Witteveen Fellow in Law & Humanities Lecture
Nayeli Urquiza (2016)
Nayeli Urquiza presented the 2016 Witteveen Fellow in Law & Humanities Lecture on 26 May 2016.
- Ambiguous Vulnerability: Medea and the Tragedy of the Stranger
last year, European media and political bodies present the influx of
refugees coming from various neighboring continents as a “crisis”. The
EU-Turkey Joint action plan among other practices, evince a clear policy
of shutting down the gates into Europe. The crisis is seen from the
inside these gates closed to refugees without reflecting on a crisis
raging within and outside the borders of Europe: the "crimmigration
This lecture will examine what the "crimmigration crisis" means
and enquire its consequences on undocumented migrants. In particular,
it will look at the effects of distinctions between economic migrants
and vulnerable refugees governed by various legal frameworks.
On the one
hand, the legal status of refugees is dependent on international human
rights law; on the other, the legal status of economic migrants is
rather subject to crimmigration, an emerging conflation between
immigration and criminal law.
I will suggest that undocumented migrants
entering or trying to enter Europe face are subject to "crimes of
hospitality," that is the violation of the laws of hospitality as
conceived by Ancient Greeks.
Through a re-encounter with Ancient Greek tragedies, particularly Euripides depiction of the tragedy of strangers vis-a vis the conditional hospitality of the city-state in Medea, I hope to unpack the assumptions underpinning our "crimmigration" crisis, including those assumptions stemming from various conceptions of legal personality and their effect shaping the modes of relation between the hosts and the guests.