Cite as: Iliadou, E., 2019, “Safe Havens and Prison Islands: The Politics of Protection and Deterrence of Border Crossers on Lesvos Island.” Graduate Journal of Social Science.
In this paper I argue that the refugee crisis, in terms of discourse and sequence of events, has been deliberately misused by the EU policymakers in order to govern unwanted human mobility and to impose and legitimize brutal, obscene and violent politics, such as the EU-Turkey Statement, the Hotspot Approach and the geographical restriction rule. Based on ethnographic research I conducted on border crossers on Lesvos, I argue here that these obscene policies produce a Kafkaesque and suffocating context with enormous and devastating consequences upon border crossers’ lives. For the purposes of this paper, I will focus on 1) the refugee crisis discourse; 2) the immobilisation of border crossers on Lesvos, the Prison Island; and 3) the racial profiling and segregation of people into penal and bureaucratic “categories”: “vulnerable/ non-vulnerable” and “delinquents”.
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