Hyab Yohannes

h.yohannes.1@research.gla.ac.uk 

Research title

The Plight of Eritrean Refugees in a Carceral Age

Research summary

Hyab completed a BA degree in Geography in Eritrea, a degree in Liberal Arts in Egypt, and an MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies at SOAS University of London, and he is currently a PhD student in the School of Education, University of Glasgow.

MA dissertation topic - Refugee Trafficking in a Carceral Age: A Case Study of the Sinai Trafficking. Drawing on Agamben’s political theory, Hyab explored the link between refugees’ status in modern political life and trafficking crimes committed against such persons. He argued that refugees are reduced to ‘bare life’—which, according to Agamben, is a form of life that can be killed with impunity—and examined the Sinai trafficking as a typical example of the dismay of this form of life in Agamben’s political theory. He scrutinized why the Sinai trafficking has gone unpunished, concluding that it is because its victims are refugees reduced to bare lives.

Currently, Hyab is working on his PhD project: The Plight of Eritrean Refugees in a Carceral Age. His PhD project focuses on the concept of ‘refugee’ as a progressively nascent figure of a-political life as opposed to the ‘citizen’. He thinks deconstruction of the binary ‘citizen’-‘bare life’ as the realm of rights (the former) versus a realm of a-political life (the latter) would blur the distinction between the two and put into question rights citizens take for granted. He suspects that the way the modern ‘nation-state’ is fashioned poses not only an imminent threat to ‘the refugee’ but also signals a danger to humanity in general. Moreover, he has a persistent curiosity to question modalities of punishment and control that are responsible not only for the creation of refugees but also for securitisation of their ‘unprotected status’ and its subsequent elimination from the political life.


Grants

Hyab currently holds UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts (CRILA) PhD Scholarship to undertake his research project “The Plight of Eritrean Refugees in a Carceral Age”. The scholarship covers tuition fees and provides stipend at the RCUK Stipend Level.


Conferences

Global Migration Conversations: AHRC ESRC Migration Leadership Team Event, Glasgow (14 Jan 2019) - a workshop reflecting on migration research, policy and practice in Scotland.

ENU Migration and Mobilities Research Network: Annual Conference 2019 (9-10 May 2019) - More information: https://www.mmrn.co.uk/mmrn-annual-conference-2019


Additional information

Hyab is an Eritrean refugee in the UK. In addition to his own ‘lived experience’, Hyab was stunned by the experiences of the refugees that he came across in his extensive work with them. Eight years of experience of working for humanitarian organisations and charities enriched his work experience as well as academic ambition. He worked with forced migrants who survived intolerable persecution in their home countries and continued to suffer from human trafficking, torture, and austerity elsewhere. He assisted these stigmatised and disenfranchised groups of people to explore their natural potential of resilience. Working in the sector, he handled diverse workplaces and interpersonal issues with promptness, sensitivity, discretion and with full regard for the rights and best interests of all the individuals he worked with.