An Article a Day: 5 June 2017

by Maha Rafi Atal

As we get ready for Thursday's election, we're reading up on the history of the Daily Mail, what the UK government actually does and how it pays for it, and what those elusive young voters actually want from their representatives. Plus, Brazil's ongoing corruption scandal, and a controversial take on race and class in France.

The political consequences of privatising asylum

by Jonathan Darling

In March 2012, the UK government signed six contracts for the provision of accommodation for asylum seekers and their families. These contracts mark the latest phase in a process of accommodation termed ‘dispersal’ that has, since the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act, provided housing on a ‘no choice’ basis to asylum seekers across Britain. The contracts signed in 2012 became collectively known as COMPASS (Commercial and Operating Managers Procuring Asylum Support), and marked a significant shift in the landscape of asylum support. The COMPASS contracts transferred accommodation provision from a mixture of consortiums of local authorities, social housing associations and private providers, to just three private contractors - the multinational security services company G4S, the international services company Serco, and the accommodation partnership Clearel.

Bans, boats, and the language of borders

by Carys Goodwin

In April 2017, Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton became embroiled in yet another controversy regarding Australia’s offshore detention centres. This scandal involved reports of a shooting – an altercation between local soldiers and detainees on Manus Island that Dutton asserted was linked to asylum seekers bringing a five year old boy into the detention centre. In the fourth part of our symposium on migration, Carys Goodwin examines what the incident tells us about the politics of asylum in Australia.

The happiest country in the world - as long as you’re white

by Matthew Mahmoudi

On 10 February the Danish Parliament, the Folketing, expressed its ‘concern’ that ‘many areas in Denmark contain a proportion of immigrants and descendants from non-Western countries which surpasses 50%’. In the third part of our special series on migration, Matthew Mahmoudi explores Denmark's troubled approach to integration and asks whether it is really 'the happiest country in the world'.

To ignore others can be to forget oneself: Europe’s laws of hospitality and the refugee crisis

by Garrett Wallace Brown

As Europeans confront the profound political challenges of the current refugee crisis, political theorist Garrett Wallace Brown argues that they would do well to reflect on a longstanding ethical tradition: the laws of hospitality. From ancient Greece to the Enlightenment, a call to welcome strangers escaping harm, persecution and death has been at the centre of Europe’s history of ideas.

“You have to tell a story”: Emma Jane Kirby on reporting the migration crisis

by Emma Jane Kirby in conversation with Hettie O’Brien

Six years on from the start of the Syrian civil war, the migration crisis has developed a rich and powerful imagery: pictures of overcrowded rubber boats at sea, of Aleppo’s obliterated streets, and of makeshift settlements in Calais. Though the scale of the dislocation can be overwhelming, images and objects – like the picture of Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach – have helped awaken UK public opinion to the human cost of the crisis. As part of our new series on migration, Hettie O’Brien spoke to Emma Jane Kirby, an award winning foreign correspondent who has covered the European migration crisis for the BBC. Her recent book, The Optician of Lampedusa, blends fact and fictive elements to tell the real-life story of Carmine Menna, a local optician who found himself at the centre of the crisis when he rescued drowning migrants from the Mediterranean.

“Nothing is more dangerous for human beings than to be forgotten”: Seyla Benhabib on Donald Trump, Hannah Arendt, and the refugee crisis

by Kerry Mackereth

Professor Seyla Benhabib of Yale University is one of the world’s leading political theorists of cosmopolitanism and human rights, and is currently visiting Cambridge as the Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professor at the Centre for Gender Studies. Kerry Mackereth sat down with her in February to discuss what Hannah Arendt might have made of Donald Trump’s refugee ban.