Our research looks critically, and from a variety of perspectives, at state responses to people seeking asylum. It aims to understand how state policies affect access to international protection and identify potential human rights concerns.
Explore a selection of our past projects here:
This work was presented at the Third Business and Human Rights Scholars Conference at Santa Clara University in September 2017 and was published in 2019 in the special issue on Business, Human Rights and Security of the Business and Human Rights Journal. In April 2019, Daria was also invited to contribute to the Expert Meeting on Gender and Private Military and Security Companies, organised by the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries.
With a sharp rise in deaths at sea, the long summer of migration of 2015 marked a crucial point for setting the tone of the political discourse and development of law and policy in this area. Reflected also in the launch of the European Agenda on Migration in May of the same year, the external dimensions of European Union (EU) migration policy have been advanced and have continued to disclose a concerning focus on preventing migration, mainly through an increase in externalisation policies and privatisation of migration control.
This latter trend of outsourcing migration control operations has spread to a number of areas, including those related to deportations and removals, housing, visa processing, transport, detention of asylum seekers and security of reception and processing centres across Europe and overseas as well as the procurement of digital technologies for entry/exit systems at the border.
Development Aid and Migration
This project was carried out in collaboration with Professor La Chimia, and examines the external dimension of the European Agenda on Migration. It focuses in particular on the use of development aid as part of bilateral agreements with third countries to enhance cooperation on migration. The project analyses the implications of these agreements from the perspective of both development aid and international protection, through fieldwork in Afghanistan, Sudan and in Europe.
This work was presented in November 2017 at the international workshop 'Tackling Root Causes? Aid and Governance to Control Migration' organised in Nottingham by the Forced Migration Unit.
The European Agenda on Migration
A study of the European Agenda on Migration from a theoretical and philosophical perspective, using the work of Foucault, Agamben and Esposito (amongst others) to critique the measures adopted in response to the European refugee 'crisis' and to challenge the humanitarian language deployed in implementing these harmful measures. This work was presented by Dr Davitti at the Sixth Annual Junior Faculty Forum for International Law 2017, organised by Professor Anne Orford, Professor Dino Kritsiotis and Professor Joseph Weiler, and published in February 2019 in the European Journal of International Law.
Guiding Refugees via European Exchange and Training (GREET)
In September 2018, Laura Wills, HRLC Researcher and Forced Migration Unit Member, joined the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Brussels for the first peer learning (PLA) activity of their GREET Project. GREET is funded under the Horizon 2020 Science4Refugees call and aims to contribute to the integration of highly skilled refugees in European higher education.
This event brought together experts from nine European countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden and the UK) to identify promising practices that facilitate the integration of highly skilled refugees in higher education institutions. Laura Wills moderated a breakout session regarding entering university as a refugee student. The session identified and addressed barriers faced by refugee students when entering the student cycle. Findings will be disseminated at the EU and national levels via a stakeholder meeting and webinars.
FMU Policy Brief Series
On 7-8 November 2017, the Forced Migration Unit convened a workshop on Tackling Root Causes? EU Aid and Governance to Control Migration. The workshop brought together scholars, non-governmental organisations, policy and lawmakers to discuss the nexus between EU development policies and EU migration policies, and their broader legal and political implications.
During the workshop, discussions were centred around the EU’s response to the European refugee ‘crisis’ and its increasingly intensified approach to the external dimensions of its migration policy, that has been particularly prevalent following the launch of the European Agenda on Migration in May 2015.
In this continually evolving context, workshop participants decided to form a network and collaborate to create the FMU Policy Brief Series. This series will address the topics covered during workshop and will respond to further developments in these areas. It is intended for the briefs to be used by scholars, practitioners and NGOs whilst carrying out their work and in particular to contribute towards lobbying against harmful practices.
Policy Brief 02/2018
Why Securitising the Sahel Will Not Stop Migration
By Daria Davitti and Anca-Elena Ursu
This brief examines the political and military interventions in the Sahel by the EU and its Member States, aimed mainly at the securitisation of this key strategic region. Within this context the brief focuses on the implications of the recent escalation of these policies for Niger and for the vulnerable people who found themselves stranded in the region.
The brief highlights why the continuation of such an approach would not stop migration towards the EU and risks exacerbating existing tensions in the region, whilst also further endangering the refugees themselves.
Read the Brief in Arabic