Human rights defenders in the Mediterranean countries and the refugee crisis : a research analysis of their risks and the usage of regional instruments for their protection

Thumbnail Image
Karaouli, Andriana
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The aim of this paper is to examine the case study of the defenders assisting refugees and migrants that arriving in the Mediterranean countries. This research draws evidence from the international, regional and national legal texts related to the migration policies and is further assisted from interviews and the results of investigations conducted in the relevant zone. The supporting guideline is the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders that later incorporated in the EU Guidelines on HRDs. As the term is vast without a binding character neither a specifically defined group under protection, the attention emphasizing on the transnational humanitarian movement developed in the area in order to provide help to the moving population towards Europe. After an analysis of the European migration policies during 2015-2020, the findings ended up to a systematic criminalization of this movement and disproportionate restrictions over the civil society space, justified by the EU plan for reducing the arrivals to its territory. Following my interests regarding humanitarianism during the refugee crisis, the paper will scrutinize the way HRDs targeted for their solidarity to the people seeking international protection. In a second examination, the research suggests the regional democratic mechanisms as a means of incorporating the defenders in the migration programs for ensuring better protection for them. The issue is unfolded right now and emerges the EU to recall its democratic values and establish a system that will respond to the defenders’ needs and will fulfill its obligations under the international HR standards. Keywords: migration, European policies, HRDs, criminalization, protection mechanism
Second semester University: University College Dublin - National University of Ireland
migrations, European Union, refugees, human rights workers, protection, Mediterranean countries