Dutch Science Talks lecture in Saint-Petersburg. Criminal Migrants in Limbo

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About the lecture

States increasingly deem criminal migrants persona non grata. Former Nazis are stripped of their citizenship. Alleged war criminals and terrorists are excluded from refugee protection and passports of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq are cancelled. At the same time, governments are ever more confronted with hurdles in deporting undesirable immigrants. Practical obstacles or human rights standards may prevent removal, leaving the Undesirable but Unremovable immigrant in a state of limbo.

States adopt different strategies to deal with these criminal migrants in limbo, ranging from expelling them irrespective of the potential for human rights violations, to negotiating bilateral memoranda of understanding with countries of origin, long term detention and relocation to third countries. At times undesirable individuals are like “hot potatoes” sent from one country to another, without any country accepting responsibility.

In this presentation the lecturer will argue that the phenomenon of “undesirable and unremovable immigrants in limbo” is on the rise. He will sketch the historical context, describe which different groups end up in limbo, depict their lives and discusses past and present policy responses in dealing with limbo-situations. Information is obtained by means of an analysis of available academic literature, case law, media coverage and interviews with practitioners and immigrants.

About the lecturer

Dr. Joris van Wijk is an Associate Professor at the Law Faculty’s Department of Criminal Law and Criminology at VU Amsterdam. He directs the master’s program International Crimes, Conflict and Criminology and co-directs the Centre for International Criminal Justice (CICJ). Trained as a lawyer and a criminologist and with a PhD in Criminology at VU University, his main expertise concerns issues related to criminology, international criminal justice, (asylum) migration and terrorism.


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Released on: Alumni & Career Officers DHEI, Security and the rule of law

Residence of the Consul General of the Netherlands

The English Embankment 12 190000 SAINT-PETERSBURG

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