Border(lines) is a collective project that aims to explore the phenomenon of migration - its physical, political, legal, historical and human dimensions.
Latest podcast episode
Professors Everita Silina and Peter Hoffman discuss critical approaches to humanitarianism and the politics of aid work with refugees.
Islands of hope and exile.
Since the summer of 2015 the rocky islands in the North Aegean have come to symbolize the contradictions in the European response to the unfolding phenomenon of mass migration. But, long before they became a temporary home and often a prison to thousands of refugees and migrants, and spaces of interest to humanitarian actors, media and researchers, they had served as spaces of hope, longing and exile for many throughout centuries.
In this report, we analyze a particular problematic observed in Greece in the context of migration and refugee 'crisis': the legal bifurcation of the system of protection between the islands and the mainland.
We argue that, contrary to the claim of a broken refugee system the multiple policy responses and legal reconfigurations that have been implemented by asylum countries have succeeded in safeguarding the core principles of the international refugee law and have prevented it from actually failing. In that sense, the limited granting of international protection and long and extended processes for accessing it are mechanisms put in place to make the refugee regime more resilient to potentially unsettling mass migration.
The latter means continuing a system that successfully excludes people and grants the right to protection to only a few. For such, it relays on the creation of the refugee/economic migrant binary effectively denying the multiple causes of mobility, including mobility tied to a mass exodus.
Our analysis traces the EU policy response in the wake of the 2015 refugee influx and offers a critical reflection on the 'mobility paradox' that characterizes the broader international approach to refugee management.