EuroStorie research seminar: Berfin Osso 11.9.2020

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Time: Friday 11.9.2020 16:00-17:00

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Within and beyond Borders: The Exclusion of Migrants and “Access to a Right to Have Rights” at the Greek Hotspots and in Turkey

Albeit the significant developments in international human rights regime since Hannah Arendt coined the “right to have rights” in the Origins of Totalitarianism in 1951, migrants continue to be deprived of accessing the means to claim and enjoy their rights due to the practices of certain states. While the EU and Member States have been engaging with these practices, which this research identifies as the externalization of migration management, since the outset of the establishment of its common asylum system, third countries at the EU’s external borders (including Turkey) which have been at the very core of the EU’s externalization attempts also employ such practices, aimed at minimizing the number of “irregular” migrant arrivals in their territories. Therefore, the phenomenon we need to understand today is not only the loss of a right to have rights as Arendt argued, but also the deprivation of access to a right to have rights.

The main objective of this research is examining the impact of the externalization of migration management (mainly, the practices of deportation, expulsion, and restrictions on the freedom of movement) vis-à-vis migrants’ (i.e., asylum seekers and refugees) “access to a right to have rights” (i.e., access to a politically organized community to claim and enjoy their rights by acting and speaking politically) at the Greek hotspots and in Turkey. The research merges legal analysis and Hannah Arendt’s thought. This research proposes an interdisciplinary study in the fields of international refugee law, human rights, legal theory and political philosophy.

First, through socio-legal studies, the research assesses the implementation by Greece and Turkey of international human rights instruments with regard to the principle of non-refoulement, and the rights to freedom of movement and to leave vis-à-vis migrants at the Greek hotspots and in Turkey. Second, through critical legal studies, the research adopts the theoretical lens of Arendtian “right to have rights” to understand the practices excluding migrants within and beyond the territories of Greece and Turkey despite their obligations under the human rights instruments, and the impact of such practices on the migrants’ “access to a right to have rights.” At this juncture, the research utilizes a three-staged analysis developed by the doctoral candidate in a previous study to examine the exclusion of migrants through the practices of deportation, expulsion, and restrictions on the freedom of movement within and beyond state territories, and how this exclusion deprives them of access to a right to have rights. 

About the speaker

Berfin Osso is a doctoral candidate in the Doctoral programme in Law at the University of Helsinki. Her research examines how the externalization of migration affects irregular migrants’ (i.e. asylum seekers and refugees) "access to a right to have rights". The research merges legal analysis and Hannah Arendt’s thought. It proposes a novel, interdisciplinary study in the fields of international refugee law, human rights law, legal theory and political philosophy. She also holds a Master's degree in Social Sciences (International Relations and Political science) from Tampere University.