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The Social Life of the First Reception Regime: Human rights, dignity and hospitality on irregular migrant maritime routes into the EU

Contact person: Daniela DeBono
Responsible: Daniela DeBono
Co-workers: Scientific Advisors: Professor Maja Povrzanović Frykman, Department of Global Political Studies, Malmö University, Professor Anna Triandafyllidou, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and European University Institute Florence
Partner: Global Governance Programme, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Florence
Funding: COFAS, Marie Curie Forte Outgoing International Fellowship
Timeframe: 2016-01-01 -- 2019-12-31
Research profile: Migrationsprofilen
Research programme: Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare
Faculty/Department: Faculty of Culture and Society, Global Political Studies, Faculty of Culture and Society
Subject: Tvärvetenskap

Alongside the increase in EU border control, there are efforts by the European Union (EU) and its Member States to mainstream human rights principles in external border control and in the construction of fair asylum systems. The safeguarding of human rights is critically important for migrants, especially at first reception and in border activity when migrants are at their most vulnerable physically, legally and politically, socio-culturally and economically. The responsibility for ensuring that the dignity and human rights of the migrants are safeguarded is recognised by the EU and its Member States. First reception activity is officially regulated by four sets of policies and procedures, which are usually conducted within a few days or weeks. These are rescue at sea, immigration, reception/detention and asylum procedures. They are policies that involve a vast range of stakeholders and, as such, the complex interactions between their activities need to be carefully managed in order for the whole first reception system to function.

Research has so far focused on the analysis of policy and institutions, but not so much on what happens on the ground. This project proposes to contribute to these efforts by examining the treatment of irregular migrants in the first reception systems of Italy and Malta. These are two countries which lie on the Central Mediterranean Maritime Route, an important route for irregular entry into the EU. Whereas there have been few maritime arrivals in Malta in the last years, Italy triggered the EU hotspot approach to help in processing irregular maritime migrants. 

This study aims to produce both ethnographic descriptions of the everyday implementation of the reception activity on the ground, and also critical approaches to the mainstreaming of human rights at the border. It also seeks to contribute towards discussions on the controversial use of detention at entry of all arrivals which is the premise up on which first reception is enacted. This is done through long term and multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork.

The outcome of this independent academic project, funded by EU Marie Curie research funds, is the publication of articles in academic journals.

Senast uppdaterad av Angela Bruno Andersen