Securitization of Migration in Europe : Pushback practices and the Role of the European Court of Human Rights

University essay from Umeå universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: An embedded case study investigating the ongoing securitization of migration in the EU from 2014-2020 and the role of legal institutions, in this case the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in these processes. Securitization Theory is used in combination with Critical Legal Theory to create a framework that attempts to both illuminate the role of the functional actor in Securitization Theory further, and the impact securitization has on legal institutions. It provides explanations for sudden shifts in legal argumentation, especially in cases of high political relevance with the use of Critical Legal Theory. The case of N.D. & N.T. vs. Spain serves as an example of a functional actor providing two contrasting judgments on the same events within a short period of time and opens up discussions about political influences on legal institutions. Securitization and the framing of refugees as existential threats to European identity and culture is one of the many ongoing political processes related to the issue of migration and refuge in Europe. As the political landscape shifts and right-wing populist parties establish themselves in European Member States, illegal pushbacks have become common practice at the outer borders of the EU and are challenged both politically and legally. This study investigated cases of illegal pushbacks to renew criticism against the institutions engaging in and enabling the practice.

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