Public event

Europe’s deadly borders: Seeking protection in bordered Europe

This panel discussion in the frame of the 2021 Berlin Human Rights Film Festival  is part of the event series "Fundamental Rights in Practice" hosted by the Centre for Fundamental Rights.

This panel discussion will explore the policies that render Europe’s borders deadly for those in search of protection and how to shift the politics of exclusion.

The panel will be chaired by Professor Cathryn Costello, Professor of Fundamental Rights Co-Director of the Centre for Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School and  Professor of Refugee and Migration Law at the University of Oxford, with contributions from Dr Grazyna Baranowska, Marie Curie principal investigator on an innovative project exploring Europe’s legal obligations to ‘missing migrants’ in conversation with refugee activists.

For more information and registration please visit the Berlin Human Rights Film Forum website.



  • Salam Aldeen is founder and CEO of the non-profit organisation Team Humanity. 

  • Grażyna Baranowska is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School in Berlin. Her project, MIRO, funded through the EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, seeks to identify and interpret international legal obligations regarding missing migrants and accordingly critique and shape the practices of the EU, its Member States, and pertinent international organisations. In her former work as a researcher and policy advisor on enforced disappearances at the German Institute for Human Rights, she published a report on “Disappeared Migrants and Refugees”.
    Picture: © BOK + Gärtner GmbH, Karsten Ziegengeist 

  • Meron Estefanos is a renown human rights activist, journalist and radio presenter. She is the co-founder of the International Commission on Eritrean Refugees and director of Eritrean Initiative on Eritrean Refugees in Stockholm, Sweden. She is the co-author and contributor to a wide range of studies, books and academic publications on the smuggling and trafficking of human beings (STHB). Over the last ten years, Estefanos personally developed a unique network of testimonies and sources on STHB, with a particular focus on the condition of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees from the Horn of Africa to Europe. Estefanos was awarded the 2011 Dawit Isaak Prize, Sweden. She was nominated for the 2014 UNHCR Nansen Award by the US State Department Bureau of Population, Refugee, and Migration. In 2015 she was awarded "Earth Angel" ACAT Award, and named by The Guardian among the eight “heroes” of 2016. In 2014, Estefanos was honoured by Amnesty International and the Movies that Matter Festival for her film "Sound of Torture" as well as the VARA (Dutch National TV) audience award.

  • Sarah Mardini is a human rights activist. Mardini has been imprisonened in Greece and faces charges after helping refugees to reach the country safely. 



  • Cathryn Costello is Professor of Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School and Co-Director of the Centre for Fundamental Rights. Costello is also part-time Professor II at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights at the University of Oslo, and is on leave from her previous post as Professor of Refugee and Migration Law at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford.