Defense Ruben Wissing


Defense Ruben Wissing2On 28 November, Migration Law Research Group member Ruben Wissing successfully defended his PhD "Safe with the Neighbours? Legal and actual protection of forced migrants in the Global South: perspectives on and from Morocco".

Ruben presented the results of four and a half years of research on the protection of forced migrants in Morocco. The research included fieldwork with Congolese and other sub-Saharan forced migrants in Rabat, and uses different disciplinary approaches to deal with issues of extraterritorial responsibilities of EU states under international law, migrants’ perspectives on ‘protection and Morocco’s migration diplomacy in Africa.

The dissertation compiles three papers, an introduction, conclusions and policy recommendations. The results show the dynamic agency in the Global South, by the Moroccan state, but especially among the Congolese migrants, within a structuring regulation of migration that is state-centred and dominated by the North. A new concept of ‘protection consciousness’ is proposed to give expression to migrants’ understanding of protection. The research recommends to further develop a legally binding mechanism to allocate the shared responsibility for the protection of forced migrants in proportion to the respective capacity of each state. Reflections on the researcher’s positionality, Eurocentric thinking and alternative knowledge production are also added, and illustrations with portrait pictures of some of the Congolese research participants by Moroccan photographer Ines Bouallou.  

The research was supervised by prof. dr. Ellen Desmet and guided by prof. dr. Barbara Oomen (Utrecht University) and prof. dr. Evangelia (Lilian) Tsourdi (Maastricht University). The jury was further composed of prof. dr. Yousra Abourabi (Université Internationale de Rabat) and prof. dr. Marie-Benedicte Dembour (Ghent University), prof. dr. Sami Zemni (Ghent University) & Dean Michel Tison.

Defense Ruben Wissing1