International refugee protection appears as an important part of migration governance and a large number of asylum seekers and mixed flows in particular in the second half of 2015 and early 2016 have brought to a head the long-standing, underlying tensions in the EU asylum and international protection system.

There is not a straight-forward or exact definition of the term of international refugee protection, however, it constitutes a term upon which legal and political frameworks for the provision of rights for people and their status as asylum seekers and refugees are constructed. In general, international protection is mainly considered as the responsibility of states but in practice, other agents such as for example international, regional and national organizations and NGOs, as well as asylum seekers and refugees often play an important role. Recently, many ask whether the international refugee protection regime has not been relevant anymore, as countries fail to respect the two cornerstones of the international refugee protection regime: the right to seek asylum and the non-refoulement principle. Moreover, the refugee rights introduced in the Refugee Convention (1951) are not respected and/or downgraded by the hosting states while transnational initiatives seem inadequate to meet refugees’ basic needs and to protect them. All these developments deeply challenge core international norms, established standards and humanitarian values about refugee protection and refugees’ access to asylum systems.

This panel aims to discuss historical, theoretical and empirical issues on refugee protection and its internalization, externalization, and regionalization. It will explore the role of norms, values, and regulations which construct the global, European and other regional regimes of protection. It will also discuss the latest developments and difficulties related to the formulation of a common system for asylum policies and gaps in the implementation of protection policies among different states and among different agents. Moreover, it will investigate perceptions, experience, and actions of asylum seekers and refugees about protection as a part of self-reliance and the relevance of resilience theme in the refugee protection.

The panel will explore how the international refugee protection governance may be translated into a functional EU asylum system and sharing of responsibilities among the EU, individual Member States, hosting countries and beyond Europe. In addition, it will elaborate on how international refugee protection policies and practices in the EU and beyond have changed since 2011, with a particular emphasis on case studies on how refugee protection has been shaped, and by whom and how citizens and refugees responded.

Abstracts & bios

PANEL 3A – Country Cases on International Protection

Chair: N. Ela Gökalp Aras

The Impact of the Syrian Refugee Crisis on Turkey’s State Capacity

Kıvanç Ulusoy, Istanbul University

This article focuses on the implications of the migration crisis caused by the Syrian civil war on Turkey’s ‘state capacity’. The civil war required Turkey to respond to a humanitarian crisis. The ‘open door policy’ followed by Turkey since April 2011 brought the influx of people seeking protection and humanitarian assistance. This policy was replaced by a policy of border protection in 2016. The massive problems caused by migration from Syria will occupy Turkey’s political agenda in the coming years. In addition to providing the scale of ‘social question’ that Turkey faces as a result of the Syrian crisis, this chapter deals with the dimensions of state response, including policy alternatives for Turkey.


Kıvanç Ulusoy, Professor of Political Science at the Istanbul University. He was previously a Fulbright Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School (2012-2013), a Jean Monnet Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute in Florence (2003-2004) and a fellow at the Madrid Diplomatic School (1996-1997). His areas of research include regime change and democratization, Turkish politics and foreign policy, Spanish politics, American foreign policy and foreign policy of Israel. Dr. Ulusoy has conducted studies at the Departments of Political Science and International Relations in various universities such as the Middle East Technical University, Bogazici University and Sabanci University in Turkey; Granada University in Spain; Stockholm University in Sweden; Tsukuba University in Japan; and Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. Some of his recent publications include “Special Issue: Geopolitics of Conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean”, The Journal of Balkans and the Near East, Vol. 18, No. 4, (2016); Conflict and Prosperity: Geopolitics and Energy in the Eastern Mediterranean, (together with Andreas Stergiou and Menahem Blondheim), (Jerusalem: Israeli Academic Press, 2017).

