Refugee Law

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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 a consequence, the protection from non-refoulement under Article 3 cannot be triggered.  This is a decision preceded by the CJEU judgment in X. and X. v Belgium that had a similar negative result, but on different grounds. As opposed to the ECHR, the EU Charter arguably has no jurisdictional threshold, but the Charter’s triggering does require that the EU member state implements EU law. This condition was not satisfied since CJEU found that an application for a visa on humanitarian grounds was not within the scope of EU. With M.N. and Others v Belgium it became clear that neither is it within the scope of Council of Europe human rights law, since the jurisdiction threshold cannot…

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Covid-19: Italy is not a “place of safety” anymore. Is the decision to close Italian ports compliant with human rights obligations?

The Inter-ministerial Decree n. 150 of 7 April 2020 of the Italian Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, in agreement with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Health, has established that: For the entire period of health emergency resulting from the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Italian ports will lack the necessary requirements to…

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Statelessness is back (not that it ever went away…)

Citizenship deprivation and statelessness are very much back in fashion. States increasingly resort to such measures to deal with those returning from foreign wars, or as a sanction for those otherwise deemed undesirable and unwanted – it must certainly seem easier than living up to their obligations actually to combat terrorist activities or war crimes or crimes against…

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An Unforeseen Pandora’s Box? Absolute Non-Refoulement Obligations under Article 5 of the ILC Draft Articles on Crimes Against Humanity

Introduction In 2013, the International Law Commission (ILC) added to its long-term work programme the topic of a convention on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity. This proposed convention is meant to join sibling conventions addressing genocide and war crimes and would stand in the tradition of other conventions addressing serious crimes, such as…

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The IOM’s New Status and its Role under the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: Pause for Thought

On 8 July 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted by consensus the Agreement Concerning the Relationship between the UN and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) (the UN-IOM Agreement). In broad terms, the objective of the UN-IOM Agreement was to ensure better coordination between UN agencies and the IOM as they fulfil their respective mandates. The Agreement…

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