The normalization of state violence against migrants in Europe: Nando Sigona writes for El Pais

Nando Sigona / September 2023

In an opinion column for Spanish daily El Pais, Nando Sigona examines the link between border externalisation and the normalisation of state violence across Europe. Violence, he argues, has become an inherent aspect of Europe’s response to migration, particularly from the Global South. It occurs across various sites within Europe, perpetuated by state and state-sponsored agents, and is increasingly extending beyond its borders through the outsourcing of immigration control to third countries.

Inflicting suffering is employed as a deterrent to dissuade unwanted migrants and refugees from reaching European shores (Nando Sigona, El Pais)

State violence is the product of deliberate actions, such as imposing excessively punitive conditions on those who irregularly enter Europe to seek asylum, but it also arises from deliberate state inactions, as seen in the case of the Pylos shipwreck. In this instance, the Greek Coast Guard’s intervention was too little and too late, despite the Greek authorities and Frontex being aware of the dire conditions on the migrant boat for hours and monitoring it from a distance.The distancing of Europe’s public and the silencing of NGOs who played an important role at the time of the Mediterranean’s refugee crisis of 2015-16 and successively during the war in Ukraine, Sigona adds, contribute to the process of normalisation of state violence.

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