Skip to main content
School of Law

The Deadliest Frontier: Taking Stock of Mediterranean Crossings in 2015

14 March 2016

Time: 6:00 - 8:30pm
Venue: Room 102, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS

Expert Round Table hosted by the LLM in Immigration Law Programme, with the support of the Centre for European and International Legal Affairs (CEILA).


Several organisations, including UNHCR and IOM, have counted the highest death toll ever registered of sea journeys across the Mediterranean, reaching a total figure of 3,770 in 2015 alone. Considering push factors and the absence of legal and safe channels for access to international protection in Europe for Syrian refugees and other forcibly displaced migrants, it has been calculated that 80% of the 1,000,573 registered arrivals have reached EU ports by sea. Against this background, and considering, at the same time, that the Mediterranean is the most surveyed blue border in the world - especially since the EUROSUR system became operational in December 2013 - and the fact that sea and weather conditions are far less extreme and unpredictable than in other oceanic frontiers, it is urgent to evaluate the implications of current policies, taking stock of lessons learned from individual and joint practices. The Triton and EUNAVFOR Med operations have proven ineffective so far to deal with present challenges, calling for a re-examination of real needs, integrating the rights and entitlements of boat migrants and refugees themselves, acknowledging existing protection obligations of the EU and the Member States, and moving away from the security-centred approaches adopted hitherto.


  • Welcome and Introduction by Chair, Dr Violeta Moreno-Lax, Director of Immigration Law Programme and Co-Director of CEILA (QMUL)
  • Captain Paolo Cafaro (Guardia Costiera IT): 'Italy's Approach after Mare Nostrum: The Challenges of Search and Rescue at Sea in the Midst of the Refugee Crisis'
  • Ms Melanie Fink (University of Leiden): 'Frontex JO Triton: Practical Implementation and Questions of Responsibility‘
  • Ms Nina Perkowski (University of Edinburg) [tbc]: ‘EUNAVFOR Med, the Militarisation of EU Borders and the De-Humanisation of Asylum Seeker Flows’
  • Dr Anna Liguori (JMCEMigrants, University of Naples L’Orientale): 'In Search of Solutions: Pondering Alternatives'
  • Professor Emilio de Capitani (QMUL): 'New Paradigm: A Proposal for a Human-Rights Based Approach'
  • General Discussion / Q&A.

A drinks reception will be offered to all attendees at the end of the event.


For directions to the venue, please refer to the map.

How to book

This event is free but prior booking is required. Register online via Eventbrite.


For more information on this event, please email

Photography, video and audio recording

School of Law events may be photographed or video and audio recorded. These materials will be used for internal and external promotional purposes only by Queen Mary University of London. If you object to appearing in the photographs, please let our photographer know on the day. Alternatively you can email in advance of the event that you are attending.

Back to top