CLAIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION Analyzing the understandings behind migration policy in the EU
Abstract: This thesis aims to uncover how, through the common discourse, human rights violations occur in the European Union when it claims to protect and promote human rights. More specifically the question is asked in what way different understandings on human rights and sovereignty as they are held by the European Commission influence the discourse on migration in the EU. By performing this research, the thesis fills the scholarly gap in the research on migration policy-making by analyzing how different preferential stances of member states are informed through the discourse that is promulgated by the Commission. The thesis departs from an exploration of four different positions on human rights protection and sovereignty that serve as ideal types with which the discourse on the Commission can be measured. By employing Critical Discourse Analysis, several communication documents and speeches by the Commission, divided in three time periods, the thesis finds that the Commission is consistent in its approach to human rights protection to refugees fleeing persecution in the early 2000s and that a common policy is desired to secure this. From 2008 onwards, the Commission maintains an inconsistent discourse with a tension between giving human rights protection to those fleeing from a lack of securing their basic rights and only those fleeing persecution, and what the role of the EU should be in securing human rights protection. This has left the space for member states to focus on their own sovereignty as a priority above human rights protection.
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