The Resettlement Experiences of Oromo Women Who Entered Canada as Refugees

Authors

  • Biftu Yousuf York University, Toronto, Canada
  • Nicole S. Berry Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.40652

Keywords:

Oromo Women, Asylum Seekers, Migration and Resettlement, Intersectionality, Gender Dynamics

Abstract

A growing body of literature shows that gender-based experiences produce different circumstances for men and women who become refugees and thereafter. This article sought to contribute to this literature by investigating the challenges faced by Oromo women who have immigrated to Canada as refugees. Toward this end, we interviewed six Oromo women in Western Canada regarding what led them to leave Ethiopia, their experiences as refugees seeking asylum, and their struggles with resettlement and integration. The findings reveal that Oromo women share the challenges endured by their male counterparts, but also are victim of gender-based subjugation at each stage of emigration.

Author Biographies

Biftu Yousuf, York University, Toronto, Canada

Biftu Yousuf is a doctoral student in the Department of Geography at York University. The author may be contacted at bmyousuf@yorku.ca

Nicole S. Berry, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

Nicole S. Berry is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Education, in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. The author may be contacted at nicole_berry@sfu.ca

References

Aberman, T. (2014). Gendered perspectives on refugee determination in Canada. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 30(2), 57–66. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.39619 DOI: https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.39619

Bartolomei, L., Eckert, R., & Pittaway, E. (2014). “What happens there … follows us here”: Resettled but still at risk: Refugee women and girls in Australia. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 30(2), 45–56. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.39618 DOI: https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.39618

Beiser, M. (2003). Sponsorship and resettlement success. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 4(2), 203–215. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-003-1033-z DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-003-1033-z

Benjamin, J. A. (1998). Issues of power and empowerment in refugee studies: Rwandan women’s adaptive behaviour at Benaco Refugee Camp. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 17(4), 27–32. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.21979 DOI: https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.21979

Berman, H., Girón, E. R. I., & Marroquín, A. P. (2006). A narrative study of refugee women who have experienced violence in the context of war. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research Archive, 38(4), 31–53. https://cjnr.archive.mcgill.ca/article/view/2018

Beswick, S. (2001). “If you leave your country you have no life!” Rape, suicide, and violence: The voices of Ethiopian, Somali, and Sudanese female refugees in Kenyan refugee camps. Northeast African Studies, 8(3), 69–98. https://doi.org/10.1353/nas.2006.0003 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/nas.2006.0003

Bhugra, D., & Becker, M. A. (2005). Migration, cultural bereavement and cultural identity. World Psychiatry, 4(1), 18–24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1414713/

Bulcha, M. (2011). Contours of the emergent & ancient Oromo nation: Dilemmas in the Ethiopian politics of state and nation-building. The Centre for Advanced Study of African Society.

Canadian Council for Refugees. (n.d.). Brief history of Canada’s responses to refugees. http://ccrweb.ca/canadarefugeeshistory.htm

Caux, H. (2011, May 13). Death on the Mediterranean. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. https://www.unhcr.org/news/latest/2011/5/4dcd3b009/death-on-the-mediterranean.html

Creese, G., & Wiebe, B. (2012). “Survival employment”: Gender and deskilling among African immigrants in Canada. International Migration, 50(5), 56–76. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2435.2009.00531.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2435.2009.00531.x

Crenshaw, K. (1989). Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1, 139–167. https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/uclf/vol1989/iss1/8/

Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241–1299. https://doi.org/10.2307/1229039 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1229039

Dauvergne, C. (2006). Reflections on gendering Canada’s refugee process. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 23(2), 139–148. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.21361 DOI: https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.21361

Dirks, G. (2020). Immigration policy. The Canadian encyclopedia. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/immigration-policy

Fossati, B., Namarra, L. and Niggli, P. (1996). The new rulers of Ethiopia and the persecution of the Oromo: Reports from the Oromo refugees in Djibouti. Frankfurt: Dokumentation, Evangelischer Pressedienst Frankfurt am Main.

