Call for chapters - Refugees in East Asia: Taiwan and Japan in comparison

09 August 2022

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), since 2011 there has been a steep increase of refugees around the world due to persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violation or events seriously disturbing public order. With major refugee crises in Ukraine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela, Ethiopia and Myanmar, no other issue seems as timely as the topic of refugee regulation and protection in the affected areas and in the destination countries.

This edited book switches the attention to East Asia, a region of the world , that has been overlooked by academic debates, partly because some states are not signatories of the magna carta of international refugee law, the 1951 Conventions Relating to the Status of Refugees (henceforth, Convention) and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (henceforth, Protocol) and partly because official records from the UNHCR do not seem to come from or be located in this area of the world. In contrast with this view, some scholars shed light on the fact that East Asia has a large number of people who could claim refugee status but do not do so for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, East Asia is one of the regions of the world where displacement due to new challenges, such as environmental changes and natural disasters, will be constantly increasing in the future. Finally, many East Asian governments may treat asylum seekers under other laws and frameworks.

This call for contribution aims to bring to the fore the cases of Japan and Taiwan to offer an unusual perspective of some of the main issues revolving around refugee protection, regulation and experiences in East Asia.

In our view, Japan and Taiwan constitute two significant cases of comparison significant to understand trends, approaches and concerns for the broader East Asian region. Japan signed the 1951 Convention in 1981 and the related Protocol in 1982. For years, Japan has been one of the largest donors to the UNHCR. In contrast, Japan’s refugee recognition rates have remained remarkably low. One of biggest challenges for asylum seekers lies in the country’s detention practices, including indefinite detention, lack of transparency regarding detention at ports of entry, and the detention of asylum seekers.

Taiwan’s case is different. Because Taiwan cannot officially accede to international conventions and UN treaties, it is not a signatory of the Convention and the related Protocol. A draft of the refugee law has been sitting in the Parliament for more than ten years, but no steps have occurred so far in passing it. The few asylum seekers and refugees who are present in Taiwan are not protected by a formal law and their applications are often dealt on a caseby-case basis, with rather inconsistent outcomes.

We welcome contributions on the following topics (and beyond):
• Refugee/asylum seeker policies and institutional mechanisms in Japan and/or Taiwan
• Refugee/asylum seeker experiences in Japan and/or Taiwan
• Refugee/asylum seeker self-representation in Japan and/or Taiwan
• Media representation of refugee/asylum seeker issues in Japan and/or Taiwan
• Integration of refugees/asylum seekers in Japan and/or Taiwan
• Past, present, future issues related to refugee/asylum seeker protection in Japan and/or Taiwan

Submission guidelines:
• Abstract submission: 1 September 2022
               o Send an abstract of max 350 words, with a title and 2/3 keywords, to Dr Lara Momesso This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Dr. Polina Ivanova This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
• Acceptance notice: 15 October 2022
• Full paper submission deadline: 30 May 2023
               o Full paper should be around 8,000 words in length (excluding references).
Work that has already been published or submitted for review will not be considered.

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