The EU Humanitarian Border and the Securitization of Human Rights: The ‘Rescue‐Through‐Interdiction/Rescue‐Without‐Protection’ Paradigm*
This article looks at securitization/humanitarianization dynamics in the EU external sea borders to track and critique the substantial transformation of the role played by human rights in the Mediter-ranean. Mapping the evolution of maritime engagement up to the ‘refugee crisis’, it is revealed how the invocation of human rights serves paradoxically to curtail (migrants’ ) human rights, justifying interdiction (‘to save lives’), and impeding access to safety in Europe. The result is a double reiﬁcation of ‘boat migrants’ as threats to border security and as victims of smuggling/trafﬁcking.Through a narrative of ‘ rescue’, interdiction is laundered into an ethically sustainable strategy of border governance. Instead of being considered a problematic (potentially lethal) means of control, it is re-deﬁned into a life-saving device. The ensuing ‘rescue-through-interdiction’/‘rescue-without-protection’ paradigm alters the nature of human rights, which, rather than functioning as a check on interdiction, end up co-opted as another securitization/humanitarianization tool.