SuperCamp: Genealogies of Humanitarian Containment in the Middle East

Project leader: Are John Knudsen (CMI)

A view of the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, where nearly 80,000 Syrian refugees are living, 27 March 2017. Photo: Sahem Rababah/UN Photo

In 2015, more than one million migrants reached Europe. In response, the EU and Schengen countries instituted a new policy of regional containment from March 2016. The policy specifically aimed to stop and turn back migrants and especially targeted irregular migration through Turkey. Border patrols in the Mediterranean increased and surveillance and border patrols intensified. In so doing, the EU and Schengen countries effectively established a “catch basin” for refugees and migrants in the Middle East. This project examines the implications of this for the transit countries in the Middle East and hypothesizes that the Middle East takes on features of what we call a “SuperCamp” – an area where migrants are not so much hosted but held hostage.

Ultimately, the project aims to build a new understanding of the regional and global forces of humanitarian containment, captured in the term ‘SuperCamp.’ Against this background, the project’s main hypothesis is that that Middle East has emerged as a region of humanitarian containment: a SuperCamp. The creation of the analytical concept, SuperCamp, is significant and represents a new framework through which to understand the processes in the Middle East.

A full project description is available here.