Reclaiming the Right to Life: hunger strikes and protests in Denmark’s deportation centres

Reclaiming the Right to Life: hunger strikes and protests in Denmark’s deportation centres

This week, GRS’ MA-student Jose Joaquin Arce Bayona has been co-writing an article for Open Democracy on the protest movements and hunger strikes in Danish deportation centres. The article is an analysis of the hunger strikers’ situation as “nobody’s problem in no man’s land”.

Twenty-eight residents at the Danish deportation centre, Kærshovedgaard, have been on a hunger strike for seven days. A total of 200 asylum seekers live here, either because Danish authorities rejected their application for asylum or they are awaiting to appeal their first instance decision.

The asylum seekers are stuck in a legal grey-zone because deportation is not possible in a foreseeable future and/or because there are no legal grounds for detaining them.  They are left at the deportation centres, geographically isolated and with no monetary support. Forcefully being made invisible to the society, the hunger strike should be seen as an act of refusal and rebellion by using the only means the refugees have available: by using their bodies.

”We argue that rather than facilitating returns, deportation centres have opened up a legal grey zone that allows nation states to deny their legal, political and humanitarian responsibilities for rejected asylum-seekers, with tragic implications for the present and future life of these people”.

Read the full article here

Jose Joaquin Arce Bayona has spent this semester interning on Martin Lemberg-Pedersen’s project on Spaces, Borders, Bodies. Read more about it here.


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