Welcome on our terms: The Emergency Relocation Scheme in Portugal (2015-2018)

Luís Bernardo, University of Lisbon

In 2015, the recently-elected Portuguese Prime-Minister, António Costa, publicly committed to welcoming 4674 asylum-seekers relocated under the Emergency Relocation Scheme (ERS) established by the European Agenda on Migration. Shortly thereafter, an additional commitment was made: Portugal would be open to welcoming 10000 individuals. A multi-agency task-force on the European Agenda on Migration was established, signaling a breakdown in the dominant policy field settlement. This paper investigates the aftermath of that commitment. In a low refugee-intake country, what were the consequences of this hybrid policy shock? Most research on the Portuguese case focuses on the lived experience of refugees with regard to the world of work, healthcare and language tuition. This paper investigates the policy structure of asylum in Portugal and asks to what extent does the abovementioned breakdown of dominant settlements explain both an insistence on the relative success of integration management, as suggested in numerous international outlets, and observable secondary mobility. By framing at the Portuguese asylum policy system as a multilevel strategic action field, this papers seeks to assess how the emergence of new stakeholders imbalanced existing institutional logics and questioned the underlying power structure. This is illustrated by the strengthened role of the Portuguese High-Commissioner’s Office for Migration, a public agency traditionally entrusted with public policy coordination in migration, as a counterbalance to the Portuguese Aliens and Border Service, which operated as the internal governance unit in the asylum system. In investigating institutional dynamics, this paper employs a process-tracing and theory-building case study approach to build a field-theoretical, discursive-institutionalist account of the dominant narrative of Portuguese migration management as a benign, forward-thinking paradigm. The outcome of ERS in Portugal suggests that institutional innovation, instead of retrenchment, led to inconclusive results.


Luís Bernardo holds a PhD in Sociology from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin with a dissertation on religious diversity governance in hospitals. He is currently a research officer at the Lisbon School of Management and Economics, where he conducts research on multistakeholder engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals framework. Previously, he worked as a project manager with the Portuguese Refugee Council from 2016 to 2018. In that condition, he engaged with over two hundred asylum-seekers as a case officer and developed integration programmes partnerships with local authorities throughout Portugal.

A silent shout under a system of international (de)protection: timelines, space and a positioning

Joana Sousa Ribeiro, University of Coimbra

International protection intends to be a post-war society response towards the guarantee of human rights and the ontological security. In a turbulent era, where the seeking of human dignity is under any international migration flows, several challenges regarding the international protection instrument are being in question. The European context is one of the important frames of this socio-political scenario. In this vein, this geopolitical order has a solidarity and a responsibility role to accomplish, having in mind its colonial past and military participation in conflict zones. This paper is addressing the multiple challenges that the system is facing, mostly post-2014, considering namely a timeline of events. Moreover, it explores a specific case-study – Portugal –, a country that despite not being in the frontline of the geographical reception is an important State-actor in the political reception. Indeed, Portugal is participating in all the international admission mechanisms, being them the EU internal mechanisms of protection (relocation), the UNHCR international mechanisms (resettlement), the Mediterranean rescue initiatives and by the creation of a global student’s platform in order to sustain the higher education for the Syrians generation affected by the war. Besides that, the figures regarding asylum seekers and refugee’s status acquisition are quite low and the inclusion experiences are locally-based and institutionally dispersed, which reveals the emergence of other relevant non-State actors in the process.
The Portuguese case supports the positioning that solidarity and responsibility are not enough. Indeed, an integrative international response is lacking, especially considering the involuntariness of the migration dynamics. Therefore, the paper not only questions the accuracy of the term `international protection` but also it advocates the urgency for a multilateral political answer. The 533 deaths, reported by the IOM Missing project just this year, are a silent shout. The human life emergence impels us, as scholars and socially responsible scientists, to make them audible.


Joana Sousa Ribeiro is a researcher at the Centre for Social Studies (CES) and a PhD student in Sociology at the School of Economics, University of Coimbra, Portugal. She co-cordinates the Inter-Thematic Migration Group and she is a member of NHUMEP Research Group (Humanities, Migration and Peace Studies) at CES. With other two colleagues, she coordinates an IMISCOE (International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion) research network group - YAMEC Network - that focuses on issues of mobility of young adults and the economic crisis.

