The Global South Migration Lab (GSML) is a research hub on South-South migration with the mission to elevate the voices of Global South scholars and decolonize knowledge-making in migration. Under the direction of Dr. Su, the Lab will showcase the work of Global South scholars and students with lived experiences of migration and foster research partnerships between Global North and Global South scholars and institutions. The GSML is in collaboration with York’s Centre for Refugee Studies.
The Global South Migration Lab is the first Canadian research lab to exclusively support scholarship on Global South migration. Historically, academic research, media attention and political narratives about migration has focused on migrants from the Global South “invading” the Global North, overlooking the reality that more people migrate within the Global South than from the Global South to the Global North. Dr. Su’s ongoing SSHRC-funded research on the Venezuelan refugee crisis, which has seen over 7 million Venezuelans displaced, demonstrates that 84% of Venezuelans have fled to neighbouring countries and the movement is often multilateral and circular. However, we have yet to grasp the factors behind the intricate decision-making that impact this type of regional and circular mobility within the Global South. What we do know is that the theories developed under the dominant, North-led narrative of unidirectional South-North migration are inadequate in explaining South-South migration.
Challenging the dominant, North-led discourse on migration is significant because it is not supported by empirical evidence and has significant policy implications for migration and development – including the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the resettlement of refugees displaced by climate change.
Turning the tide on this South-North narrative can also bring significant benefits to the protection of migrants, who are politically voiceless and largely powerless in their host countries. For example, an estimated 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since the country won the right to host the World Cup in 2010. As such, Human Rights Watch is urging Qatar and FIFA to stop the abuse of migrant workers and to compensate families of migrants who suffered workplace injury or death.
Moreover, the dominant South-North narrative has contributed to the misallocation allocation of humanitarian funds. Northern-driven and Northern-controlled humanitarian responses to displacement have received significant scholarly focus. As such, the ‘international humanitarian community’ has been depicted consistently as the dominant force in responding to the needs of the South.
The Global South Migration Lab through it’s “migration on the margins research initiative” aims to give due attention to Southern-led local, grassroots, and community responses to displacement and migration.