Grabska, K. (2006). Marginalization in urban spaces of the Global South: Urban refugees in Cairo. Journal of Refugee Studies, 19(3), 287–307. https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fel014 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fel014

Green, A., & Green, D. (2004). The goals of Canada’s immigration policy: A historical perspective. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 13(1), 102–139. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44320798

Gudina, M. (2007). Ethnicity, democratisation and decentralization in Ethiopia: The case of Oromia. Eastern Africa Social Science Research Review, 23(1), 81–106. https://doi.org/10.1353/eas.2007.0000 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/eas.2007.0000

Guillemin, M., & Gillam, L. (2004). Ethics, reflexivity, and “ethically important moments” in research. Qualitative Inquiry, 10(2), 261–280. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800403262360 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800403262360

Hassen, M. (2002). Conquest, tyranny, and ethnocide against the Oromo: A historical assessment of human rights conditions in Ethiopia, ca. 1880s–2002. Northeast African Studies, 9(3), 15–49. https://doi.org/10.1353/nas.2007.0013 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/nas.2007.0013

Hassen, M. (2015). The Oromo and the Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia: 1300–1700. Boydell & Brewer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781782045809

Henze, P. B. (2000). Layers of time: A history of Ethiopia: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-137-11786-1_10 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-137-11786-1

Human Rights Watch, International Catholic Migration Committee & World Council of Churches. (2001). NGO background paper on the refugee and migration interface. https://www.hrw.org/reports/ngo_refugee.pdf

Hyman, I., Guruge, S., & Mason, R. (2008). The impact of migration on marital relationships: A study of Ethiopian immigrants in Toronto. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 39(2), 149–163. https://doi.org/10.3138/jcfs.39.2.149 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3138/jcfs.39.2.149

Hyman, I., Guruge, S., Mason, R., Gould, J., Stuckless, N., Tang, T., Teffera, H., & Mekonnen, G. (2004). Post-migration changes in gender relations among Ethiopian couples living in Canada. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research Archive, 36(4), 74–89. https://cjnr.archive.mcgill.ca/article/view/1912

Hynie, M., McGrath, S., Bridekirk, J., Oda, A., Ives, N., Hyndman, J., Arya, N., Shakya, Y. B., & McKenzie, K. (2019). What role does type of sponsorship play in early integration outcomes? Syrian refugees resettled in six Canadian cities. Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees, 35(2), 36–52. https://doi.org/10.7202/1064818ar DOI: https://doi.org/10.7202/1064818ar

Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). (2019). How Canada’s refugee system works. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/refugees/canada-role.html

Jacobsen, K. (2006). Refugees and asylum seekers in urban areas: A livelihoods perspective. Journal of Refugee Studies, 19(3), 273–286. https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fel017 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fel017

Jalata, A. (1996). The struggle for knowledge: The case of emergent Oromo studies. African Studies Review, 39(2), 95–123. https://doi.org/10.2307/525437 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/525437

Jalata, A. (2005). State terrorism and globalization: The cases of Ethiopia and Sudan. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 46(1–2), 79–102. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020715205054471 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0020715205054471

Jalata, A., & Schaffer, H. (2013). The Oromo, Gadaa/Siqqee democracy and the liberation of Ethiopian colonial subjects. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 9(4), 277–295. https://doi.org/10.1177/117718011300900401 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/117718011300900401

Jaranson, J. M., Butcher, J., Halcon, L., Johnson, D. R., Robertson, C., Savik, K., Springer, M., & Westermeyer, J. (2004). Somali and Oromo refugees: Correlates of torture and trauma history. American Journal of Public Health, 94(4), 591–598. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.94.4.591 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.94.4.591

Kumsa, M. K. (2005). Between home & exile: Dynamics of negotiating belonging among young Oromos living in Toronto. In W. J. Tettey & K. P. Puplampu (Eds.), The African diaspora in Canada: Negotiating identity and belonging (pp. 175–203). University of Calgary Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv6gqw99.14

Kumsa, M. K. (2006). “No! I’m not a refugee!” The poetics of be-longing among youth Oromos in Toronto. Journal of Refugee Studies, 19(2), 230–255. https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fel001 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fel001

Labman, S. (2019). Crossing law’s border: Canada’s refugee resettlement program. UBC Press.

