Refugee Law

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“Pushbacks” as Euphemism

Late in March, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, declared that it identified “hundreds” of migrant pushbacks from Greece. These have allegedly occurred in the Aegean and in the Evros region – the Northern land border between Greece and Turkey. While Greece continues to deny these allegations, it has now become abundantly clear that this is mere gaslighting. Aegean Boat Report, one of the most persistent documenters of these events, holds an enormous trove of photographic and other evidence of these actions. Leading media sites, as well as politicians in Brussels, have acknowledged these actions. In our own work with migrants and refugees, as scholars and advocates, we have often heard first-hand accounts of these violations. The term “pushback” has emerged from the discourse of refugee advocates. It is a non-technical term to refer to a violation of the basic prohibition of refugee law – that of non-refoulement: no one should be returned to where they may suffer well-founded fear of persecution or ill-treatment. It is also a procedural safeguard ensuring that anyone with…

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Drowning in the Mediterranean: Time to think and act regionally

Europe, that is, the EU and its institutions, currently asserts the right to manage the movement of people across the Mediterranean, and with that comes responsibility, for special protection is owed to those whom it would manage. ‘Responsibility’ is multi-dimensional. Fault, in the sense of wilful or negligent conduct, may be relevant; or responsibility may follow from the…

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Pragmatic reconciliation and pragmatic avoidance: The UK Supreme Court faces the norm conflict on abducted (refugee?) children in G v G

The topic of this post is a Supreme Court ruling from Friday 19 March, ‘G v G’, and specifically its approach to the potentially conflicting treaties respectively governing (a) the protection of refugees and (b) the return of abducted children to their previous state of residence. The Court demonstrated a commendable refusal to inflict undue violence on…

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Non-refoulement During a Health Emergency

The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus worldwide has sparked continuous scientific debates about the impact of the health emergency and its legal implications. In an attempt to expand this growing debate, this short post aims to shed some light on the impact this emergency is having on asylum seekers and, therefore, to examine the possible tensions…

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M.N. and Others v Belgium: no ECHR protection from refoulement by issuing visas

 With its inadmissibility decision in M.N. and Others v Belgium delivered on 5 May 2020, the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR made it clear that individuals who apply for visas at embassies with the intention to seek protection, do not fall within the jurisdiction of the ECHR State Parties in the sense of Article 1 ECHR. As…

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