Inside the asylum procedure for children: researching experiences of young asylum seekers
In recent years the question on how to deal with migration became an extremely important political question. With her PhD research, Marijke van Buggenhout tries to render the asylum procedure visible by interviewing protection officers and legal guardians. The goal is to investigate the clear tension between a children’s rights approach “in the best interest of the child” and the need to find out, through “asylum interviews”, whether the young asylum seeker actually speaks the truth about the claim for international protection.
It also remains very unclear how these procedures and rights are experienced by those directly subjected to them. Therefore, in her fieldwork, an ongoing participatory video project with young newcomers, she tries to gain unique insights in the complexity of their personal experiences with the asylum procedure.
“Through art based projects, their experiences become visible.”
We aim at discovering how asylum procedures with children and young adults are actually conducted in daily practice and how young people who are subjected to asylum procedures experience the procedures and the rights accorded to them.
On the one hand we want to gain empirical insight in asylum procedures with children (‘s rights) and to better understand how social exclusion (or the risk of being excluded) influences participation and experiences. On the other hand, we aim at addressing methodological, ethical and theoretical challenges when young asylum seekers are being voiced. Finally, from a “procedural justice” perspective, empirical insights on procedures, rights and experiences of those subjected to procedures will turn out very relevant. Indeed, the question arises whether and how in asylum procedures – as is the case with criminal procedures – an effective participation of young asylum seekers will increase their experiences of “procedural justice”?
The empirical part of the project exist of two phases. First, we want to gain insight into how children’s claims for international are being handled in daily practice. Therefore, important actors in the asylum procedure are being interviewed: protection officers, legal guardians and lawyers. Further, we aim at including a group of youngsters as advisors of our research process. Child advisory groups are being created, in which children and young people guide the research project, help discover important research questions and help us shape the (creative) research methods that will be used in the project. These advisory groups guide the second phase of the project where participatory projects will be established.
No upcoming events
Van Buggenhout, M. (2019): Street child spaces: belonging, conflict and resistance in the city of Durban through the eyes of street youth, Children’s Geographies, DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2019.1668911.
Papadopoulos, I. & Van Buggenhout M. (2019). On researching children’s rights, asylum processes and the criminalization of illegal entry. Methodological peculiarities and rights based research methods in immigration studies. Revista Española de Investigación Criminológica. Spanish Society of Criminological Research (In press)
Van Buggenhout, M. (2019). On being voiced. Over gehoord worden als minderjarige in de Belgische asielprocedure. In: K. Verfaillie (ed.). Nieuwe uitdagingen, nieuwe perspectieven? Over het belang van theorie in een snel veranderende wereld. Oud-Turnhout: Gompel&Svacina (Publishing process: expected by the end of 2019)
Marijke Van Buggenhout, Researcher, Crime and Society Research Group VUB
Els Dumortier, Promotor, Crime and Society Research Group VUB