This article explores the concept of mistrust amongst refugee populations by drawing on qualitative interviews with unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors living in the Republic of Ireland. The forced migration literature frequently makes reference to the difficulties that asylum seekers and refugees have in creating trusting relationships. However, little is known about the reasons for these difficulties, particularly reasons articulated by asylum seekers themselves. This article addresses this gap in the literature by exploring the reasons why these young people found it difficult to trust. The findings suggest five specific causes of the young people’s mistrust: past experiences; being accustomed to mistrust; being mistrusted by others; not knowing people well; and concerns about truth-telling. The findings suggest that the reasons for mistrust are embedded within the social contexts from which asylum seekers have come and that they are exacerbated by the social contexts in which they are now living. These reasons are discussed in relation to the literature. Implications for professionals and service providers are highlighted.
Published online before print in Journal of Refugee Studies 19 June 2013 by Oxford University Press, All rights reserved. © Muireann Ní Raghallaigh)
Source: Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol. 27, Issue 1, March 2014. First published online: 19 June 2013 by Oxford University Press.