One year ago, Refugees Deeply launched with the aim of providing critical, in-depth coverage of the rising tide of forced displacement around the world.
“2016 looks poised to break all records,” founding editor Preethi Nallu wrote at the launch last May. It did: More people were displaced and more died in the Mediterranean Sea last year than ever before.
A few days after the launch, the E.U.-Turkey migration deal went into effect, yet again shifting migration flows as well as media attention. Refugees Deeply has worked hard to fill the gaps and connect the dots throughout this past year, documenting underreported topics and crises, highlighting trends and widening the lens of reporting on refugees.
“Migration and displacement are issues that define our time, but refugees are not solely a humanitarian issue. They are a development issue. They are an identity issue. They are an environmental issue. They are an innovation issue,” Nallu wrote last March. Today, this complexity is more apparent than ever, from the camps of Kenya to the office blocks of Germany.
Here is some of the best reporting and commentary from the first year of Refugees Deeply, as selected by our senior editors.
Editors’ Picks: Reporting
Refugees Caught Up in Child Prostitution in Athens
The first of a two-part investigation into prostitution among child refugees in Athens. With 57,000 refugees stranded in Greece, we look at what some of the most vulnerable among them are doing to survive.
Seas Rising Faster Than Refugee Law Can Adapt
As warming seas climb their shores, Marshall Islanders face becoming climate refugees before the international community can decide what rights, if any, that status confers.
Afghan Refugees Forced to Return to a Home Many Have Never Known
Umer Ali travels to the Pakistani border city of Peshawar for the first in our “Return to Afghanistan” series, finding that the forced return of thousands of Afghan refugees is breaking up marriages and dividing families.
Shipwreck Survivors Stranded by a Faltering Deal
As an E.U.-Turkey agreement on refugees nears collapse, Preethi Nallu and Iason Athanasiadis report from the Greek island of Lesbos on how the deal never fully stopped the deadly voyages and has left survivors of such tragedies in agonizing limbo.
Somali Refugees Decry Empty Promises on Return From Dadaab
Somali refugees who lived for decades in Kenya’s Dadaab camp are returning to Somalia via a repatriation program, only to find a fragile peace and shortage of supplies. New arrivals in Kismayo tell Ashley Hamer they feel let down and afraid.
Even Fame Can’t Shield ‘Afghan Girl’ from Pakistan’s Refugee Clampdown
The “Afghan Girl” of National Geographic fame was arrested last week for obtaining a fake Pakistani ID and will shortly be deported. Her case illustrates the plight of hundreds of thousands of Afghans caught up in a Pakistani crackdown.
From Saigon and Sarajevo to St. Louis, Refugees Revive City
Amid the anti-migration rhetoric of the incoming Trump administration, Preethi Nallu meets resettled families in the midwestern city of St. Louis, whose communities have helped resuscitate areas of their new hometown.
The Manufacture of Hatred: Scapegoating Refugees in Central Europe
Our in-depth investigation uncovers the anti-refugee propaganda machine that fostered xenophobia in Hungary, derailed the E.U. response to the refugee crisis and is spreading to the Czech Republic and beyond.
In the final part of “Bags and Belongings,” Refugees Deeply senior editor Preethi Nallu explains the genesis of the series, in which Syrians describe what they brought with them and what they left behind. Read their stories in our interactive photo essay.
The Refugee Archipelago: The Inside Story of What Went Wrong in Greece
Refugees Deeply investigates failures in the most expensive humanitarian response in history, which played out during the refugee crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Editor’s Picks: Community
Reviving the Mediterranean’s Lost Cosmopolitanism
Eastern Mediterranean cities that view migration as a threat today thrived on the ubiquitous presence of multicultural societies a century ago. Iason Athanasiadis opens our Reviving Cities series by explaining that the roots of today’s slow-motion refugee “disaster” can be found in the region’s trend towards introversion.
Afghan Refugees: Conversations Along the Migration Trail
In the first part of our op-ed series “Afghans on the Migration Trail,” which coincides with the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, migration specialist Nassim Majidi discusses her research, illustrating the diverse tapestry of Afghans seeking asylum.
There’s Not Always an App for That: How Tech Could Help Refugees More
The refugee crisis prompted an explosion of apps and digital tools to help displaced people on their journey. Meghan Benton and Alex Glennie, authors of a new Migration Policy Institute report on tech sector assistance to refugees, explain why results have been mixed.
This Age of Migration: Europe’s Rising Militarization
As part of our series “This Age of Migration,” Paul Currion argues that increasing militarization in Europe in response to the refugee crisis is akin to an autoimmune response that could attack the very body it is supposed to protect.
Displaced, Dispossessed and Disposable
In this first part of a commentary series titled “Displaced and Disposable,” humanitarian worker Bruna Kadletz argues that current laws and social attitudes disenfranchise refugee populations to the point of dehumanizing them as expendable commodities.
‘Our Objective Is Not to Slow the Flow of Refugees’ – World Bank Chief
As the World Bank steps up its involvement in response to the global refugee crisis, its president, Jim Yong Kim, tells Refugees Deeply why a development institution wants to involve itself in forced migration.
Development Aid to Deter Migration Will Do Nothing of the Kind
A wave of new migration-linked aid deals ignore evidence that development assistance cannot reduce overall emigration from poor countries within our lifetimes, argues development economist Michael Clemens.
Outrage Over Unaccompanied Minors Highlights Massive E.U. Data Gap
While headlines about “missing children” stir moral outcry, the reality is that E.U. data on unaccompanied minors is full of holes and discrepancies. Researchers Nando Sigona and Rachel Humphris argue for better data to address the real needs of refugee children.
An Algorithm to Alleviate the Refugee Crisis
Matching theory can drastically improve refugee resettlement, argue Will Jones and Alex Teytelboym, who have adapted algorithms used for school choice.
‘Now We Need to Fight Back for Our Common Humanity’: MSF President
At the end of a year of growing crises and closing borders, we speak with Dr. Joanne Liu, the international president of Medecins Sans Frontieres, about how the medical charity has confronted the challenges of 2016 and the road ahead.
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