Rationalizing Human Rights Violations in Immigration Enforcement: The Case of Greek Security Professionals

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Dimitris Skleparis, Queen Mary, University of London, UK


    When it comes to migrants’ rights, Greece has a negative reputation. Located at both a busy land and sea crossing route for illegal migrants, Greece has lost a number of European Court of Human Rights cases with regard to its treatment of migrants. The unfair deterrence, apprehension and detention practices of the Hellenic Police and Coast Guard have been extensively documented by various NGOs. However, they have been largely treated as isolated cases despite their frequent occurrence, which has been mainly blamed on the lack of resources, infrastructure and education in human rights, and to bureaucratic deficiencies. This paper argues that the repetition of illicit practices by Greek security professionals derives to a great extent from deeply embedded negative attitudes towards various key issues related to migration in their field. In this respect, this paper provides an overview of the security professionals’ understanding of the Greek ‘migration-security nexus’, the migrant ‘other’, the ‘self’, globalisation and multiculturalism. Additionally, it puts forward an outline of their perceptions of Islam, Turkey, and the role of Greek NGOs. Finally, it presents their reflections on EU and national migration policies, the role of FRONTEX migration controls, and their own practices. Thus, by using data from 20 face-to-face semi-structured interviews with Greek security professionals and by applying discourse analysis to 11 master’s dissertations produced by high-rank officers, this paper attempts to identify the rationalities that inform the unlawful practices of the Hellenic Police and Coast Guard.