Tag Archives: Law of the Sea

Oxford Law Workshop: Governing Forced Migration by Sea: A Legal Perspective (Oxford, 18 Nov)

Limited places were available as of 6 November.  If interested, register ASAP.

“In the past decades, the phenomenon of ‘boat migration’ has increasingly been perceived as a problem. In the absence of a detailed legal regime, coastal states have adopted their own regulatory approaches, challenging at times the basis of their international obligations. In light of recent developments, including the flows of refugees fleeing the war in Libya, the increasingly important role played by the EU in this context, and the expected decision by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Hirsi v Italy, the workshop, through an extensive analysis of the legal framework, aims at detecting both the potentialities and shortcomings of the regime currently governing forced migration by sea, so that possible solutions and spaces for improvement may be identified.

The workshop will take place at the Old Library, All Souls College, Oxford, on Friday 18 November 2011. Places are limited and registration to violeta.morenolax@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk or irini.papanicolopulu@law.ox.ac.uk is essential.

Programme: 10h Welcome address by Chair Vaughan Lowe 10h15 Guy S Goodwin-Gill: Introduction to Key Issues on Forced Migration by Sea 10h45 Efthymios Papastavridis: The Law of the Sea and Forced Migration 11h15 Coffee Break 11h30 Seline Trevisanut: Non-Refoulement at Sea 12h Discussion on the morning session/ Q&A 13h Lunch 14h Violeta Moreno Lax: Joint Operation Hermes 14h30 Irini Papanicolopulu: Hirsi v Italy 15h Tullio Treves : Conclusions – Cross-fertilization as a Potential Solution 15h30 Discussion on the afternoon session/ Q&A.  Organised by Oxford Law Faculty

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JHA Council Conclusions on the management of migration from the Southern Neighbourhood – 11 April 2011

Excerpts from today’s JHA Council Conclusions:


5. The Council calls on FRONTEX to continue to monitor the situation and prepare detailed risk analyses on possible scenarios with a view to identifying the most effective responses to them, and also invites FRONTEX to speed up negotiations with the countries of the region – and in particular with Tunisia – with a view to concluding operational working arrangements, and organising joint patrolling operations in cooperation with Tunisian authorities and in application of all relevant international Conventions, in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (“the Montego Bay Convention”).

6. The Council urges Member States to provide further human and technical resources to support the Agency’s operations, and in particular the existing Joint Operations Hermes, Poseidon Land and Sea and the possible deployment of a RABIT operation in Malta, in accordance with needs identified by the Agency in the light of the developing situation.

7. In order to rapidly strengthen the competences of FRONTEX and put more effective tools at its disposal, the Council agrees to accelerate negotiations on amending the FRONTEX Regulation, in cooperation with the European Parliament, with a view to reaching agreement by June 2011.

8. The Council underlines the need to promote all relevant forms of cooperation on a performance-based approach in the field of migration, mobility and security with the countries of the region that are sufficiently advanced in their reform progresses, and that effectively cooperate with the EU and its Member States in preventing illegal migration flows, managing their borders and cooperating in the return and readmission of irregular migrants. The Council stresses the need for early progress in the area of return and readmission in the case of relevant third countries, and recalls in particular that all States have an obligation to readmit their own nationals.


10. The Council welcomes the outcome of the visits of the Presidency and the Commission to Egypt and Tunisia and the intention of the Commission to follow-up these visits by setting up dialogues with the authorities of these countries at senior officials’ level, in which Member States will also participate, and which will be aimed at promoting the swift development of cooperation on the management of migration flows. This dialogue should in first instance, focus on the identification and promotion of measures which can contribute in a concrete and effective way to the prevention of illegal migration, to the effective management and control of their external borders, to the facilitation of the return and readmission of irregular migrants, and to the development of protection in the region for those in need, including through regional protection programmes. Subsequently, this dialogue could explore the possibilities for facilitating people-to-people contacts using instruments such as mobility partnerships.

11. The Council stresses the importance of offering durable protection solutions to those in need of international protection present in the countries of the Southern Neighbourhood, and, in this respect, calls on the Commission and the Council’s preparatory bodies to examine the possibility of assisting those countries in capacity building in the area of international protection, including by activating existing regional protection programmes, and assessing the need for additional programmes in the region.

