POSTPONED! European Migration Law as an Imperial Project

  • Date: –18:00
  • Lecturer: Thomas Spijkerboer, Raoul Wallenberg Visiting Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund University
  • Organiser: Faculty of Law, Forum for Africa Studies, Göteborg/Lund/Uppsala Migration Law Network (GLUMIN), Uppsala Forum for Democracy, Peace and Justice, and CIRCUS
  • Contact person: Rebecca Stern
  • Föreläsning

The event is postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. New dates and venue TBA.

The 2015 'crisis' was not a crisis of number. Compared to their population, Turkey and Lebanon respectively faced ten and one hundred times more refugees than the EU. The chaos surrounding the reception of what in fact were limited numbers of refugees was caused by fundamental flaws in the Common European Asylum System, which critics had been pointing out for decades. Even after this first stress test of CEAS, the EU does not succeed in addressing these flaws. Instead, it relies on two governance strategies which are a continuation of colonial practices. The first one is to apply specific versions of law to formerly colonial populations reaching Europe. This can take the form of allowing for more infringements on human rights than is acceptable for European natives (think of the family life, the right to liberty in Article 5-1-f ECHR, as well as of the recent Strasbourg judgments in Ilias and Ahmed and N.D. and N.T.), or it can take the form of denying access to justice (as in the Luxembourg judgments on the EU-Turkey deal and humanitarian visa). The second strategy is seeking to impose its state-centered version of international migration law on states in Africa and the Middle East. By creating hard and soft international law (the Palermo Protocols, the global compacts) and by rolling out migration projects under the Emergency Trust Funds, Europe seeks to erase alternative conceptualisations of international law which prioritise the right to mobility over the state right to control migration, and replace it by the notion that according to well-estbalished international law, states have the right to control migration.

In his lecture, Spijkerboer will specifically address the implication of European academics in this imperial process, and our options for resisting such implication.

Thomas Spijkerboer is the Raoul Wallenberg Visiting Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Lund since November 2017, in addition to being professor of migration law at his home base, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His research is about border deaths; gender and sexuality in asylum law; the crisis of European refugee law; illegalized refugees; and the role of courts in migration law.