Abdelwahed Mekki-Berrada – Emotional Distress of Undocumented Sub-Saharan Women in Morocco (ASI 2014)

Morocco has become a “final destination” for thousands of Sub-Saharan migrants heading to Europe. These migrants can no longer reach Europe — whose borders have been considerably securitized since September 11 — just as they no longer wish to risk their lives returning south over the merciless Sahara Desert. They consequently find themselves in extended transit in Morocco, which is now the scene of a completely new sub-Saharan migratory movement. Drawing from interpretive and critical medical anthropology, as well as from critical security studies, the main objective of this paper is to discuss results from a research project I conducted in Morocco on the relationships between the securitization/externalization of Euro-Mediterranean borders, the subsequent traumatic experiences of sub-Saharan women migrants in prolonged transit in Morocco, and their emotional distress.

Charles Watters – Refugees and Mental Health

“I think having a capability approach towards refugees which acknowledges agency and aspiration while at the same time provides the mental health and social care support they need is the way forward”

Charles Watters, Chair of the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University, talks about his work with refugees. In order to access refugee services and programs, the negative aspects of the refugee experience are often emphasized: refugees are characterized as traumatized people who had to flee for safety, torn from their home country. Indeed, there can be a pressure for refugees to emphasize suffering in their encounters with service providers in order to be considered legitimate. But what is the mental health effect of this? Is it possible to promote empowerment and aspirations within the refugee population without refugees being wrongly considered an economic migrants?



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