The website for critical discussion about migration in Central and Eastern Europe.

Managing refugees: the transformation of asylum in the post-communist Czech Republic

This article, which was originally published at migrationeducation.org, analyses the legal-political construction of ‘refugee’ in the post-communist Czech Republic before and after its accession to the European Union (EU). It focuses on the role of the state and explains the gradual shift that took place towards treating asylum as a matter of migration management rather than a fundamental human right. The article briefly maps the evolution of the construction of ‘refugee’ in the 1990s. Next, the focus is on changes in asylum and immigration legislation in 1999 and their long-term effects on the asylum policy-making in the country. Migrants’ reactions to these legislative changes are also examined. The article concludes with an assessment of the latest changes in the construction of ‘refugee’ following the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU in 2004 and its joining to the Schengen area in 2007. Finally the recent introduction of a resettlement programme for selected groups of “refugees is analysed.
Alice Szczepaniková
The author is a sociologist. She works at the University of Leicester and lives in Brussels. Her research interests include gender aspects of forced migration (particularly from countries of the former Soviet Union to Europe), the relationship between religiosity and integration of young immigrants in Europe, family migration and the role of the non-governmental sector in advocating the rights of migrants and influencing migration policies. Information on her research and publications is available at http://szczepanikova.wordpress.com.
22. 2. 11

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