Engendering International Human Rights Protection: Women Asylum Seekers on the Southern Borders of the European Union

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Evangelia TASTSOGLOU, Sociology and Criminology, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, NS, Canada
This paper examines the IHR protection afforded to asylum seekers at the border, with a special emphasis on women, by the EU southern member states (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain).  In an effort to assess whether and how IHR protection works, the investigation of the IHR regime, at the UN and regional (European) levels, is coupled with key jurisprudence from the ECtHR and ECJ as well as diverse documents from the OHCHR latest Universal Periodic Review for the specific countries under consideration. Despite the legal protection by the high-level European courts, the research overall underscores the IHR regime gaps and violations by states. Moreover, there is a “conspicuous absence” of gender and “race” perspectives in law,  state policy and OHCHR discourse. To the limited extent that asylum seekers are visible as a category, they are mostly lumped together, irrespective of gender-specific issues and vulnerabilities. Jurisprudential reference is frequently made to their national origins but there is a lack of problematization that the majority are “non-white” coming from “developing” societies. Emerging, new and “new-old” issues pertaining to refoulement, “interruption,” “externalization of borders,” the “shrinking of borders,” push-backs, off-shore processing and re-admission agreements (“externalization of asylum”), suspension in a constant “state of arrival,” sexual violence and the sexualisation of the everyday in detention, long-term detention, and “irregular deaths” are being examined with a special focus on women’s experiences.