Migration

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Drowning Migrants, the Human Rights Committee, and Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations

In this post I will analyse more extensively the two decisions of the UN Human Rights Committee that I flagged previously (A.S. and others v. Malta, CCPR/C/128/D/3043/2017 ; A.S. and others v. Italy, CCPR/C/130/DR/3042/2017), dealing with the failure of Malta and Italy to rescue a group of more than 200 migrants whose vessel sank in the Mediterranean in 2013. My focus here will be on the threshold question of the extraterritorial application of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which revolves around the concept of state jurisdiction in Article 2(1) ICCPR. Briefly, the Committee applied a functional conception of jurisdiction to find that the migrants were concurrently within the jurisdiction of both Malta and Italy. The case against Malta was however declared inadmissible for failure to pursue any domestic remedies, while Italy was found responsible for failing to discharge its positive obligation to protect the lives of persons in distress at sea. For more background and analysis, see here,…

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Amicus Curiae Brief re MH17; Human Rights Committee on Search and Rescue at Sea

Recent weeks have been something of an extraterritoriality extravaganza. So let’s continue with that theme, hopefully not ad nauseam. First, readers might be interested in the amicus curiae brief that my colleague Sangeeta Shah and I co-authored and which we submitted this week to the European Court of Human Rights in…

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Why it is so Hard to Hold Frontex Accountable: On Blame-Shifting and an Outdated Remedies System

On Friday 23 October, a joint investigation conducted by Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports, Der Spiegel, ARD, and TV Asahi revealed that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) has been complicit in human rights violations at the Greek maritime border. Videos and satellite photos show how arriving migrant boats are forced to turn back…

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The Nave Andromeda and the seven stowaways

On 25 October 2020, an incident involving seven stowaways occurred on the Nave Andromeda (IMO: 9580405), a crude oil tanker flying the flag of Liberia. The vessel was on its way from Lagos, Nigeria (having left the port of Lagos on 6 October 2020) to Southampton, United Kingdom (UK). This blog post describes the incident in more…

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We need to talk about citizenship, and race

Citizens and unauthorized migrants seemingly stand at opposite ends of the rights spectrum. While citizenship denotes the “fullest” bundle of rights, the legal status of unauthorized migrant generally entails deprivation of most fundamental rights. Most legal and political theorists conceive this relation as a conceptual dichotomy in which the former functions as rhetorical domain of inclusion, of…

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