On SAGE Insight: How do Frontex and EU states both exacerbate the migrant crisis and manage it?: Humanitarianism, human rights and security

Article title: Frontex and the convergence of humanitarianism, human rights and security

From Security Dialogue

In recent years, there has been growing scholarly interest in the connections between humanitarianism and security in EUropean border governance. Drawing on in-depth interviews with Frontex officials, this article takes the simultaneous portrayal of the agency as rescuer of migrants at sea, promoter of fundamental rights and defender of EUropean citizens against migrant threats as a starting point to rethink the relationship of humanitarianism, human rights and security in the governing of EUropean borders.

This article seeks to show that a focus on securitization and humanitarianism in isolation falls short of recognizing the complex connections between those formations and human rights, which have important implications for border governance. It explores the relationship between humanitarianism, human rights and Frontex. Given the on-going migration crisis, this empirically-driven argument helps explain how Frontex and EU states both exacerbate the crisis and manage it, while diverting blame only to member states.

Abstract

While there has been growing scholarly interest in the convergence of humanitarianism and security in contemporary EUropean border governance, much of the existing literature has neglected the role of human rights in this process. Drawing on in-depth interviews with Frontex officials, this article takes the simultaneous portrayal of the agency as rescuer of migrants at sea, promoter of fundamental rights and defender of EUropean citizens against migrant threats as a starting point to rethink the relationship of humanitarianism, human rights and security in the governing of EUropean borders. Conceptualizing them as discourses of protection that render their subjects vulnerable in various ways, the article contributes to a deeper understanding of the connections and combined effects of humanitarianism, human rights and security in EUropean border governance. Finally, it shows that Frontex’s positioning in humanitarian, human rights and security terms has strengthened the agency in three ways. First, it has allowed Frontex to cooperate with a range of actors in ‘managing’ EUropean borders. Second, it has enabled the agency to become a ‘go-to’ solution to diverse crises in border governance. Third, it has allowed Frontex officials to shift blame for human rights abuses to member-states.

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Article details
Frontex and the convergence of humanitarianism, human rights and security
Nina Perkowski,
First Published October 24, 2018 Research Article
DOi: 10.1177/0967010618796670
From Security Dialogue

 

 

     
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