The Serbia system of refugee camps: new geographies of care and control

Claudio Minca, Macquarie University, Australia | Danica Santic, University of Belgrade |  Dragan Umek, University of Trieste

Since the arrival of almost one million refugees along the so called Western Balkan Route in 2015-2016 the Serbian government has established a comprehensive system of asylum centres and refugee camps to support and provide humanitarian aid to the populations crossing its territory to reach the EU. Serbia has therefore played in the region a role of soft power, since having been far more inclined than its neighbouring countries to provide temporary hospitality to the refugees. However, this network of camps and asylum centres has also allowed the government to exercise important forms of direct and indirect control over those informal mobilities, while at the same time to implicitly renegotiate its geopolitical position in Europe and in particular in relation to the EU. This presentation therefore intends to discuss how such politics of humanitarian care and control has been implemented by the Serbian authorities and how this has changed the political geographies of the Balkans related to the constant presence of new migrants arriving from this informal corridor/route.


Claudio Minca is a a human geographer with strong interest in cultural and political theory. My main research projects have focused on the geographies of tourism and travel and on the spatial theories of modernity, including conceptualizations of landscape, place and power. I have also written extensively on the relationship between space and biopolitics, with a particular focus on the work of philosopher Giorgio Agamben and legal theorist Carl Schmitt. In empirical terms, my work has been on Trieste (cosmopolitanism, border thinking, geographies of absence), Morocco (postcolonial geographies of travel) and the Mediterranean more broadly. Recently I have been focusing on camp and carceral geographies, with a particular focus on the archipelago of refugee camps in the Balkan region.                                                                             

Danica Šantić is Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Belgrade, Serbia. Her main fields of research are migration and population geography. She is presently involved in several international projects focused on migration in Europe.

Dragan Umek is Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Trieste. His research interest centres on historical cartography, human and cultural geography with a particular focus on the Balkans. He has extensively investigated the "return and relocation" of refugees in former Yugoslavia and, more recently, the migration flows along the "Balkan Route" and the widespread hospitality for asylum seekers and refugees in Italy.

From ‘transit’ to ‘host’ country?: Examining refugee protection in Indonesia

Irna Nurlina, Singapore University of Technology and Design

As the global climate towards migrants and refugees becomes more hostile, overall support for them in the Western countries has declined substantially. This has manifested in the rise of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee movements, as well as policy and budget changes towards accepting migrants and refugees. Yet in some cities around the world, refugees are able to thrive in the supposed transitory communities in which they find themselves. What explains the different attitudes and reception towards refugees in democratic and multicultural countries with a long history of migration? In the case of Indonesia, which is a source, transit, and host country at the same time, refugees in transit increasingly find themselves unable to leave and resettle elsewhere as resettlement destinations tighten their immigration policies, making Indonesia an unwitting host country. There are people living in immigration detention centres and also camping outside on the streets. Yet there are also some who find refuge in local communities. What does the local community in which the refugees are accepted look like? Through a case study of a non-western democracy which is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations refugee convention, I examine the nascent mechanisms of integration in the midst of rising anti-refugee sentiments in various Indonesian cities where refugees are situated. Integration efforts have made the most headway in education for refugee children. I analyse what this signifies for participation of refugees in creating solutions and what the implications are for the relationship between the refugees and the local communities in which they are embedded. I find that the role of refugees in integration is crucial and the local community has a huge influence on how the refugees are enabled, or hindered, in ameliorating their interminable “illegal migrant” status.


Irna Nurlina Masron is currently a research associate at the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities, Singapore University of Technology and Design where she researches on urbanization and internal migration in Southeast Asia, and management of sociopolitical diversity in Singapore. She holds a Master and Bachelor of Social Sciences in Political Science from the National University of Singapore. Her research interests include comparative immigration policy and state-society relations in Asia.

“We don’t want refuges on our doorstep”: The politics of healthcare and older Syrian refugees in Jordan

Sigrid Lupieri, University of Cambridge

Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria in 2011, an estimated 670,000 registered Syrian refugees have arrived in Jordan. And while all refugees have been struggling to access services—particularly healthcare services—older refugees face additional challenges such as poorer health, restricted mobility, and social isolation. Despite several mentions of the health needs of older Syrian refugees within the 2017-2019 Jordan Response Plan, a document which outlines Jordan’s short-term development objectives, interviews among policy-makers and humanitarian responders have consistently shown gaps between policy and implementation. Some of the reasons which emerged from my research to account for these gaps include an amalgam of factors including the availability of data, geopolitical interests, and a disproportionate concern for security among donors and state institutions.

