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57 Va. J. Int'l L. 539 (2017-2018)
Refugees Misdirected: How Information, Misinformation, and Rumors Shape Refugees' Access to Fundamental Rights

handle is hein.journals/vajint57 and id is 553 raw text is: 


       Refugees Misdirected: How Information,

  Misinformation, and Rumors Shape Refugees'

                Access to Fundamental Rights


     The global refugee regime represents one of the few generous commitments governments
 offer to outsiders. Indeed, few persons fleeing armed conflict actually claim international
 protection upon first arriving in Europe, even though the benefits of legal protection are
 signficant. Displaced persons' decisions to remain informal is particularly puZ<ling in
 lght of the risks it entails; these include lack of access to food and housing and possible
 abuse by  smugglers. Existing theories hbli  ht bureaucratic obstacles and push-pull
factors, such as attractive onward destinations, to explain the signficant gap between
formalprotections and actual rzghts access. However, in environments of hih uncertain y,
decisions to appy  for  asylum  and  exercise rzghts depend criticaly on information,
misinformation,  and rumors. We  argue that asylum seekers underutilie legal pathways
because limited and biased information leads them to distrust government authoriies and
aid  organizations, and increasingly trust smugglers. To assess these claims, we use mixed
methods,  and combine  ethnographic and interview-based research with data drawn from
anonymous   online rumor trackers.1

     * University of California, Berkeley.
     I Acknowledgements: We are incredibly grateful to all of the participants who agreed to be
 interviewed for this project, and to two NGOs-Prolepsis and Internews-that assisted with data
 collection. For extensive comments and suggestions on earlier drafts, we thank Kathy Abrams,
 Catherine Albiston, Irene Bloemraad, Daniela Caruso, Adam Chilton, Kevin Cope, Grainne de
 Burca, Elias Dinas, Maria Echaveste, Tom Ginsburg, Jill Goldenziel, Alisha Holland, Elisabeth
 Ivarsflaten, Kate Jastram, Aila Matanock, Hiroshi Motomura, Akasemi Newsome, Vlad Perju,
 Margaret Peters, Alison Post, Jaya RamjiNogales, Ayelet Shachar, Sarah Song, and Katherine Young.
 We also thank the participants of the December 2016 U.C. Berkeley Institute of European
 Studies/Social Science Matrix Seminar, the Berkeley Law Faculty Workshop, the Berkeley Migration
 Law and Policy Workshop, the APSA 2017 Immigrants, Migrants, and Refugees Panel, and the
 Boston College/Boston University EU Law meeting. We thank our two anonymous reviewers for
 their careful reading of our manuscript and their insightful feedback. For their generous support, we
 thank the U.C. Berkeley Human Rights Center, CITRIS (The Center for Information Technology
 Research in the Interest of Society), the Carnegie Foundation, the EU's Jean Monnet Program, the
 Institute for European Studies, and the Miller Center for Global Challenges and the Law. The project
 has been approved through U.C. Berkeley IRB protocol 2016-07-8979. We have a complementary
 paper entitled Rumors and Refugees: How Government-Created Information Vacuums Undermine
 Effective Crisis Management, forthcoming in International Studies Quarterly.

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