Fighting Rule of Law Backsliding: Civil Society Activism and Protection of the Fundamental Rights of Migrants in Europe
Pushbacks of migrants have deep implications for the rule of law in Europe. It often occurs in militarized border zones with limited public coverage. The lack of transparency means authorities can operate with a large degree of impunity. This poses a serious challenge to the rule of law as well as the fundamental rights of migrants. Although pushbacks and the rule of law are closely interrelated, scholars have yet to seriously interrogate their intertwinement. Even less attention has been paid to understanding the role that civil society activism plays in advocating pushbacks as a rule of law problem. To address these knowledge gaps, this study builds on legal scholarship on the rule of law and integrates insights from International Relations to unpack the strategies of civil society actors to protect migrants by propounding pushbacks as a violation of the rule of law. In doing so, this project uses the lens of civil society activism to make a new understanding of how pushbacks are challenging the rule of law in Europe. Furthermore, by examining advocacy campaigns, the findings will inform public policy debates on the support which activists need to safeguard the rule of law and fundamental rights from annihilation.