This paper analyses how transnational and national state interests have affected policy decisions on health care resources for older Syrian refugees in Jordan. Drawing from elements of securitization theory, in particular in regard to the securitization of health, this paper explores how discursive practices of the government and international donors have affected health policy development for refugees and, ultimately, the allocation of health care resources to older Syrian refugees. While several strands of literature have analysed national policy decisions affecting health care, few studies have emphasised the importance of transnational influences in particular with a view to securitization dynamics in the construction of a health and refugee ‘crisis’. More specifically, an analysis of funding flows into Jordan over the past two decades provides a more in-depth understanding of how the politics of ‘catastrophisation’ undertaken both by the Jordanian state and international institutions have led to a heightened presence of donors, UN aid agencies, and international financial institutions providing means-tested healthcare funding and services to refugees and Jordanians


As a PhD candidate at the Centre of Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, my research investigates the international politics of refugee protection with a focus on healthcare, aging, and social policies in the Middle East. My previous experience includes working at UNESCO in New Delhi and UNDP in New York, as well as several years as a journalist in Armenia, Georgia, Germany and the U.S. I hold master’s degrees in journalism (Northwestern University) and modern European history (University of Cambridge), and a BA (Hons.) in foreign languages and literatures (University of Udine).

PANEL 3B – Governance of Protection and Burden Sharing

Chair: Zeynep Şahin Mencütek

A Fair Distribution of Refugees in the European Union

Nils Holtug, University of Copenhagen

In light of the large recent inflow of refugees to the EU and the Commission’s efforts to relocate them, I raise the question of what a fair distribution of refugees between EU countries would look like. More specifically, I consider what concerns such a distributive scheme should be sensitive to. I consider how the intake into the EU should be distributed between member states, that is, the shares different countries can be expected to admit. I discuss the relevance of a number of different factors that may be claimed to affect such shares, including population size, GDP, number of refugees admitted so far, unemployment rate, country-specific costs and cultural ‘closeness’. Finally, I consider whether the distributive scheme should be restricted to reflect specific states’ responsibility for creating refugees in the first place, levels of racism and xenophobia, and whether other states are required to pick up the slack if some refuse to admit their fair share.


Nils Holtug, Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and PI for UCPH in RESPOND.

Following the refugee relocation scheme: Ideological interpretations of inter­state responsibility in Romania

Raluca Bejan, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB

The number of irregular migrant entries within the European Union (EU) increased by 546% in 2015. Sea arrivals totalled 1,015,078 in 2015, 362,753 in 2016 and 172,301 in 2017 (UNHCR, 2018). No workable policy has addressed this humanitarian crisis­ partially because the deep divisions existent within the EU vis­à­vis the local implementation of the proposed relocation system. This project presents on preliminary interview data that explores how Romanian policy makers and elected representatives interpret the idea of interstate shared responsibility in relation to the EU’s relocation system for internally re­distributing refugees. Following the 2015 levels of irregular migrant entries to Greece, Italy and Hungary, the European Commission (EC) adopted two procedural decisions intended to transfer 120,000 people in need of international protection from the aforementioned ‘burdened’ nations to the least affected Member States. A distribution key was apportioned between the 28 states on several indicators: GDP (40%), population size (40%), unemployment rate (10%) and past numbers of asylum seekers applications (10%) (EC, 2015). The relocation decisions stirred an outspoken political brawl with a pair of states (i.e., Slovakia and Hungary) bringing their complaints to the European Court. The scholarly research on relocation is scarce. Most literature engages with analytical dialogues on responsibility-­sharing mechanisms, on various distributive scenarios, or on the norms of fairness grounding these schemes. There is no empirical data on ideological interpretations of intra­-EU solidarity efforts as they particularly pertain to the local implementation of the relocation scheme. This paper will discuss how distributive ideas and ideals of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility are understood within the political and legislative context in Romania and will explore what constitutes a fair distributive mechanism in the development of interstate responsibility sharing in matters of asylum and migration management. Findings will advance heterodox conceptualizations of responsibility­ sharing within the EU. A future workable relocation system will lead to fewer interstate frictions and will better support asylum seekers with service provision and care arrangements within the host countries.


