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Refugees and the Law: An ethnography of the British Asylum System PDF Print E-mail

From January 2007 until the end of December 2008 I undertook research into the British asylum system. My project was independently funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (grant RES-062-23-0296). During this time I was assisted by Dr. Solomon Afework.

The project has sought to: (1) follow the asylum claims made by Ethiopians and Eritreans in the UK; (2) to understand the development and operation of Ethiopian and Eritrean community/refugee organizations in southeastern England; (3) to map out the asylum system by observing and interviewing officials (the Home Office, the Asylum & Immigration Tribunal, the Treasury Solicitors Office, etc), lawyers and barristers, and refugees; and (4) to understand how individuals applying for asylum have experienced the process.

There are four main objectives of this research: (a) to help asylum applicants better understand the system so that they know their rights (this is realized in part by translating and updating a guide first produced by Asylum Aid called ‘The asylum process made simple’ which has been translated into Amharic and Tigrinya); (b) to speak to refugee organizations about my research; (c) to publish my research; and (d) I have also hosted a conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies, where I work, in April, 2009. The papers from that conference can be downloaded from: There are a number of papers on The Horn of Africa and/or about Ethiopians and Eritreans.

Dr John R Campbell

Department of Sociology & Anthropology

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