Coloniality and Recent European Migration Case Law

Beginning with the 2014 Khlaifia judgement, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the EU have given a series of judgments widely perceived as constituting a state-friendly rupture with earlier case law promoting the human rights of migrants. However, the ‘migration crises’ that led to these developments in the case law were not the unforeseeable consequence of external events impacting on European migration law and policy. They followed from structural shortcomings of European law and policy itself. Also, the idea that earlier case law of the two European courts constituted a robust protection of migrants’ rights has been subjected to fundamental critiques. Taking these two analyses together, this presentation will interrogate European law as actively contributing to the undermining of migrants’ rights. Recent developments in the case law may thus be seen as a continuation of a tendency to privilege the interests of European states over those of migrants.