The Mediterranean Sea demarks a blue border, that dividing the North African Coast from the European Union. The border is a political space, separating and protecting nations and citizens – sometimes with devastating consequences. For more than a decade, this stretch of water has witnessed an increasing number of refugee and other forced migrants’ desperate attempts to reach European shores: the Mediterranean Sea also marks a humanitarian space.
The increase in the number of refugees and forced migrants trying to reach Europe has been met with a growing number of actors fulfilling different, and at times contradictory roles. The Mediterranean, then, also embodies a space of tension and paradox. Does the onus on the protection of the external border come at the expense of protecting the human rights of refugees and other forced migrants?
As the wars and persecution in Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Libya and beyond continue, so too will refugees continue to risk their lives in search of protection. This is a crucial time for the European Union, and for those of us involved in Humanitarian Action. This seminar seeks to address a range of urgent questions in relation to border control and rescue operations, examining the nexus protecting borders/protecting human rights. The event will comprise a series of plenary presentations delivered by some of the key actors in the field, followed by a panel discussion, providing opportunities for discussion and debate.