Raluca Bejan started her position as an Assistant Professor at St. Thomas University in July 2018. She has a PhD and an MSW from University of Toronto, and a BA in Political Sciences from the Lucian Blaga University, Faculty of Law, Romania. Raluca held two visiting academic appointments at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford, UK, in 2016 and 2018. Raluca regularly writes for (Ottawa, ON) and she previously contributed opinion pieces to TelesurTV (Caracas, Venezuela), Verfassungsblog | On Matters Constitutional (Berlin, Germany) and LeftEast/CriticAtac (Bucharest, Romania). In 2018 Raluca co-directed a documentary film on the Greek refugee crisis, titled Trace. It was filmed on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, and in Athens, Greece.

Functional Cooperation Between the EU and Turkey: Migration Governance and the New Dynamics

Elif Süm, Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences

Since the beginning of the ‘refugee crisis’ in 2011, Turkey has become an important international actor for cooperation in the field of migration. Despite the salience of the issue, the research on the EU’s external migration governance on the Turkish case was so mainly limited to the securitization aspect; especially on the asylum and migration policies that emphasize the efforts to manage irregular crossings to the EU. However, the aftermath of the EU-Turkey Statement, the distribution of the funding provided by the EU, success and efficiency of the projects that are being conducted, along with the degree of (non)compliance with rules and terms agreed upon the agreements remain highly unknown. In this respect, this study takes a multi-level perspective on the EU’s external migration governance approach to Turkey. It looks at the migration sector and tries to explain the extent to which the development aid provided by the EU through the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRIT) is used efficiently at both national and local layers of governance, and what this sort of new cooperation means for the EU-Turkey relations. Based on the fieldwork interviews, this paper presents an analysis of Turkey’s migration governance and maps out existing developments together with the main challenges of the sectoral functional cooperation between these two actors.


Elif Süm is a Doctoral Researcher at Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences (BAGSS). She is working on the impact of the refugee crisis on EU-Turkey relations and the migration governance in Turkey. Her research project is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Bilkent University on International Relations and a Master’s degree from Middle East Technical University on European Studies. She previously worked as a research assistant for the ‘FEUTURE’ Project and contributed on the focal issue of asylum and irregular migration in Work Package 6 on Migration.

Responsibility-sharing in refugee protection: Lessons from climate policy

Philipp Lutz, University of Geneva | Anna Stünzi, ETH Zurich | Stefan Manser-Egli, University of Neuchâtel

The governance of international refugee protection is a collective action problem due to the public good characteristics of providing humanitarian protection. With a growing number and diversity of people seeking protection and continuous failure of Western states to establish effective responsibility-sharing, the criteria for responsibility allocation became an important policy issue, in particular within the European Union. Most reform proposals include a distribution of responsibilities among states. There have been very limited scholarly efforts to comprehensively study such allocation criteria. Compared to that, there is broad literature on the allocation of climate change mitigation responsibility - a second major challenge for the international community. In this paper, we map established approaches from both the literature on collective action related to climate change mitigation as well as migration ethics to derive functional and normative criteria for the allocation of responsibility for refugee admission among states. In addition, we introduce the agency and self-reliance of refugees as an intervening factor in the responsibility allocation. Our typology of responsibility-sharing in asylum policy provides important insights into the allocation mechanisms for state responsibility and offers guidance for redesigning a common European asylum system.


Philipp Lutz is a PhD Candidate and Research Assistent in Political Science at the University of Bern (till April 2019) and Post-Doc Researcher at the University of Geneva (from May 2019) as well as Fellow of the national science programme 'nccr on the move' at the University of Neuchatel. In 2018, he was a visiting researcher at the European University Institute (EUI) in Italy. His interests cover comparative migration policy, asylum governance and political behaviour.

