Criminology lecturer publishes book on the treatment of detained unaccompanied migrant children in Greece

Categories: School of Health and Society

Dr Ioannis Papadopoulos, Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Salford has put pen to paper for a research project with his new book ‘The Criminalisation of Unaccompanied Migrant Minors – Voices from the detention processes in Greece’.

According to the book description: “Giving voice to migrant children and professionals throughout, the author combines legal analysis with criminology and unveils the discrepancy between the law and practice. The findings demonstrate that unaccompanied children in Greece are criminalised through detention processes, while being deprived of the right to be heard.”

Ioannis explained: “This book promotes child-friendly practices in the international migration setting, with a view to safeguarding the fundamental rights of unaccompanied minors being subjected to detention processes upon arrival in host countries.”

With an academic and professional background in human rights law and migration law, Ioannis had seen first-hand the experiences that unaccompanied minors have before studying for his PhD in Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies. He said: “For over a decade I’ve been practicing law and collaborating extensively with international and Greek humanitarian organisations, providing legal aid and counselling on asylum procedures to vulnerable migrant populations.

He continued: “In the course of my profession, I travelled throughout the northern parts of Greece innumerable times and visited detention facilities for unaccompanied children, located at the state’s borders. Gradually, I became part of the refugee reception process; walked the minors’ steps and explored the numerous human rights violations that occur within detention centres for unaccompanied children.”

Setting the tone right from the front cover, the book gives a voice to detained unaccompanied migrant minors. Ioannis explained the front cover is supposed to emulate the detention centre; a brick wall with a childlike drawing of a barred window and a child holding a toy. All in the colours of the Greek flag. Ioannis said: “You as the reader are standing outside of the detention centre’s brick wall, and the idea behind this is to just turn the cover so that you can see what takes place behind said wall, behind closed doors within detention facilities for unaccompanied migrant minors.”

Ioannis concluded: “Hopefully, this study’s findings will be viewed as the initial step towards creating a safe environment, where the voice of unaccompanied children is heard as clearly and loudly as possible, to safeguard their rights in the migration setting. In addition, it will carve the path for academics and practitioners to further explore the ways in which unaccompanied children experience reception procedures upon arrival into host countries and examine the humanitarian aspects and the tension between human rights and migration policing.”

The book is published by Bristol University Press and available to purchase here.

Dr Ioannis portrait

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