Maritime Migration Flows and Challenges for Refugee Protection

In her current research project, Katia Bianchini looks at legal frameworks relevant to mixed migration flows at sea (Law of the Sea, refugee law, criminal law, human rights) at the international, regional, and national levels. The project aims to shed light on whether the legal frameworks are effective in protecting asylum seekers and to make recommendations for improvements. To gather first-hand empirical data for this project, Bianchini is conducting fieldwork in Italy. The methodology is grounded in interdisciplinary legal research (combining legal analysis with legal and empirical data collection through interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires), which allows Bianchini to examine how the law works on the ground. Legal analysis is thereby enriched by data on how state and non-state actors navigate various systems to help sea migrants in distress or to circumvent legal obligations.

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