Anna Stünzi is a Phd candidate at the Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich. Inter alia, her research covers the application of equity principles to determine climate change mitigation and climate finance responsibilies.

Stefan Manser-Egli is a doctoral researcher and teaching assistant at the Maison d’analyse des processus sociaux (MAPS) in transnational studies at the University of Neuchâtel. He is associated to the ‘nccr – on the move’, the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) for migration and mobility studies. His main fields of interest are migration ethics, citizenship, ‘integration’ and gender.

Which form of humanitarian protection to “economic migrants”? Rethinking migration regulation    

Andrea De Petris, Università Internazionale di Roma – UNINT

The definition of “economic migrant” usually serves to justify readmission agreements and policies against the so-called “illegal immigration”. Since they do not match the requisites for being qualified as “refugees” according to the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees, they are consequently considered as “economic migrants” and therefore treated as “illegal migrants”.
However, the Geneva Convention is not the only one to apply in this field. Both the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants grants a minimum standard of protection and fundamental rights to all migrants and their families regardless of their legal status. Also the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights oblige all its member States to secure some specific basic freedoms to all migrants under their jurisdiction, regardless of their nationality or legal status.
Relying of these international legal frameworks, the paper aims at verifying if the alleged difference between refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants can still be justified nowadays: in fact, in times of climate change and environmental disasters, it seems reasonable to check if those persons who move for so-called “economic reasons” can still be considered as “second class” migrants, since they result deprived of certain fundamental rights as well as those who are framed as refugees or are entitled to other forms of international protection. The paper investigates which form of international protection could be granted to migrants regardless of their specific legal status, and evaluates if economic migrants can rely on fundamental rights also according to the Constitutions of some EU Member States, so like on European legal provisions possibly able to acknowledge their cases as deserving possible forms of protection.


Andrea De Petris, Assistant Professor in Constitutional Law. He has been Assistant Professor in Comparative Public Law at Università LUISS, Rome (2008-2014). He is teaching "Introduction to Italian Law and Italian Legal Language" at the Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf. He has been Fulbright Research Fellow at University of California, Irvine (2002) and DAAD Stipendiat at Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf (2001) and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (2010). He is member of the Executive Board of the DAAD Alumni Italia and of the Accademia “Diritto e Società Multiculturali”, section “Migrazioni e Traffici Illegali”, within the Università della Tuscia, Viterbo.


Chair: Electra Petrakou

Between Tokenism and Self-Representation: Refugee-Led Advocacy and Inclusion in International Policy

Haqqi Bahram, Linköping University

Large movement of migrants and refugees is a historical reality that has often been responded to by short-term policies that are designed by states and essentially sustain states’ interests. In spite of growing regional and international cooperation towards developing mechanisms to manage large movements of people, policy approaches have often failed to be inclusive of all concerned stakeholders. Within existing structures of international policy formation, migrants and refugees, as the stakeholders best placed to inform about their own experiences and needs, have not always been involved or included in meaningful ways. Recently, there have been increasing efforts at the international level to make migrants and refugees’ inclusion in policy more meaningful and shift away from tokenism forms. This article describes this recent configuration through the two processes of drafting the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact for Migration (GCM). Drawing on the experience of one refugee-led initiative, the Network for Refugee Voice (NRV), in attending the drafting course of the GCR, the author analyses the refugee-led advocacy approach to attaining meaningful participation and representation at higher political platforms, including United Nations organisations. Methodologically, the article examines NRV members’ experience of advocating for refugee inclusion against a background of recent international interest in refugees’ meaningful participation. The analysis identifies the achievements that refugee advocates have made, as well as the challenges they face highlighting the gaps and opportunities for a more inclusive international refugee policy.


Haqqi Bahram is a PhD student at the Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society (REMESO) at Linköping University, Sweden. In his doctoral project, he focuses on the legacy of statelessness in relation to forced migration and identity formation. Haqqi holds a master’s degree in Ethnic and Migration Studies and he has previously worked as a senior program officer with several humanitarian organizations in Syria. Besides pursuing his PhD study, Haqqi is passionately interested in conducting research on social inclusion, refugee activism and refugee-led advocacy.

