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Internal Migration

Challenges in Governance and Integration

Edited By Shane Joshua Barter and William Ascher

Internal Migration: Challenges in Governance and Integration focuses on the challenges associated with internal migration across the developing world. While international migration captures significant attention, less attention has been paid to those migrating within recognized national borders. The sources of internal migration are not fundamentally different from international migration, as migrants may be pushed by violence, disasters, state policies, or various opportunities. Although they do not cross international borders, they may still cross significant internal borders, with cultural differences and perceived state favoritism generating a potential for "sons of the soil" conflicts. As citizens, internal migrants are in theory to be provided legal protection by host states, however this is not always the case, and sometimes their own states represent the cause of their displacement. The chapters in this book explain how international organizations, host states, and host communities may navigate the many challenges associated with internal migration.

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4. Unsettled States: Displacement, Governance, and Integration in the South Caucasus (Lee J. M. Seymour / Marek Brzezinski)


4. Unsettled States: Displacement, Governance, and Integration in the South Caucasus

Lee J. M. Seymour

Université de Montréal

Marek Brzezinski

Université de Montréal

Up to two million people have been displaced in the South Caucasus as a result of violent ethnic conflicts during the collapse of the Soviet Union and its aftermath (Conciliation Resources 2012). While most nationalist movements in the Soviet Union pushed for and attained varying degrees of self-determination through peaceful means, nationalist conflicts broke out in Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh (1988–1994), and in Georgia, both in Abkhazia (1992–1993) and South Ossetia (1991–1992) (Beissinger 2002; Zürcher 2007). Claims to self-determination by separatist movements were met by claims to territorial integrity by national governments, with each side riding a wave of nationalist fervor. The cease-fires that ended each of these conflicts have been fragile, messy, and at risk of relapsing back into violence.

On the ground, these conflicts combine a measure of control for separatist de facto states dependent on external patrons for protection, continued conflict over their legal status, and tragic levels of displacement and unmet rights to return. Each conflict has generated repeated security incidents that threaten new waves of displacement and undermine reconciliation efforts. Thus, Nagorno-Karabakh has experienced repeated violence across the line of control separating Azeri and Armenian forces, most recently exploding into four days of intense fighting in April...

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