12. The Council recalls that resettlement of refugees on a voluntary basis, in particular those living for some years in a situation of protracted displacement and vulnerability, and having no other perspective, can represent a durable solution for them. The Council takes note of the willingness of certain Member States to consider offering resettlement opportunities for the refugees present in the region. The Council invites Member States to continue supporting UNHCR in the development of resettlement programmes and calls on the Commission to identify solutions for supporting financially such resettlement actions.

13. The Council underlines that the measures mentioned in the paragraphs above represent the immediate answer to the crisis situation in the Mediterranean, but that it is also crucial to put in place a more long-term sustainable strategy to address international protection, migration, mobility and security in general, and taking also the secondary movements to other Member States into account.

14. The Council welcomes the Commission’s intention to come forward for that purpose with proposals in response to the Declaration of the Extraordinary European Council of 11 March and the Conclusions of the European Council of 24-25 March, and notes that the Presidency stands ready to convene an extraordinary meeting of the Council on 12 May if necessary in the light of developments and to further consider these matters.”

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Filed under European Union, Frontex, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mediterranean, News, Statements, Tunisia, UNHCR

WikiLeaks 2009 US Cable: EU-Libya Framework Agreement Hangs on ICC, Trade, Migration

This cable provides the views of the US Embassy in Tripoli as of July 2009 regarding the EU-Libya Framework Agreement negotiations.  A round of EU-Libya negotiations took place on 13-14 July 2009.  The cable was written by the US Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires at the time, Joan Polaschik, and is titled:  “EU FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT HANGS ON ICC, TRADE, MIGRATION.”

According to the cable, Libyan negotiator Mohammed Siala “railed against language stating that the [EU and Libya] agreed to discuss crimes against humanity in an international context, angrily stating that any mention of the International Criminal Court (ICC) or text similar to that of the Rome Statute would cause a total breakdown of the framework negotiations.”  Negotiations on migration issues however went more smoothly according to the cable: “the chief EC negotiator told EU diplomats that the negotiations [on migration] were a ‘step forward’ and that more progress was made than expected with no major objections from either side on the draft as presented….”

Excerpts from the cable:

“1.(C/NF) Summary: The latest round of EU-Libya Framework Agreement negotiations hit snags over sensitive political issues and were slowed by Libya’s inefficient technical bureaucracy. The Libyans denounced the International Criminal Court and decreed that any language similar to the Rome Statute was off limits. Trade talks stalled when the Libyans announced that they had not examined the draft paper (presented in early 2009) and were unable to produce trade statistics from 2007/2008 or provide data on the Libyan tariff system. Talks on migration went more smoothly than expected, but significant issues remain before the agreement could be given to member states for approval. EU diplomats in Tripoli are skeptical that the EC will be able to get an agreement that can be implemented by both sides within the remaining two rounds of talks….


2.(C/NF) Representatives of the European Commission (EC) based in Brussels conducted the latest round of Framework Agreement negotiations July 13-14 in Tripoli with sessions focused on political dialogue, trade and commerce, and migration. Diplomats from EU member states — participating as observers to the EC-Libya negotiations — said that discussions on the political framework were particularly heated. Libyan negotiator Mohammed Siala railed against language stating that the two parties agreed to discuss crimes against humanity in an international context, angrily stating that any mention of the International Criminal Court (ICC) or text similar to that of the Rome Statute would cause a total breakdown of the framework negotiations. According to the UK embassy, nothing in the political dialogue paper is binding on either party and is merely agenda-setting for future discussions. EC negotiators were not/not pushing for Libya to accede to the ICC….


4.(C) … On migration, the chief EC negotiator told EU diplomats that the negotiations were a “step forward” and that more progress was made than expected with no major objections from either side on the draft as presented….”

Click here or here for the full Cable.

Click here for a post regarding an earlier US cable discussing the state of EU-Libya framework negotiations in 2008.

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Filed under European Union, Libya, Mediterranean, News, UK, United States

Seminar: Security in the International Law of the Sea

The Hague Academy of International Law is conducting a one week seminar on Security in the International Law of the Sea, in The Hague, 16-22 January 2011. The closing date for applications to attend is 31 August 2010.

“The seminar aims to provide participants with extended and specialized knowledge of the guarantees and mechanisms of implementation of the international law of the sea by focusing on issues of security and the related challenges facing practitioners in the field (further details can be found in the programme as well as in the profile).”

Click here for more information.

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