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Guest Talk Kiri Santer

Today ONLINE only!


December 4, 2023, 18:15

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Dr. Kiri Santer (Universität Bern):

Cooperative interdiction in the Central Mediterranean: Law, externalization and the fragmentation of responsibility in migration control

Across the world, governments’ attempts to fend off migrants from the south have engendered not only militarized border zones, but have also given rise to complex new legal assemblages. As well as hierarchising access to labour markets through costly visa procedures, states manoeuvre their legal obligations and their preoccupation to control migration by erecting physical and legal barriers hindering access to territories and jurisdictions of the Global North and outsourcing migration management to states of the Global South. ‘Solutions’ for the control of migratory movements subject unwanted Others to the force of exclusionary law and simultaneously deprive them of any legal safeguards. In this presentation, I examine the accountability gap created by a regime of “cooperative interdiction” in the central Mediterranean whereby migrants are forcefully brought back to the shores of Libya from where they had fled. Interceptions of boats are carried out by the Libyan Coastguard but sponsored by Italy and the EU. Through this process of externalisation, the European Union has engineered a modulation of the relation between subjects and their rights. In this talk, I show how unaccountable regimes of migration control are assembled and stabilized through policy processes and examine the role of law therein. I argue that this particular assemblage of policies and practices designed to outsource migration control operates in multifarious ways that are not coordinated but in effect has produced a hermetic sealing off of the European legal sphere for migrants: they cannot access asylum law because they never reach the shores on which they can claim asylum. In this dynamic assemblage of migration control, state responsibility disappears.

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