Refugee Law

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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 breach of due diligence obligations; and actual liability itself may be contingent on circumstances, as demonstrated years after the event by the HRC decisions in Malta and Italy (on which Marko Milanovic commented so astutely). But responsibility is not only individual; it is also collective, and the present system is full of holes. On 26 March, the EU Common Security and Defence Policy military operation in the Mediterranean – EUNAVFOR MED IRINI – was extended for two years, tasked with continuing to secure the implementation of the UN arms embargo to Libya and disrupting human smuggling and trafficking operations. But just two weeks before, the UN’s Panel of Experts on Libya noted that 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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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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