• Alice Sabbioni
  • Alessia Bertolin
4. term, Global Refugee Studies, Master (Master Programme)
The present thesis analyses the case of Humanitarian Corridors, a humanitarian project
born in 2015 in Italy as an answer to the thousands of drownings happening just off of Italian
shores. It is the result of a collaboration between various faith-based organisations and the
Italian government. This project is often held in high regard and is considered to be good
practice. Moreover, it follows a different trend than the mainly negative mindset of
securitisation and externalisation practices that many European countries hold. There is a gap
in existing literature on studies that critically assess the project of Humanitarian Corridors;
refusing to take the project’s authors’ motivations behind the creation of the project at face
value, this thesis examines the grounds for the project’s conception and its consequences on
how the project functions operationally. Thus, the aim is to answer the following research
questions: why was the project of Humanitarian Corridors conceived? and secondly did the
reasons for its conception lead to any consequences on how the project is implemented and
run? If so, which ones?
The research consists of a single-case study relying on qualitative data collected
through document analysis and one semi-structured, informative interview. The collected
material has been analysed through the works of Didier Fassin and Michael Barnett that
critically assesses and scrutinises the concept of humanitarianism. Their works shed light on
Humanitarian Corridors’ controversial dynamics and offered the instruments to criticise them
while also acknowledging their positive impact. Therefore, this thesis’ strength lies in the fact
that it looks critically at the project, refusing to adhere either to an overly romanticised or to an
overly sceptical vision of its humanitarian nature. The analysis showed that Humanitarian
Corridors were conceived not only to offer asylum seekers safe and legal access to Italy, but
also for the founding faith-based organisations to prove their own goodwill. This secondary
‘goal’ affected the choice of the prioritised selection criteria: the beneficiaries’ vulnerability
and their potential for integration. These criteria arguably turned out to be means of exclusion.
Moreover, due to necessitating the authority of the Italian government in issuing the visas for
the beneficiaries to legally access Italy, the formation of a partnership between the government
and the organisations turned Humanitarian Corridors into an externalisation tool to admit only
a few, carefully selected beneficiaries in the name of a need for security.
LanguageEnglish
Publication date29 May 2020
Number of pages56
ID: 333193205