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Countering Instrumentalised Migration: The case for Border Closure Through a Derogation under the ECHR

As examined in Felix Peerbom’s recent post, the phenomenon of instrumentalised migration has made its unwanted return to the European Union’s (EU) external borders. Instrumentalised migration refers to cross-border population movements that have been deliberately created or manipulated in order to induce political, military and/or economic concessions from a target state or states (Greenhill 2010 p. 13). In recent weeks, Finland and Estonia have received an increasing number of asylum seekers from Russia and adopted various border closure measures. This post adopts the point-of-view of a receiving state in a situation of instrumentalised migration. By considering the qualification of the actions of the sending state under international law and the human rights of asylum seekers under the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), the post examines the possibility of border closure as a response potentially available to the receiving state under these bodies of law. Instrumentalised Migration and State Responsibility…

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Rising tensions at the EU’s External Borders with Russia: The Unwanted Return of Instrumentalised Migration and Problematic Responses

On November 22nd 2023, the Finnish government announced its decision to close all but one of its border crossings with Russia — having closed four crossings one week earlier. That decision was taken in response to a spike in arrivals of undocumented migrants. Though the EU and its Member States have been confronted with…

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From Farmakonisi to Pylos at the ECtHR

In July 2022 the ECtHR published its judgement in the case Safi and others v. Greece, pronouncing on what came to be known as the Farmakonisi shipwreck of 2014. The investigation of the Pylos shipwreck of June 14th, the second deadliest on record in the Mediterranean since 2015, is still underway. According to…

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Halfway Through 2023: A Year of Unparalleled, Avoidable Migrant Tragedies at Sea

In April 2023, I wrote about the Crotone migrant shipwreck which occurred on February 26, 2023, and ‘shocked’ the European Union (EU). Approximately 94 lives were lost, several others are still missing, and 86 survived. The incident was yet another paradigm of the delayed/non-assistance saga that has been unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea region at the…

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Rescue at Sea and Asylum on Humanitarian Vessels

The recent impasse concerning the disembarkation of nearly 600 migrants rescued in Maltese and Libyan search and rescue (SAR) zones on the Central Mediterranean by NGO vessels (Humanity 1, operated by SOS Humanity, the Ocean Viking, operated by SOS Mediterranée, lately joined by the Geo Barents, operated by Médécins Sans Frontières (MSF), and Rise Above operated by Mission…

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