In recent years, protection in the region policies have become a popular strategy among European governments. In the Netherlands, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has financed NGOs and other intermediaries with the aim of ‘improving prospects for refugees in the regions of origin’. Scholars have questioned the bundling of humanitarianism, development, and migration control in such policies, as well as the position of NGOs in externalisation practices. A comparative discourse analysis was done to study the discourses that characterise policies on protection in the region, and the ways in which NGOs and the Dutch MFA discursively legitimate their involvement. Interviews and document analysis reveals the contested nature of what protection in the region entails, and why it is done. While both NGOs and the MFA legitimise protection in the region efforts within a humanitarian and human rights-oriented discourse, the Dutch government simultaneously presents their policy within a discourse on migration management. In addition to literature that conceptualises such discourses as ‘competing and contrasting’, this thesis shows how these discourses can be co-constitutive of each other in the context of externalisation. These findings, as well as categorisations of ‘vulnerable’ and ‘irregular’ migrants, show how language can have profound consequences for international migration governance

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Dr. .M.A.C. Van Ostaijen, Dr. A. Pisarevskaya
Public Administration
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Aldith Pasveer. (2023, August 11). Discussing Protection in the Region: Between Political Mantra and Reality. Public Administration. Retrieved from