Human Security

Gender, Securitization and Transit: Refugee Women and the Journey to the EU


Gerard, Allison, and Sharon Pickering. 2013. "Gender, Securitization and Transit: Refugee Women and the Journey to the EU." Journal of Refugee Studies 27 (3): 338-59.

Authors: Allison Gerard, Sharon Pickering


European Union (EU) Member States have cultivated the ‘securitization of migration’, crafting a legal framework that prevents irregular migrants, including asylum seekers, from arriving in the EU. As external and internal border controls are reinvigorated to achieve this aim, the experiences of asylum seekers beyond the EU border, in designated ‘transit’ countries, necessitate further inquiry. Concepts of ‘transit’ are shaped by government accounts of ‘secondary migration’ as illegitimate, and asylum seekers as a security threat warranting containment. Based on interviews with Somali refugee women who have travelled through North Africa to reach the southern EU Member State of Malta, this article traces the impact of the securitization of migration on women’s experiences of ‘transit’. Women’s stories, historically neglected in the literature on migration, provide a lived account of securitization and the gendered ways ‘functional border sites’ operate beyond the EU, enlisting state and non-state actors in producing direct and structural violence. This article argues EU policy is blind to the lived realities of those who seek refugee protection in the EU, and urgently needs to address the structural contradictions exacerbating violence experienced by refugee women in transit.

Keywords: gender and irregular migration, securitization of migration, transit, border control

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, International Organizations, Security, Human Security

Year: 2013

Bengal Border Revisited


Banerjee, Paula. 2012. “Bengal Border Revisited.” Journal of Borderlands Studies 27 (1): 31–44. doi:10.1080/08865655.2012.687208.

Author: Paula Banerjee


This article deals with the notion of how borders have a penchant for becoming a marker of security. The moment borders become securitized the question of flows across them acquires particular importance. In the colonial period this was marked by concern over dacoits, thugees and hooligans who crossed the district border at will. In the post-colonial period concern remains over undocumented migrants and whether their arrival threatens the nation form. Against this background the article addresses the notion of flows and increasing violence at the borders, fencing as the most recent marker of such violence and how women and the evolution of their relationship to the border is shaped through the discourses of violence.

Topics: Citizenship, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Gender Analysis, Nationalism, Security, Human Security, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh, India

Year: 2012

A Decade of Human Security: Global Governance and New Multilateralisms


Black, David R., Sandra J. MacLean, and Timothy M. Shaw, eds. 2006. A Decade of Human Security: Global Governance and New Multilateralisms. London: Routledge.

Authors: David R. Black, Sandra J. MacLean, Timothy M. Shaw

Topics: Gender, Governance, Security, Human Security Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Canada

Year: 2006

Women in Peace Politics


Banerjee, Paula. 2008. Women in Peace Politics. New Delhi: SAGE Publications.

Author: Paula Banerjee


"Women in Peace Politics explores the role of women as agents and visionaries of peace in South Asia. Peace is redefined to include in its fold the attempt by women to be a part of the peace making process, reworking the structural inequalities faced by them and their struggle against all forms of oppression. This volume, the third in the series of the South Asia Peace Studies, deals with the myriad dimensions of peace as practised by South Asian women over a period of time. It chronicles the lives of "ordinary" women—their transformative role in peace and an attempt to create a space of their own. Their peace activism is examined in the historical context of their participation in national liberation movements since the early twentieth century. The articles in the collection adopt a new approach to understanding peace—as a desire to end repression that cuts across caste, class, race and gender and an effort on the part of women to transform their position in society."

Topics: Caste, Class, Conflict Prevention, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Political Participation, Race, Security, Human Security Regions: Asia, South Asia

Year: 2008

The Arrested Development of Afghan Women


Azarbaijan-Moghaddam, Sippi. 2009. “The Arrested Development of Afghan Women.” In The Future of Afghanistan, edited by J Alexander Thier, 63–72. Washington D.C.: United States Institute of Peace.


