State security and respect for human rights



Fear of terrorist attack, identity conflicts between "natural born" citizens and new arrivals, and the rise of anti-immigration populism have made safety a priority issue for European countries.

Unfortunately, this is often done at the expense of the most basic personal rights of migrants seeking to settle in Europe, who are held in border camps where a "transit zone" often becomes a final destination.

This knowledge should lead host countries to contribute more to the respect of these rights and to the well-being of migrants.

The work of Abdelwahed Mekki-Berrada, a researcher in the Department of Anthropology at Université Laval, shows that women are particularly affected by this difficult situation, which often leads to great emotional distress. The empirical data produced by his research shows that European policies for border securitization are directly linked to the emotional distress of Sub-Saharan women who are stuck in Morocco or decide to take up residence there. To the researcher, these findings highlight the need to create an anthropology of securitization to show that the imbalance between State security and human rights exists at the expense of migrants with precarious status.

This knowledge should lead host countries to contribute more to the respect of these rights and to the well-being of migrants. In particular, this will require major investment in culturally sensitive research-intervention-assessment programs, increased vigilance in the face of the security paradigm and attentiveness to the needs of migrants and their host societies. Abdelwahed Mekki-Berrada's work is the subject of a chapter in the multi-authored book Droits et cultures en mouvements and has been presented at conferences in Québec, Toronto and London. Further publications, public conferences and research projects are currently being developed.