Labman, S., & Cameron, G. (Eds.). (2020). Strangers to neighbours: Refugee sponsorship in context. McGill-Queen’s University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv176ktqs

Landau, L. B. (2006). Protection and dignity in Johannesburg: Shortcomings of South Africa's urban refugee policy. Journal of Refugee Studies, 19(3), 308–327. https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fel012 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fel012

LaViolette, N. (2007). Gender-related refugee claims: Expanding the scope of the Canadian guidelines. International Journal of Refugee Law, 19(2), 169–214. https://doi.org/10.1093/ijrl/eem008 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ijrl/eem008

Makwarimba, E., Stewart, M., Simich, L., Makumbe, K., Shizha, E., & Anderson, S. (2013). Sudanese and Somali refugees in Canada: Social support needs and preferences. International Migration, 51(5), 106–119. https://doi.org/10.1111/imig.12116 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/imig.12116

McSpadden, L. A., & Moussa, H. (1993). I have a name: The gender dynamics in asylum and in resettlement of Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees in North America. Journal of Refugee Studies, 6(3), 203–225. https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/6.3.203 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/6.3.203

Morrison, J., & Crosland, B. (2001). The trafficking and smuggling of refugees: The end game in European asylum policy? Working paper no. 39. https://www.unhcr.org/research/working/3af66c9b4/trafficking-smuggling-refugees-end-game-european-asylum-policy-john-morrison.html

Palys, T., & Atchison, C. (2013). Qualitative research in the digital era: Obstacles and opportunities. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 11(4), 352–367. https://doi.org/10.1177/160940691201100404 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/160940691201100404

Pittaway, E., & Bartolomei, L. (2001). Refugees, race, and gender: The multiple discrimination against refugee women. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 19(6), 21–32. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.21236 DOI: https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.21236

Pittaway, E., Muli, C., & Shteir, S. (2009). “I have a voice—hear me!” Findings of an Australian study examining the resettlement and integration experience of refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa in Australia. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 26(2), 133–146. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.32084 DOI: https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.32084

Robertson, C. L., Halcon, L., Savik, K., Johnson, D., Spring, M., Butcher, J., Westermeyer, J., & Jaranson, J. (2006). Somali and Oromo refugee women: Trauma and associated factors. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 56(6), 577–587. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.04057.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.04057.x

Sherrell, K., D’Addario, S., & Hiebert, D. (2007). On the outside looking in: The precarious housing situations of successful refugee claimants in the GVRD. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 24(2), 64–75. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.21385 DOI: https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.21385

Stewart, M., Makwarimba, E., Beiser, M., Neufeld, A., Simich, L., & Spitzer, D. (2010). Social support and health: Immigrants’ and refugees’ perspectives. Diversity in Health and Care, 7(2), 91–103. https://diversityhealthcare.imedpub.com/social-support-and-health-immigrants-and-refugees-perspectives.php?aid=2006

Tronvoll, K. (2008). Human rights violations in federal Ethiopia: When ethnic identity is a political stigma. International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, 15(1), 49–79. https://doi.org/10.1163/138548708X272528 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/138548708X272528

Troper, H. (2021). Immigration to Canada. The Canadian encyclopedia. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/immigration

United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). (2011). The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. https://www.unhcr.org/about-us/background/4ec262df9/1951-convention-relating-status-refugees-its-1967-protocol.html

Veale, A. (2003). From child soldier to ex-fighter, female fighters, demobilisation and reintegration in Ethiopia. Monograph no. 85. Institute for Security Studies. https://issafrica.org/research/monographs/monograph-85-from-child-soldier-to-ex-fighter-female-fighters-demobilisation-and-reintegration-in-ethiopia-angela-veale

Downloads

Published

2021-11-22

How to Cite

Yousuf, B., & Berry, N. S. (2021). The Resettlement Experiences of Oromo Women Who Entered Canada as Refugees. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 37(2), 78–92. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.40652