image_printPrint this article

By Karin Aberg, Doctoral Candidate in International Law at the University of Gothenburg.

Between 2016 and 2019, most asylum seekers on the Greek hotspots had to undergo a vulnerability  assessment. If found vulnerable, they were exempted from return to Turkey under the EU-Turkey Agreement and free to travel to the Greek mainland. Two groups were concerned. First, those who would not be safe in the third country; Second, those who for personal reasons cannot be managed through camps and border procedures, due to physical or social circumstances.

Continue reading »

image_printPrint this article

By Vera Wriedt, PhD researcher at Hertie School’s Centre for Fundamental Rights.

This blog post was first published by Strasbourg Observers.

The closure of the Greek-Macedonian border on 8 March 2016 entailed systematic pushbacks. The largest operation occurred on 14-15 March 2016, when more than 1500 refugees were summarily returned from North Macedonia to Greece. The complaint of AA and others v North Macedonia addressed this large-scale pushback operation. However, instead of condemning these pushbacks, the European Court of Human Rights expanded the exception from the prohibition of collective expulsions created in the case of ND and NT v Spain and found the applicants culpable of circumventing legal pathways, ignoring that these were clearly not available in practice. Thereby, the Court reproduces exclusionary reasoning that has shaped the European Convention on Human Rights since its inception.

Continue reading »

image_printPrint this article

By Stéphane Saurel, Professor at Université Saint-Louis (Bruxelles), at Université catholique de Louvain, and author of the book Le budget de l’Union européenne (La Documentation française, 2018)

The budgetary scrutiny is one of the most powerful cards the European Parliament can play to make effective its oversight over a decentralised agency. The budgetary discharge procedure is indeed an instrumental tool to enhance the political accountability of the agencies. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) provides a good illustration of how the European Parliament uses this power as, from the second year in a row, it withheld its approval of the management of the agency’s budget. By contrast, the budgetary procedure offers to the European Parliament less possibility to influence the functioning of an agency.

Continue reading »

image_printPrint this article

By Nikolas Feith Tan, Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

Introduction

The UK-Rwanda Asylum Partnership Agreement (APA) is the latest in a line of cooperative asylum arrangements that seek to shift asylum responsibility from destination states in the Global North to countries in the developing world. Such arrangements are generally for the purpose of deterring and deflecting protection seekers and, as such, the APA should be understood as a form of externalisation, an umbrella concept for the efforts of certain states to externalise certain basic functions (in this case asylum processing and protection) in the areas of border control and asylum.

It is important to locate the APA in its broader practice of related (but not identical) arrangements, which include US third country processing of intercepted asylum seekers at Guantanamo Bay, Australian-led attempts at third country processing and protection in Nauru and Papua New Guinea (PNG), the EU-Turkey Statement, Israel’s ‘voluntary departure’ programmes involving the transfer of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to Rwanda and Uganda, and the short-lived US-Guatemala Asylum Cooperation Arrangement. Almost 20 years on, the APA also resonates with the UK’s ‘New Vision for Refugees’, which included the processing of asylum seekers in transit states after arrival in the EU. And most recently, the UK would appear to have beaten Denmark to the line in announcing a transfer arrangement with Rwanda, a policy vision reflected in Danish legislation since June 2021.

Continue reading »

image_printPrint this article

By Janine Prantl, Visiting Scholar at the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, and Ian Matthew Kysel, Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at Cornell Law School

This blog post was first published by The European Journal of International Law.

More than 5 million refugees have recently fled Ukraine, the fastest-growing mass displacement in this century. About a quarter of Ukraine’s population and half of its children have fled their homes. The European Union (EU) responded with a first-time activation of the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD). Lurking behind tremendous generosity, States have treated arrivals from Ukraine differently than other recent flows of forced migrants and have also treated some fleeing Ukraine differently than others. Although differential treatment is not always discriminatory under human rights law, some State responses to the current crisis arguably have been. Fortunately, the law creates myriad ways to challenge these violations. Using this law in the courts, we argue, could foster better protection of refugees and other migrants in the current crisis and in the future, strengthening non-discrimination’s rightful place as a key tool for advancing the rights of people crossing borders.

Continue reading »

image_printPrint this article

By Dr. Maja Grundler, PhD researcher at Queen Mary University of London, and Elspeth Guild, Professor at Queen Mary University of London

On 14 April 2022, the UK government published a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concluded with the government of Rwanda for the provision of an asylum partnership arrangement. The MoU foresees the transfer ‘of asylum seekers whose claims are not being considered by the United Kingdom, to Rwanda, which will process their claims and settle or remove (as appropriate) individuals after their claim is decided.’ 

Continue reading »