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Poland’s Power Play at its Borders Violates Fundamental Human Rights Law 

While the political and diplomatic power play between the European Union and Belarus over sanctions and gas delivery cuts escalate, the conditions for thousands of migrants physically trapped between borders deteriorates by the hour. Despite a ban of journalists at the border area based on Poland’s declared emergency status, videos and pictures of migrants, including families with children in tents in freezing conditions without adequate shelter, food or access to sanitation facilities and stories of deaths reach the rest of the continent and beyond. For months, the situation at the border intensified with an increasing number of migrants and asylum-seekers entering Poland via Belarus allegedly with official help from the Lukashenko regime. This triggered increasingly violent responses from the Polish side of the border ranging from push-backs (legalized under Polish law, see for an analysis of the legality of the legislation on border procedure here and here) to the construction of a physical border fence. The ECtHR already ordered on 25 August 2021 in interim measures pursuant…

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Realising the Right to Leave during Externalised Migration Control

States, predominantly those in the Global North, routinely engage in externalised migration control to obstruct and control the movement of asylum seekers and other migrants. Broadly speaking, externalised migration control involves the implementation of migration control practices and deterrence policies beyond a state’s territory or having extraterritorial effects. Externalisation is often viewed and…

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The Nationality and Borders Bill: Closing Space for Humanitarian Assistance at Sea

On 6 July 2021, the UK Government published the Nationality and Borders Bill, Bill 14 of 2021-22. Secretary of State for the Home Department Priti Patel, who sponsors the Bill, described its motivation as follows: The British people have had enough of open borders and uncontrolled immigration; enough of a failed asylum system…

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The First Parliamentary Debate on Human Rights at Sea: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

On Tuesday, 22 June 2021, the House of Lords debated for the first time the steps the UK has taken to protect human rights at sea. The debate was initiated by an oral question raised by Lord Teverson of Tregony who has been acting as Patron of the UK-based charity Human Rights…

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The New Palestinian Refugees

According to numbers The Guardian published on May 17, 2021, the current Israeli attack on Gaza has killed 200 Palestinians, including 59 children. 34,000 have been displaced from their homes. It is hard to assess the accuracy of these numbers. Very likely, the death toll will be higher: the violence has not ebbed, and bodies…

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