Criminalisation of Humanitarian Assistance to Undocumented Migrants in the EU: A Study of the Concept of Solidarity

University essay from Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle

Abstract: This thesis examines the concept of solidarity and how it can contribute to the understanding of the criminalisation of those who provide humanitarian assistance to undocumented migrants in Europe. It also looks at acts of resistance against such criminalisation. Alternative explanations are explored on the basis of theories of solidarity, previous research and collection of material from international and European institutions on the legal situation within the European Union. Particular attention is given to illustrative cases focusing primarily on the more or less publicly acceptable provision of healthcare and the less publicly acceptable provision of housing. Criminalisation can be understood in the light of exclusive solidarity only for those with citizenship or residence permit and as a part of immigration enforcement by deterring those who want to help and therefore discouraging irregular migrants from staying in the EU. Resistance against such criminalisation is built locally, on the basis of solidarity with undocumented migrants that are relatable and familiar, which also explains why solidarity is harder to achieve on a national and European level. Resistance against criminalisation is also built on faith, dignity and other grounds such as cost-benefit estimates for cities tackling issues such as social inclusion and public health.

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