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Discussion Group

Home and Away: The Crime of Asylum

Policy Leader Fellows Talk

Add to calendar 2021-05-04 13:30 2021-05-04 15:00 Europe/Rome Home and Away: The Crime of Asylum Emeroteca Badia Fiesolana YYYY-MM-DD


04 May 2021

13:30 - 15:00 CEST



Badia Fiesolana

Please join the Policy Leader Fellows in their talks about their work in progress.

In this session, the Fellows will discuss 'Home and Away: The Crime of Asylum'.

Discussant: Prof. Kalypso Nicolaïdis


Hani Okasheh, Shrinking Protection Spaces in Countries of Origin

Omer Shatz, Migration of Responsibility & Criminality: From States to Individuals

Asylum seekers face considerable challenges from the moment they leave their homes, forcefully or otherwise. These challenges include inadequate access to basic rights including life, security, dignity, liberty, physical and mental integrity. Poor living conditions and mistreatment in states of first arrival and transit drive asylum seekers to pursue unsafe options. This includes risky journeys across the Mediterranean to reach Europe, which they perceive to be safe. Since 2014, more than 20,000 civilians have reportedly killed by drowning en route to Europe, turning the Mediterranean to the deadliest migratory route worldwide. Those who survived this attack, more than 60,000 persons, were intercepted, forcibly transferred back and detained in concentration camps-like conditions. 

These journeys are increasingly riskier because of intentional, deterrence-based policies aimed to prevent departure or arrival at all costs. These policies target people on the move along the migratory routes from the countries of asylum. The very same European countries considered to be safe haven, are using violent measures to risk the lives of persons in need of protection. 

The first part of the session (‘Home’) will focus on the shrinking protection spaces for Syrian refugees in countries of first asylum, explaining how a number of factors accelerated the deterioration of humanitarian conditions for Syrian refugees in Jordan during the past year. The second part (‘AWAY’) will focus on countries of destination, depicting EU policies in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean and policies implemented by its organs, including its border agency FRONTEX. 

HOME: Shrinking protection spaces for Syrians in Jordan

A mixture of dwindling funds, poor public policy planning and a sweeping pandemic sent displaced Syrians in the Middle East into a downward spiral. Combined with the shrinking protection spaces in countries of first asylum, the coronavirus outbreak has disproportionately affected Syrian refugees; eroding traditional social safety networks and increasing refugees’ vulnerability. In the face of these challenges, Syrians find themselves compelled to make risky choices, especially in the absence of safe durable solutions to their displacement.

AWAY: Taking the EU to Court

Since June 2019, EU officials are suspected of crimes against humanity pursuant to EU policies in the Central Mediterranean and Libya. For the first time since WWII, European agents are implicated in atrocity crimes. For the first time ever, liberal democracies are committing international crimes outside an armed conflict. For the first time in history, civilians are targeted not based on who they are, but where they are.

The Eastern Mediterranean has also turned to a European crime scene. In the past year, more than 10,000 persons were intercepted, at sea and on land, forcibly transferred to and abandoned on unworthy boats in the middle of the sea. In February 2021, Front-LEX (NGO) initiated legal proceedings against Frontex, seeking the termination of these criminal policies. For the first time since its establishment 15 years ago, EU border agency is taken to Court over human right violations.  

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Meeting ID: 935 4049 4727

Passcode: 898412

If this event takes place in hybrid format, in person spots are fully reserved for PLFs.


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