In the Borders of Exception: An Inquiry into the journey of Syrian asylum seekers to Europe through Turkey

Hatice Asena Karacalti, independent scholar

The paths of the Syrian asylum seekers towards Europe often include a stay in third countries due to being subjected to the various border regimes prolonging the movement, especially in the peripheries of the Europe. Turkey, having the largest population of Syrian asylum seekers, have long become the focus of this multi-staged journey. Based on the in-depth interviews with the Syrian asylum seekers who lived in Turkey for at least one year before departing to Europe, this research aims to provide a legal and political map of this journey to Europe and offer an analysis on the decision to leave Turkey. In this regard, the emphasis on the exceptionality of the refugeeness is examined along with the isomorphic changes in the asylum systems of Turkey and Europe.  Using an anthropological lens, the study explores the enlarging space of exception where solely the states and their auxiliaries can act without any restriction or supervision and shows how Syrian asylum seekers navigate through the dynamic asylum systems with frequent reference to their narratives on the ever-changing political, legal and societal perspectives on refugees.


Hatice Asena Karacalti is a researcher on transit experiences of migrant and refugee populations and political violence in the Middle East. She holds an MSc in Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and a BA in Law. She has over five years of professional experience as a lawyer and as an expert in migration and asylum organizations. She is currently working as a senior researcher for an international project of armed conflict data analysis with a special focus on Turkey and Middle East. In the long term, she is aiming to enlarge her research on transnational movements of Syrian asylum seekers and at this stage, she is seeking to increase her academic encounters.

The ‘Deterrence Paradigm’ and Unaccompanied Children: International Protection and the reframing of Child refugee resilience

Diego Castillo Goncalves, Trinity College Dublin

This paper looks at how migration governance through deterrence measures has restructured the boundaries of refugee resilience in the context of unaccompanied children seeking international protection. It does so by taking a close look at the so called ‘Deterrence paradigm’, investigating the indicators of what I refer to as ‘Internal’ deterrence policies, demonstrably manifested in the emergence of securitisation as a norm response to the plight of children on the move. The paper adopts a framework resulted of discussions found in the refugee protection and children’s rights literature.Part I theorises the origins of Deterrence within the international protection context, describing the indicators of states’ deterrent measures as they came to evolve, making sense of their influence in shaping the current legal and policy paradigm in the child refugee context. It conceptualises between the different types of Deterrence, namely, Internal and External, Procedural and Substantive. Part II adopts the analysed ‘deterrence’ framework to the plight of children seeking protection, contextualising the discourses to which unaccompanied children have been associated with (historically and currently). Part III utilises this framework to investigate, through a country-specific case study (Republic of Ireland), the manifestation of this paradigm in the procedural barriers experienced by unaccompanied children seeking protection post 2015-16 ‘crisis’, paying particular attention to how the manifestation of this paradigm has framed children’s rights and resilience regarding access to the procedure. I particularly investigate the impact of institutional developments and the role played by relevant actors in shaping these protection experiences. I conclude by arguing the current state of this ‘deterrence paradigm’ in the unaccompanied children protection landscape, whether there could be a challenge to this, and what values the scholarship may intake from further engaging with this framework.


Diego Castillo Goncalves is a doctoral researcher in the School of Law, Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Prior to undertaking his PhD, Diego worked as a Legal Advisor with Asylum Access Malaysia, and as the Children's and Young Persons' Officer with the Irish Refugee Council. He is currently engaged as a a Project Coordinator with Safe Haven Ireland, an Irish non-profit Organisation focusing on migrant and refugee youth integration. Diego's research interests include asylum, migration, terrorism studies and children's rights. He comes from an interdisciplinary academic background, having completed a Bachelor in Law and Business conferred by UFPEL, and a Masters in International Relations conferred by Dublin City University (DCU).

