Refugee Law

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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 be classified “Place of Safety” under the definition of the Hamburg Convention on search and maritime rescue, for cases of rescue carried out by naval units flying a foreign flag outside the Italian SAR [Search and Rescue] area. In short, the Decree intends to prevent all the "castaways" (in particular, migrants and asylum seekers) rescued by NGOs flying non-Italian flags from landing in Italian ports. The measure is justified, juridically, with the declaration of a state of emergency, and politically, with the need to protect public health. The preventive effect would be threefold: first, avoidance of new outbreaks from potentially infected migrants; second, prevention of further burdens on the already overloaded national health…

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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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Back to Square One or a New Blueprint has been Found for the ‘Refugee’ Definition?

Editor's note: This post is part of the ESIL Interest Group on Migration and Refugee Law symposium on The UN Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees: The Twin Peaks? Our search for a new blueprint (or searching for a way to find a new blueprint) for the ‘refugee’ definition started already in 2016, at “The…

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