How Europe’s (anti-)migration policies are fuelling a humanitarian crisis

foto: Uriel Sinai/Stichting Vluchteling/IRC
On the 9th of September, IHSA and KUNO present key humanitarian concerns highlighted in a special journal issue on 'Politics, humanitarianism and migration to Europe'.

When some one million people crossed the Mediterranean in the course of 2015 to seek refuge, European countries called it a crisis. Yet the real crisis was created by European immigration and asylum policies and by the challenges they posed for aid providers. The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the violence experienced by people seeking safety in countries such as Italy, Greece, France, Belgium, Germany, Norway, and the UK.

Policies such as strengthening border controls, the externalisation of borders, and a focus on smuggling and trafficking rather than on the causes of forced migration all result in humanitarian crisis. The new reality affects humanitarian organizations, including the criminalisation of assistance provision, as well as the rise in resistance and activism by newly created volunteer groups.

The International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) recently published a special issue of International Migration journal, based on contributions to their conference in The Hague (2018). Sadly, the humanitarian concerns arising from migration to Europe are still very relevant today. On the 9th of September, IHSA and KUNO present key findings from the special issue on ‘Politics, humanitarianism and migration to Europe’, to discuss the humanitarian challenges raised.

Speakers include:

  • Susanne Jaspars – Research Associate, SOAS University of London: Introduction to the key themes identified in the special issue.
  • Marta Welander – Executive Director, Refugee Rights Europe: Presentation on refugee experience in Europe (focussing on France), micro-practices and the politics of exhaustion, with a brief update on the current situation.
  • Francesca Pusterla – Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA): Presentation on the criminalisation of solidarity or assistance to asylum seekers in Italy, and the changing policy context.
  • Thea Hilhorst – Professor of Humanitarian Aid, ISS Erasmus University: Humanitarian responses and political action, including citizen and volunteer group actions and advocacy by more established humanitarian actors.

Followed by a discussion with:

  • Mr. Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, UNHCR, Representative for EU Affairs
  • Adil Izemrane, Co-founder and director Movement on the Ground

A good read is this blog of Susanne Jaspars and Thea Hilhorst.


You can register to the webinar via this link.

On the 10th of September we will have a discussion with humanitarian professionals what this means for their daily jobs. This will be a closed meeting. In case you are interested you can contact Peter Heintze on peter.heintze@kuno-platform.nl.


The International Humanitarian Studies Association is a network engaged with the study of humanitarian crises caused by disaster, conflict or political instability. Humanitarian studies concern how humanitarian crises evolve, how they affect people and their institutions, communities and societies, and the responses they trigger.

They are currently organizing their 6th Conference on Humanitarian Studies. The Call for Papers is open now. For more information visit https://conference.ihsa.info/

How Europe’s (anti-)migration policies are fuelling a humanitarian crisis


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