The Victory of National Interest: Debates on the Belgian Forced Return Policy, 1998–2013

in Journal of Migration History
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Based on the 1951 Refugee Convention, persons who have left their country ‘owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion’ are entitled to protection. The principle of non-refoulement provides that ‘no country shall expel or return a refugee against his or her will, in any manner whatsoever, to a territory where he or she fears threats to life or freedom’.1 Following the increasing numbers of asylum seekers in the 1990s, host countries began to apply the Refugee Convention criteria more strictly and refused a growing number of applicants.2 Since the summer of 2015 Europe has found itself in the middle of what is described as a ‘refugee crisis’. The crisis has brought debates about asylum, borders and return policies to the centre of the public and political conversation. A growing portion of society has called for a stricter asylum policy.

This article will argue that even before this latest ‘refugee crisis’ discourses on asylum were becoming more restrictive, with a growing focus on return rather than protection. It will also show that the debates on asylum keep moving away from the definition provided in the 1951 Refugee Convention. It will do so by comparing the Belgian debates on forced return – and on asylum in general, which is inseparably connected to the subject – in the media and parliament during two periods: 1998–2001 and 2011–2013.3

In the first section, we will elaborate on the theoretical framework of the analysis, paying attention to relevant concepts and secondary literature, as well as to the research questions and methodology. We will then discuss the most important empirical data on the debates’ topics and stances. In a third and final section, the major shifts in the debates will be analysed.

The Victory of National Interest: Debates on the Belgian Forced Return Policy, 1998–2013

in Journal of Migration History

Sections

References

7

Catherine Dauvergne‘Amorality and humanitarianism in immigration law’Osgoode Hall Law Journal 37 (1999) 597–623610.

9

Danielle Every‘A reasonable, practical and moderate humanitarianism: The co-option of humanitarianism in the Australian asylum seeker debates’Journal of Refugee Studies 21 (2008) 210–229211.

12

Every‘A reasonable practical and moderate humanitarianism’213.

15

Niklaus Steiner‘Arguing about asylum: The complexity of refugee debates in Europe’New Issues in Refugee Research 48 (2001) 15.

17

Shacknove‘American duties to refugees: Their scope and limits’134.

18

GeuijenDe asielcontroverse232–246.

19

Every‘A reasonable practical and moderate humanitarianism’216–224.

21

WalaardtGeruisloos inwilligen326–328.

25

Robert M. Entman‘Framing: toward clarification of a fractured paradigm’Journal of Communication 43 (1993) 51–58.

28

P. Martens‘Afschaffen die uitwijzingen’Gazet van Antwerpen 3 October 1998 7.

29

P. Geudens‘Niet simpel’Gazet van Antwerpen 24 September 1998 2.

32

S. Decoo‘Geld en vliegtuigje voor onwillige asielzoekers’De Morgen 22 January 1999 4.

33

M. Vandemeulebroucke‘Réactions très mitigées des organisations non gouvernementales au rapport sur les éloignements forcés des demandeurs d’asile deboutés’Le Soir 23 January 1999 18.

34

P. Leuridan‘Ik hoor nergens humanitaire bezwaren tegen een privéjet’Gazet van Antwerpen 16 March 1999 7.

35

M. Pascal‘Des réfugiés sont-ils renvoyés vers l’enfer?’Le Soir 27 January 1999 6.

36

C. Laporte‘Ils sont renvoyés en pleine guerre civile’Le Soir 4 March 1999 16.

37

M. Vandemeulebroucke‘Accorder un statut à ceux qui fuient la guerre’Le Soir 3 February 1999 6.

40

K. Mores‘Stroom Kosovaren creëert chaos’De Standaard 10 September 1999 5; J. P. Borloo­ ‘Des passe-murailles donnent une voix aux déboutés de l’asile’ Le Soir 22 September 1999 20.

41

F. Verhoest‘Lont is uit het asielkruitvat’De Standaard 27 September 1998 3.

56

M. Vandemeulebroucke‘En marge d’une grève de la faim’Le Soir 16 February 2011 7; Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Maggie De Block in the Commission for Internal Affairs 24 April 2012.

60

L. Homans and T. Francken‘Is Patrick Janssens naïef of gewoon wat vergeetachtig?’De Morgen 17 August 2011 14.

63

K. Vidal‘Asielblues’De Morgen 5 October 1999 10.

65

B. Sturtewagen‘Twijfel gewekt’De Standaard 29 March 2012 2.

67

GeuijenDe asielcontroverse249.

72

GeuijenDe asielcontroverse249.

73

P. Martens‘Afschaffen die uitwijzingen’Gazet van Antwerpen 3 October 1998 7.

74

M. Pascal‘Des réfugiés sont-ils renvoyés vers l’enfer?’Le Soir 27 January 1999 6.

77

Y. Desmet‘Niet het asielbeleid zit fout, maar het migratiebeleid’De Morgen 17 July 2012 19.

80

Dauvergne‘Amorality and humanitarianism in immigration law’610; Gibney The ethics and politics of asylum: Liberal democracy and the response to refugees; Geuijen De asielcontroverse; Every ‘A reasonable practical and moderate humanitarianism’.

81

GeuijenDe asielcontroverse245–246; Every ‘A reasonable practical and moderate humanitarianism’ 216.

82

WalaardtGeruisloos inwilligen311.

84

GeuijenDe asielcontroverse230.

85

WalaardtGeruisloos inwilligen311.

Figures

  • View in gallery

    Evolution of the number of asylum requests between 1997 and 2015

  • View in gallery

    Evolution of the number of forced returns between 1997 and 2015

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 16 16 5
Full Text Views 81 81 64
PDF Downloads 3 3 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0