What the death of Blessing Matthew tells us about the Franco Italian border

On May 9, 2018, as many European citizens were celebrating Europe Day, the dead body of a young black woman was found in the French river of Durance, not far away from the Franco Italian border. It was the body of Blessing Matthew, a Nigerian girl in her early twenties. As many other people from Africa, Blessing crossed the Mediterranean Sea aiming for a better life in Europe. But she encountered death in unclear circumstances. According to some witnesses of the night that led to Blessing’s death, whatever happened needs to be examined in relation to the actions undertaken by the French Police patrolling the border. This year, on October 25th, after investigation by the French police was declared inconclusive and two attempts to bring Blessing’s case to court in France were dismissed, Tous Migrants, a French migrant advocacy organization, announced that it had filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights. On this episode of Europe Talks Back, host Alexander Damiano Ricci talks to Janina Pescinski, Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholar at Queen Mary University of London, working on questions related to migration, citizenship, and borders, to understand the critical situation migrants are living along the Franco-Italian border within the European Union.

You can follow Janina’s work on Twitter here.

The blog post by Janina, through which we discovered Blessing’s story, you can find it at Ideas on Europe, the blog of UACES, the association for contemporary European Studies. 

The special investigation conducted by the people behind Border Forensics, which led to the association Tous Migrants to file an appeal with the European Court for Human Rights. 

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