Placing asylum seekers under the category of “detainees’ effectively puts them in the hands of the state, which has a “strong duty to care’ for persons under its responsibility. Consequently, force-feeding is read as ‘giving care”. Within this construction, the deprivation of freedom (being detained by the Dutch state) and violence (being subjected to non-consented bodily intervention) are transformed into dutiful benevolence (being cared for by the Dutch state). It is worth noting that the consideration to force-feed asylum seekers occurs at the same time that asylum seekers are dying at European Union’s borders under the watchful eyes of its surveillance systems, or committing suicide in EU detention centres under conditions of a lack of medical care. This distribution of care is carefully managed.
Patricia Schor en Egbert Alejandro Martina in The alien body in contemporary Netherlands: incarceration and force-feeding of asylum seekers (Critical Legal Thinking)