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Types of Migration
Internal Migration
Global Labour Mobility
Child Migration
Skilled Migration
Forced Migration
Return Migration

Key Themes
Modelling Causes
and Consequences
Links between Migrations
Rural Poverty and Livelihoods
Social Protection
Gender and Generations
Health and Education

UK / international
Albania / Eastern Europe
Ghana / Africa
Egypt / the Middle East
Bangladesh and
South Asia




Project 6a
Balancing Rights and Risks in Forced Migration in India and Malaysia

The World Bank sociologist Michael Cernea’s Risks and Reconstruction model shows how displacement goes hand in hand with physical, social and economic exclusion which culminates in a broad range of impoverishment risks. This model has been highly influential in research and policy work on forced displacement; however, it is not without limitations. For example, Cernea’s model treats affected communities in a relatively undifferentiated way, and fails to capture the more symbolic and intangible issues around displacement such as changes in socio-cultural identity, geographical space, worldviews etc. Also, by focusing on risks, it ignores the need to focus on the rights of displaced people.

This research will make the shift from risks to rights in forced displacement research and programmes both conceptually and through research among displaced people, drawing on research in India’s Narmada Valley and amongst communities displaced by conservation initiatives in Malaysia. It will make comparisons across both countries and situations (e.g. forced displacement due to development or conflict) to understand the optimal institutional mechanisms required to safeguard the rights of displaced people, in particular the most vulnerable amongst them.

Key Research Questions

What are the livelihood impacts of forced displacement, and how are these differentiated by gender, caste/and occupation?
How do oustees and refugees mobilise around their rights in different contexts of forced migration?
How can policies and programmes seek to incorporate lessons emanating from oustees’ and refugees’ struggles around rights?
What are the constraints and challenges around operationalising rights-based-approaches in forced migration?



Key Theme(s)

Type(s) of Migration
Forced Migration

Bangladesh / South Asia


Richard Black

Lyla Mehta (IDS)
Carol Yong (IDS)

Key Activities


Workshop to plan comparative work on questions of sustainable livelihoods and rights of displaced people.

2. Field research amongst displaced people in the Narmada Valley, India and in Malaysia, building on earlier field engagements.
3. Analysis and comparison across countries and with project 6b.

Key Outputs

Edited volume, encompassing work in this project, project 6b, and external contributions

Articles for local media


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With thanks to IOM and Claudia Natali for the photographs