Towards Humane and Dignified Living Conditions for Refugees and Other Migrants: A Human Security Framework for Assessing ‘Migration Camps’ in Europe

Xander Creed, Lorenzo Gontijo (Editor)

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Abstract

This policy brief addresses the use of detention and confinement policies on the outskirts of the European Union (EU). Within refugee camps, there have been continual reports of the cruel and inhumane living conditions - exemplary of this are the treatment of asylum-seekers in Mória on Lesvos (Greece), and the violence from state actors towards migrants between the border of Poland and Belarus. In order to assess the support of refugees and humanitarian action, several approaches have been outlined, such as: the Sphere Standards, determinants of migrant vulnerability (DOMV) model from the IOM, and the UNHCR’s Policy on Alternatives to Camps. Despite these prominent guidelines, inhumane conditions remain. This brief sets out to formulate an analytical framework for assessing the conditions within these camps which is bolstered by international human rights law.

In order to do so, the framework of human security is adapted and used to analyse reports of living conditions. Through the lens of human security, it is found that reports acknowledge the dimensions of health, environment, personal, community, and food insecurity; political insecurity is only rarely recognized. Importantly, these dimensions are often presented separately, rather than related to each other. The human security approach consolidates the insecurities faced by migrants, and articulates them in the simultaneous ways in which they are experienced, ratherthan recorded and analysed; human security draws attention to the embodied, lived experience in a more explicit manner than alternative frameworks for assessment. From this, it was also found that reports do not acknowledge any aspect of economic security. This brief is relevant for states and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in the provision of accommodation for refugees and other migrants, as well as refugee rights organisations seeking to challenge current human rights violations and work towards holistic alternatives to detention.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationParis
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2022

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