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Collective Amnesia: The de-Historization and Normalization of Closed Borders

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Publication date13/10/2022
Host publicationForced Migration Studies: Current Interventions
EditorsLeonardo Schiocchet, Christine Nölle-Karimi
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherAustrian Academy of Sciences Press
Number of pages10
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

Name Selected Contributions - ROR-n Blog (2020-2022)
PublisherROR-n and Austrian Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)2707-8752
ISSN (electronic)2707-8760


On 21 April 2021, The Guardian reported that “[N]early 17 child migrants a day vanished in Europe since 2018”. Of course, this fact as well as many other numbers and statistics are not new and not surprising. National governments, the European Union, politicians of all parties know that unaccompanied refugee children belong to the most vulnerable groups in our globalized societies as recent reports of the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty and of the Austrian Kindeswohlkommission (established in the spring of 2021) illustrate. Frequently under way for months or even years, they finally arrive – if they survive such highly dangerous and traumatizing journeys at all – at the borders of countries which do not want to host them and which either imprison them in camps, lock them into cages and separate them from their parents (like at the US-Mexican border), threaten to send them back immediately or – rarely – after many months or even years of waiting because of difficult bureaucratic procedures allow them to stay legally with foster families who receive monies from the respective state for their food, education, clothing, and so forth. NGOs, journalists, scholars, and international organizations have written a vast number of reports, proposals, articles, and books, documenting the plight of child and adult refugees; petitions are launched daily, asking for help; and symposia continue to discuss options for humanitarian policies.