Author: Sippi Azarbaijan-Moghaddam

Topics: Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Post-Conflict, Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Human Security, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2009

The Impact of Political Conflict on Women: The Case of Afghanistan


Sima Wali, Elizabeth Gould, and Paul Fitzgerald. 1999. “The Impact of Political Conflict on Women: The Case of Afghanistan.” American Public Health Association, 1474–76.


Authors: Sima Wali, Elizabeth Gould, Paul Fitzgerald


“The article examines the link between the crises in women's health and human rights in Afghanistan and the political circumstances that caused them. The wall of silence that separated the political events of Communist era from their human consequences perpetuates humanitarian crises and frustrates relief workers and activists in their efforts to end crimes against humanity. As a result of the division between humanitarian crises and the political discourse that would alter them, conflicts remain unresolved, leaving the victims exposed to multiple abuses.”


(EBSCO host)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Human Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 1999

Afghan Women: Recovering, Rebuilding


Wali, Sima. 2002. “Afghan Women: Recovering, Rebuilding.” Ethics & International Affairs 16 (02): 15–19. doi:10.1111/j.1747-7093.2002.tb00391.x.


Author: Sima Wali


The United States' foreign policy in Afghanistan has a long history of misguided plans and misplaced trust—a fact that has contributed to the destruction of the social and physical infrastructure of Afghan society. Afghans contend that after having fought as U.S. allies against the Soviet Union—with the price of more than two million dead—the United States swiftly walked away at the end of that bloody, twenty-three-year conflict. The toll of the war on Afghan society reflected in current statistics is so staggering as to be practically unimaginable: 12 million women living in abject poverty, 1 million people handicapped from land mine explosions, an average life expectancy of forty years (lower for women), a mortality rate of 25.7 percent for children under five years old, and an illiteracy rate of 64 percent. These horrific indicators place Afghanistan among the most destitute countries in the world in terms of human development.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Development, Economies, Poverty, Education, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gender-Based Violence, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Human Security, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2002

From Soldiers to Citizens, or Soldiers to Seamstresses: Reintegrating Girl and Women Soldiers in Sierra Leone


MacKenzie, Megan H. 2007. “From Soldiers to Citizens, or Soldiers to Seamstresses: Reintegrating Girl and Women Soldiers in Sierra Leone.” In . Chicago, IL.


Author: Megan H MacKenzie


Maintaining security in a post-conflict country is often seen to be dependant on peace-building and reconstruction. One can hardly escape terms such as building sustainable peace and post-conflict construction. The disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, and rehabilitation, or DDR-R process for former combatants is being touted as an ideal model for ensuring that post-conflict societies return to peace. These four simple steps to lasting security have been used as a model in war torn countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. The logic is that these steps aid in restoring countries to more secure, stable times. More specifically, this model streamlines former combatants from soldiers to citizens. Given that the task of this process is to encourage combatants to shed their roles as fighters and to return to their former pre-war roles, it seems intuitive that the way that women and girls go through this process is of particular interest. In fact, despite the ascendancy of this DDR-R model, there has been little critical analysis of the implications of this process for women in war-torn countries. Using Sierra Leone as a case study, I explore how women and girls have been included and treated at each phase of this process. I look specifically at the tendency of organizations and agencies operating DDR-R programs to promote a return of women and girls to their pre-war roles and the tension that women and girls feel between the power they gained as combatants and the social pressure to reintegrate. I also examine the implications, for women and girls, of international and national organizations commitment to equating security with the return to pre-war society rather than rethinking relations of power. I include testimonies from 50 former girl soldiers who talk about their roles during the conflict and their hopes for themselves today.

Keywords: women, conflict, development, security, post-conflict, reintegration

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, "New Wars", Combatants, Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Girls, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Post-Conflict, Security, Human Security Regions: Africa Countries: Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone

Year: 2007


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