Civil solidarity and the hunt for undocumented migrants. Two Belgian case studies
While European governments have persecuted undocumented migrants for several decades, the techniques through which they do so have taken a more radical turn since the recent immigration influx of 2015. Focusing on the particular case of Belgium, this paper documents how its Federal government has enforced legal shifts in the asylum procedure which facilitate detention, forced return and the confiscation of IDs on the one hand, and systematic police raids in public parks, train stations and motorway parkings on the other. Resistance to these policies has come from two citizen collectives: the Plateforme Citoyenne de Soutien aux Réfugiés and Humain vzw. Both collectives have gone beyond denouncing these policies on social and mass media by continuing to provide humanitarian support to migrants, irrespective of their legal status. In Brussels, the Plateforme Citoyenne has accommodated migrants into volunteers’ homes, set up a reception centre and evacuated public spaces where police actions were planned to taking place. Humain vzw has continued to provide food, medical and social support to migrants in the West of Belgium and the North of France, and has monitored human rights violations. Drawing on on-going ethnographic observations and document analysis, this presentation contributes to critical debates on civil movements’ potential in confronting the governmentality of immigration and the “politicization of bare life”.
Date: 8 May 2019, 17:00 (Wednesday, 2nd week, Trinity 2019)
Venue: Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road OX1 3TB
Venue Details: Seminar Room 1
Speaker: Dr Robin Vandevoordt (University of Oxford)
Organising department: Refugee Studies Centre
Organiser contact email address:
Part of: Refugee Studies Centre Public Seminar Series
Booking required?: Not required
Booking url:
Audience: Public
Editor: Tamsin Kelk