and examines the goods that refugees aspire to in their everyday lives. These include an asylum system that is ‘humane, efficient and flexible’, ‘an end to immigration detention’ and a desire to work. Additionally, and perhaps most pertinent to the work of Refugee Hosts, the report highlights the desire for opportunities for participation including opportunities for refugees to support other refugees, or refugee-refugee humanitarianism, a theme Refugee Hosts has been examining here, here, here, and here.
The report also includes discussions on faith and the role of faith ‘as a source of meaning, identity and resilience’ and describes how refugees ‘see themselves as agents of religious meaning-making and leaders within faith communities, not merely beneficiaries of well-meaning faith-based care and social action.’ This is also a theme we have been exploring in Refugee Hosts’ Faith and Displacement Series, a collection of pieces introduced by Dr Rowlands, and exploring ‘religion, faith and spirituality as a lived experience – as dynamic traditions that are inhabited, shaped and reshaped by displaced people.’
To read and listen to other pieces by Dr Anna Rowlands please see below:
Listen: Refugee Hosts’ Co. I, Dr. Anna Rowlands, on BBC Radio 4, Immigration & Religion: A Sunday Programme Special
Rowlands, A. (2018) Turkey – Crossroads for the Displaced
Rowlands, A. (2017) Hannah Arendt: On Displacement and Political Judgement