Maltese professor explores forced migration legitimacy and humanitarian action

The Ibrahim Abu Lughod Institute of International Studies and the External Academic Relations Office at Birzeit University held on April 5, 2017 a lecture on “Illegalized Bodies Crossing the Mediterranean,” presented by the University of Malta’s Professor in Community and Youth Studies Maria Pisani.

Focusing on securitization and the issue of national borders, Pisani offered an interdisciplinary approach in discussing the recent “illegal” migration crossing of the Mediterranean. Professor Pisani gave insights on the role of the European Union in dealing with this phenomenon within the effects of globalization, and the framework of nationalism, liberalism, human rights and citizenship.

Based on international humanitarian law, Pisiani underscored that immigration is not an illegal phenomenon. She pointed out that the number of refugees crossing the Mediterranean has increased in the past few years, and Malta is one of their destinations.

The EU has recently reached an agreement with Turkey aimed at halting the uncontrolled flow of migrants across of the major routes in the Aegean Sea while providing additional safe ways for refugees to enter Europe.

“These measures have not helped,” she said, “and cannot resolve the root causes of the crisis. Eighty-six percent of the refugees remain in poor countries. Despite its claims, the European Union has received only a few.”

A discussion on the similarities and differences between the situation of Palestinians and refugees crossing the Mediterranean took place at the end of the lecture.