Integration without Integrity: Producing vulnerability among forcible returns to Kosovo

Authors: Carl Dahlman*, Miami University
Topics: Human Rights, Migration, Political Geography
Keywords: forced migration, human rights, readmission agreements, Kosovo
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Executive Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

As Collinson described two decades ago, Western European countries have used techniques such as readmission agreements that forcibly return unwanted migrants to Eastern Europe, effectively turning countries of origin and transit into an asylum buffer zone. The Republic of Kosovo has concluded numerous bilateral readmission agreements with European states in a bid to secure a path to eventual membership in European institutions. Indeed, management of unwanted migration remains a fundamental aspect of the European perspective embedded in pre-accession instruments. Before large numbers of Syrian refugees began arriving in Europe, Kosovo was a top country of origin of asylum seekers in Western Europe. Among these migrants are persons from minority ethnic groups seeking to flee systemic discrimination, as well as disabled and mentally ill persons whose needs Kosovo routinely fails to address. Readmission agreements allow thousands of Kosovars to be refused asylum without full consideration of their claims. They are forcibly returned to Kosovo, which still does not provide sufficient protection of minority rights nor appropriate social services. This paper analyzes these readmission agreements and the outcomes of forcible returns to show how mechanisms of European integration undermine the human rights of Kosovo’s most vulnerable citizens.

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