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Protecting Europe or Irregular Migrants? The (Mis)use of Force in the Mediterranean

On Monday 11 May Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, officially briefed the UN Security Council on the current crisis in Europe. The crisis relates to the sharp increase of fatalities of individuals trying to cross the Mediterranean in order to reach European shores. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports 1.800 deaths since the beginning of 2015, more than 800 of them during a single incident in April. Deaths in the Mediterranean are an annually recurring tragedy triggering public outcry in spring that dwindles down as less individuals attempt the journey due to the harsher conditions at sea during the colder months. However, 2015 is likely to become the deadliest year. According to Peter Sutherland, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration, these numbers represent a 20-fold increase over the same period last year. The surge in fatalities is largely attributed to the discontinuation of the search and rescue operation Mare Nostrum by the Italian navy and its replacement by…

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A UN Special Rapporteur on Privacy – Why Now?

As the 28th ordinary session draws to a close this week, the UN Human Rights Council is expected to consider a proposal to create a new UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy. The draft resolution, spearheaded by Brazil and Germany and supported by a broad group of states, is the latest of a series of…

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An Old Question in a New Context: Do States Have to Comply with Human Rights When Countering the Phenomenon of Foreign Fighters?

The phenomenon of foreign fighters involves, as described by the OHCHR, “individuals who leave their country of origin or habitual residence, motivated primarily by ideology or religion, and become involved in violence as part of an insurgency or non-State armed group (even though they may also be motivated by payment)”. Preventing and responding to this phenomenon involves…

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‘Temporary Exclusion Orders’ and their Implications for the United Kingdom’s International Legal Obligations, Part II

This is Part II of a two-part post, a modified version of a legal opinion submitted to the UK Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights on the proposal to introduce temporary exclusion orders of British citizens suspected of engaging in terrorist activities. Part I discussed the implications of temporary exclusion orders (TEOs) for the UK's international legal obligations to…

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Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014): The “Foreign Terrorist Fighter” as an International Legal Person, Part II

This is Part II of a two-part post. Read Part I here. Res. 2178 is no basis for criminal sanctions Resolution 2178 is not in itself the basis for criminalising the behaviour it seeks to suppress. On the contrary, it resembles the classic suppression conventions, i.e. international treaties imposing the…

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