Protecting migrants distressed at sea by applying the ‘reasonable-grounds indication’ criteria established by the EU Trafficking Directive

Matilde Ventrella, Liverpool John Moores University

Many migrants and asylum seekers distressed at the sea are abandoned to their fate by EU Member States bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The Italian government has recently refused to disembark migrants and asylum seekers on its territory. They claimed that there is not solidarity within the EU and for this reason they are refusing to take responsibility over migrants and asylum seekers. Victims and potential victims of human trafficking can be on the boats with other migrants. EU Member States have the legal obligation to identify and protect them. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled that this legal obligation applies even when investigations on human trafficking have not been initiated as yet. The paper will explain when migrants distressed at the sea can become victims of human trafficking and when protection should be granted in order to include victims and potential victims. Subsequently, the paper will analyse the ECtHR case law and evaluate whether it has established the legal obligation to identify victims and potential victims outside the territory of Member States. The reasonable-grounds indication criteria included in the EU Trafficking Directive will also be analysed. In the paper, I will argue that the application of the reasonable-grounds indication criteria outside the EU Member States’ territory could prove effective in identifying and protecting victims and potential victims of human trafficking. I will conclude that the Court of Justice of the European Union should clarify how to interpret the ‘reasonable-grounds indication’ criteria established by the EU Trafficking Directive. They should rule on whether it has extended the identification and protection of victims and potential victims extraterritorially. An interpretation in that direction could be a significant step forward the recognition of the extraterritorial scope of the European Convention on Human Rights to victims and potential victims of human trafficking.


Matilde Ventrella, Senior Lecturer in Law at Liverpool John Moores University. Matilde has a PhD in law from the University of Birmingham.  Matilde's research focuses mainly on human trafficking and people smuggling.  She has written extensively on these two topics. Matilde has undertaken socio-legal research in the area of human trafficking and on how to identify vicitms and potential victims of this crime.    Matilde is particularly interested in migration management in the Mediterranean Sea and on EU Member States' responsibility on search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea.

“Safety”: where and for whom? Debating the differentiated rights to safety in EU asylum policies through the EU-Afghanistan Joint Way Forward

Panagiota - Penny Koutrolikou, National Technical University of Athens

The recent refugee “crisis” has been hegemonically described more as a crisis that Europe is facing, rather than acknowledging the causes that urge these numbers of people to flee their homelands. A constantly shifting terrain of EU regulations regarding migration and asylum have further exacerbated the difficulties of those migrating to Europe. This legal-political terrain concerns rights of movement and resettlement but, significantly, it is structured around discourses concerning safety as well as around divisions among those seeking refuge. In the context of an unresolved economic crisis and growing Islamophobia, these discourses of safety result in multiple divisions among ‘deserving’ and ‘underserving’ Others; among ‘deserving asylum-seekers’ and ‘undeserving migrants’ mostly based on changing categorizations of what consists a ‘safe’ place of origin or to return. Besides the forthcoming common European list of safe countries of origin, other agreements between the EU and specific countries define additional countries and/or places as safe for asylum-seekers to return. This has been the case with the recently signed "The EU-Afghanistan Joint Way Forward on Migration issues" (2016), which promises increased ‘assistance’ and development aid to Afghanistan with the precondition that the country will accept its deported nationals. Up to now, this agreement resulted in rapidly increasing deportations of Afghan nationals from European countries back to areas designated as ‘safe’ in Afghanistan, irrespective of the situation in the country and the high number of bomb explosions that shocked the country. Through the examination of which places are judged as safe and for whom in the case of Afghan asylum seekers, this presentation aims to unpack the contested notions of safety and its ‘deserving subjects’ and its impact on rights.


Panagiota - Penny Koutrolikou is an Assistant Professor in Urban Studies and Planning at the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece. She holds a Diploma in Architecture (NTUA), a MA in Sociology (Goldsmiths College, UK) and a PhD in Planning Studies (UCL, UK). Her research interests include questions of hegemony, crisis and governance; discourse analysis of politics, media and policies; inter-group relations in multicultural cities; and socio-spatial justice. She has contributed book chapters to edited book collections and co-organised several international conferences and workshops.