ASYFAIR Workshop 4-5 July

Failing Refugees in Europe: Law, Space, Hypocrisy

ASYFAIR is hosting a workshop at the University of Exeter on July 4th & 5th

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Anthony Good (University of Edinburgh)

Prof. Barbara Sorgoni (University of Turin)

What does asylum law promise and what is actually happening in practice? What can social science and social theory tell us about the development of the gaps between the two? The discourse of human rights as applied to asylum governance implies fair treatment, careful consideration of applications for refugee status and effective legal remedies for wrongly rejected claims. It also implies non-refoulement, independence of judicial processes from political events, and the ability for everyone, regardless of vulnerability, status and economic means, to access protection when they need it. Inherent to these discourses are a series of spatiotemporal claims: universal human rights and consistency of approach, separation of legal and political systems, accessible forms of protection, and asylum processes that are neither rushed nor drawn out, but undertaken in a timely manner. In practice the picture is very different. There are multiple sources of arbitrariness in decision making, demonstrable inconsistencies in decisions and decision-making processes at various scales, recurring instances of the pollution of legal procedures with political concerns at both everyday and systemic scales, and frequently slow or overly rapid decision making. The systems of asylum claim determination in Europe and elsewhere, it seems, are failing in multiple ways even on their own terms.

In this workshop we discuss papers that explore these hypocrisies. We are interested both in the formation of the gaps between legal policy and practice, and the consequences of these gaps. With respect to formation, papers speak to the way that legal claims-making is made in asylum law, in Europe and elsewhere, and the factors that can allow it to become divorced from everyday life and experience. How does such divergence occur, what factors exacerbate it and what factors can limit it? With respect to the consequences of the gaps, how are we to understand trust and distrust in systems of asylum determination and adjudication, and to what extent have human rights on paper come to obscure their abuse in reality? The workshop provides an opportunity to share ideas that are developing or at an early stage.

More information available on the Events page.