Current Developments

The alleged seizure of the El Hiblu 1 by rescued migrants

Not a case of piracy under the law of the sea

On 28 March 2019, a Maltese patrol vessel intercepted the Palau-flagged tanker vessel El Hiblu 1 (IMO: 9753258) at the outer limit of Malta’s territorial sea, and the ship was subsequently boarded and secured by a Maltese special operations team using a helicopter. The reason for this operation was that the El Hiblu 1 had allegedly been hijacked by members of a group of migrants it had rescued earlier, and that these migrants had …

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Customary International LawSymposium

The principle of responsibility-sharing in refugee protection

An emerging norm of customary international law

In December 2018, the Global Compact on Refugees was adopted. Especially over the last year, its drafting and negotiations could appear in odd contrast to the surrounding world, in which conditions for seeking asylum continued to harshen. Is the compact a step towards countering these conditions, or mere window-dressing without much effect on refugees’ rights? The compact is non-binding and one widely shared view is that all will depend on …

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Current Developments

Der Globale Migrationspakt: Zwischen Mythen und Sorgen

Die österreichische Bundesregierung hat bekanntgegeben, dem globalen Migrationspakt fernzubleiben. Ein Schritt, der in Deutschland von der AfD bejubelt wurde. Woher kommt die Skepsis? Fest steht: Um den Text ranken sich zahlreiche Mythen, aber auch Missverständnisse. Grund genug, einige davon aufzuklären.

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DiscussionResponse

Rethinking containment through the EU-Libya Migration Deal

In response to Nils Muiznieks, Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe who asked Italy to clarify its relationships with Libyan militia, the Italian Prime Minister Marco Minniti declared on October 11 that Italy’s goal is twofold: “to prevent migrant crossing which put life at risk […] and to grant that international standards are respected in Libya”. Minniti’s speech should be analysed in the light of the recent overt …

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Current Developments

The identification of individuals

Some thoughts on the ECHR judgment in the case N.D. and N.T.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in its judgment in the case and N.T. v. Spain found that push-backs to Morocco in the border zone of the Spanish enclave Melilla violated the prohibition of collective expulsion. The decision is important as it concerns the delimitation between legitimate border protection and practices that violate the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) – and thereby the key question in all regulation …

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DiscussionKick-off

Brother, where art thou?

Libya, spaces of violence and the diffusion of knowledge

The key political question in recent months has been how to reduce the number of unauthorized migrants that arrive to Europe’s shores in rickety vessels from politically unstable countries in North Africa. The overwhelming majority of the more than 134.000 migrants that arrived by sea to Europe this year landed on Italian shores (approximately 103.300). Most of the migrants landing in Italy departed from wartorn Libya. Italy seems to have …

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Current Developments

Returns Without Examinations

Greece’s Recent Judgment on Syrians’ Asylum Claims

On September 22, 2017, Greece’s highest administrative court – the Council of State – proclaimed that two Syrian asylum seekers can be deported to Turkey as a so-called safe third country. A court official explained the reasons for the judgment stating that “the court rejected the Syrians’ claims that their life and freedom would be in danger if they were returned to Turkey, as the judges opined this did not …

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Current Developments

The C-Star’s Odyssey and the International Law of the Sea

In Homer’s epic poem, “The Odyssey”, the Greek hero Odysseus, having left his home Ithaca to help bring Helena back from Troy, faced manifold hardships on his return across the Mediterranean Sea. In July 2017, European citizens set sail in a self-prescribed mission not to bring someone home, but to prevent others from calling Europe home. The loosely affiliated Generation Identity, consisting mostly of activists from Austria, France, Germany and …

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Current Developments

The Michigan Guidelines on Refugee Freedom of Movement, or: how explosive existing law can be

The Michigan Guidelines are a document in which legal scholars summarize the existing international laws of refugee protection on one particular aspect. They are “just” an expert opinion – yet by no means insignificant in that capacity. They are used by courts interpreting the law and thus stand themselves at the threshold of the legal. At any rate the guidelines can frame debates about the legality of state actions in …

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Movement of PeopleSymposium

Refugees at Our Backyard

Current US Refugee Policy and the Flight of Central Americans to the United States

Since the 1970s, the southern border of the United States – spanning 1989 miles of international border between the United States and Mexico – has been the site of significant migration from Central America. Over one million Central American refugees crossed into the United States from the late 1970s to the early 1990s to escape civil wars in Guatemala and El Salvador, while thousands more went to Canada, Mexico, Costa …

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