The humanitarianization of child deportation politics

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This article develops a multidisciplinary analysis of the Northern European policy drive to deport unaccompanied minors (UAMs) to so-called reception facilities in Kabul, Afghanistan. These policies and practices are traced through the analytical frameworks of deportation corridors and humanitarian borders, and relying on archival material and interview data from Nordic and afghan public bureaucracies, the ERPUM project, the UNHCR and the IOM. The article conceptualizes the Afghan deportation corridors as one variant of “humanitarianized borders.” It is examined how European deportation politics for unaccompanied minors from 2000 to 2018 has shifted from portraying unaccompanied minors as being “a risk” to being “at risk” within an overarching political ambition of turning them deportable. European states increasingly do this through appeals to child rights and seemingly compassionate concepts like “family tracing,” “family reunification,” “reintegration,” and “care and education facilities” inscribed within narratives of vulnerable, irrational children and the universal family paving the way for humanitarianized care and control. This inscription re-constructs the agency and identity of both displaced children and of humanitarian practice. The article help establish a dialogue between the studies of deportation, humanitarian borders and child life in European border control.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Borderlands Studies
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)239-258
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2020

ID: 253074959