Tag Archives: Non-refoulement

Klepp, Int J Refugee Law, “A Double Bind: Malta and the Rescue of Unwanted Migrants at Sea, a Legal Anthropological Perspective on the Humanitarian Law of the Sea”

An article by Silja Klepp (Research Associate, Research Center for Sustainability Studies (artec), University of Bremen) entitled “A Double Bind: Malta and the Rescue of Unwanted Migrants at Sea, a Legal Anthropological Perspective on the Humanitarian Law of the Sea” has been published as an online advance access article by the International Journal of Refugee Law.

Abstract: “This paper discusses research results from anthropological fieldwork carried out in Malta in 2007. The island, which is situated in the central Mediterranean Sea between Tunisia, Libya and Italy, is a focal point regarding the continuing refugee situation. One of the research aims was to investigate the situation at sea concerning Search and Rescue (SAR) operations for migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean by boat. In the year 2006, 556 missing and drowned migrants were registered in the central Mediterranean between Libya, Malta and Italy, this number increased to 642 in 2008.1 The goal of the research in Malta was therefore to understand why an increasing number of migrants were dying at sea and what role the European security forces play in this context.

After introducing the research perspective of this article, background information concerning migration movements in the Mediterranean Sea between Libya, Italy and Malta in recent years is provided. Due to European regulations, which are considered unfavourable for the island, and its population density, Malta feels under pressure from migrants arriving by boat across the Mediterranean. Different concepts regarding a ‘place of safety’ to disembark rescued boat migrants are debated. The ambiguities in the responsibilities cause problems for the captains who rescue migrants in distress at sea. These ambiguities may in turn lead to a weakening of the SAR regime. Following discussion of the legal and political quarrels on the place of safety, the SAR operations at sea of the Armed Forces of Malta is analysed. The findings show that it is not merely a case of enforcing legal norms created by international law. The process is much more complex: legal gaps are filled by regional actors, through informal or even illegal practices, asserting their own claims at their convenience. Thus, transnationalization processes of law, such as the international SAR regime, are a fragmented and ambiguous set of regulations, creating space for negotiation and manoeuvre.2

Click here for link.  (Subscription or payment required.)

Also by Klepp from 2010, European Journal of Migration and Law: “A Contested Asylum System: The European Union between Refugee Protection and Border Control in the Mediterranean Sea.”

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HRC Adopts Resolution on Migrants and Asylum Seekers Fleeing North Africa; Calls for Inquiry Into Allegations of Failures to Rescue Boats in Distress

The UN Human Rights Council, 17th Session, on Friday, 17 June, adopted a resolution (A/HRC/17/L.13) on Migrants and Asylum Seekers Fleeing from Events in North Africa.  The Resolution recalls states’ obligations under human rights, humanitarian, and refugee law, including the obligation of non-refoulement and called for ships patrolling the Mediterranean Sea to provide assistance to non-seaworthy boats leaving North Africa.

The Resolution also calls for “a comprehensive inquiry into the very troubling allegations that sinking vessels carrying migrants and asylum seekers fleeing the events in North Africa were abandoned to their fate despite the alleged ability of European ships in the vicinity to rescue them, and welcomes the call made by the Council of Europe in this regard on 9 May 2011.”  [NB – this quoted text is taken from a 15 June version of the Resolution and may not reflect the final approved language. frenzen]

The Resolution was adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 14 against, and no abstentions:

In favour (32): Angola; Argentina; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Brazil; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Chile; China; Cuba; Djibouti; Ecuador; Gabon; Ghana; Guatemala; Jordan; Kyrgyzstan; Malaysia; Maldives; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mexico; Nigeria; Pakistan; Qatar; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Thailand; Uganda; Uruguay and Zambia.

Against (14): Belgium; France; Hungary; Japan; Norway; Poland; Republic of Korea; Republic of Moldova; Slovakia; Spain; Switzerland; Ukraine; United Kingdom and United States.

Excerpts from the Afternoon 17 June summary of the HRC meeting:

“OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), introducing draft resolution L.13, said the African Group recognized that due to the recent crisis situation in North Africa, migrants had suffered great hardship. Migrants were fleeing, not flowing out of North Africa. People were running away because their lives were at risk. Other root causes for migration did not apply in this case.  This resolution had been difficult to establish. Nigeria thanked all partners for their efforts in developing the draft resolution. The information emanating from North Africa was such that while neighboring countries did quite a lot in accommodating migrants, there were substantial difficulties in traveling from North Africa. Some people had even died at sea. Nigeria took note that some countries did provide assistance through their offices of migration or other mechanisms. The hardship suffered by migrants should be investigated in order to clarify the problems that arose and ensure this situation was not repeated. Nigeria believed that the Special Rapporteur, working with the High Commissioner, would be able to provide information about how to deal with such a situation in the future. The African Group would appreciate if the draft resolution would be approved by consensus.


ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, noted that the European Union had assisted greatly with the humanitarian effort in Libya. From the outset the European Union had been at the forefront of humanitarian response. The European Union had been active in repatriating third country nationals.  This had been vital in reducing the stress on neighboring countries. The draft text was circulated late. The European Union had engaged in a constructive spirit on the text, while retaining a specific focus that would address the issue at stake in a more balanced and legally accurate manner, notably when referring to issues related to refugee law and law of the sea. It noted that this was particularly true with regard to PP7 and operative paragraphs, which introduced new language that was not consistent with public international law. The resolution did not capture the multi-dimensional aspects of the problem. There was no reference to the overall human rights situation in the region, and therefore the root causes of the plight of migrants.  The resolution did not refer to the responsibility of criminal traffickers and continued to characterize the situation in an unbalanced way. The European Union and its Member States had continued to observe the principle of non-refoulement. Not a single refugee had been subjected to refoulement. The European Union called for a vote and noted that it would vote against the resolution.

EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN (United States), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on L. 13, said the United States shared concern for the migrants and asylum seekers fleeing the violence in Libya. A resolution requiring countries to recognize their obligations under international law and support victims of violence and migrants from Libya was important.  However, this resolution assigned the sole responsibility to countries of destination and avoided reference to the root causes of the problem. The draft resolution used language that misconstrued State obligations and responsibilities regarding those migrants and asylum seekers. The sponsors had delayed introduction of the draft resolution, thus allowing only a restricted period to review and provide comments on the draft resolution. The United States regretted that the manner the resolution was developed belied its importance and sent the wrong message to the Gaddafi forces.”

Click here for UN News Centre summary.

Click here for the AFTERNOON 17 June 2011 summary of the HRC meeting.

Click here or on this link [ L.13 Document As Received ] for Resolution “document as received.”

Click here for Resolution “document as issued.” [NB – this may not be the final approved version.]

Click here  or on this link [ L.13 Oral Revision ] for Resolution “oral revision.”

Click herehere or here for final versions of resolutions when available.  [HRC Extranet registration may be required.]

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Filed under Hungary, Libya, Mediterranean, News, OHCHR, Statements, United Nations, United States

Prof. Goodwin-Gill: ‘The Right to Seek Asylum: Interception at Sea and the Principle of Non-Refoulement’

On 16 February Professor Guy S. Goodwin-Gill presented the inaugural lecture of the Fondation Philippe Wiener – Maurice Anspach, Chaire W. J. Ganshof van der Meersch.  The lecture was entitled ‘The Right to Seek Asylum: Interception at Sea and the Principle of Non-Refoulement’.  The complete text of the lecture is available at this link: Goodwin-Gill: The Right to Seek Asylum-Interception at Sea and the Principle of Non-Refoulement.  The complete text also contains a helpful reference list.

I have reproduced several excerpts below:

“Looking at the interception and return measures adopted in the Mediterranean and off the west coast of Africa … one may rightly wonder what has happened to the values and principles considered fundamental to the Member States of the European Union….  [***]

… [I]t is all the more surprising when [European] governments, ministers and officials either pretend that the rules [- including Article 78(1) of the TFEU which requires the Union to develop a common asylum policy with regard to ‘any third country national requiring international protection and ensuring compliance with the principle of non-refoulement’ – policy which ‘must be in accordance with the Geneva Convention… and other relevant treaties’-] do not apply, or seek ways to avoid their being triggered.

In my view, the problems begin at the beginning, just as they commonly do also at the national level. A policy or goal is identified – in this case, reducing the number of irregular migrants, including asylum seekers, leaving the north African coast and heading for Europe – and then belatedly some attempt is made to bend implementation of the policy to fit in with principle and rule. A better approach, in my view, would be to begin with a clear understanding of the applicable law – the prohibition of discrimination, of refoulement, of inhuman or degrading treatment – and then to see what can be done by working within the rules.

Of course, this approach is premised on the assumption that States generally seek to work within the rule of law. It will not likely influence the State determined to deal with the migrant and the asylum seeker arbitrarily, and without reference to principle. Such cases must be confronted head-on, by way of judicial and political mechanisms of control.  [***]

… The problem, though, lies not in formal recognition of protection principles but, as ever, in operationalising the rules – in making protection a reality at the point of enforcement. On the plus side stands a substantial body of legislation: the Frontex regulation itself; the RABIT amendment, with its express insistence on compliance with fundamental rights and conformity with Member States’ protection and non-refoulement obligations; and the Schengen Borders Code, Article 3 of which requires the Code to be applied, ‘without prejudice to the rights of refugees… in particular as regards non-refoulement’. Add to this the April 2010 Council Decision supplementing the Code and dealing specifically with the surveillance of maritime borders and Frontex operations; it is currently being challenged by the Parliament on vires grounds, and it was also objected to by Malta and Italy, mainly for its proposal that in the last resort, rescue cases should be disembarked in the State hosting the Frontex operation. The Decision’s formulation of the applicable law in the matter of protection, however, is unremarkable, restating the principle of non-refoulement and the need to avoid indirect breach, but also providing for those intercepted to have an opportunity to set out reasons why they might be at risk of such a violation of their rights….  [***]

What do we know about either unilateral or Frontex-led interception operations so far? Not as much as we might expect as citizens of a democratic Union bounded by the rule of law and basic principles of good governance, such as transparency and accountability….  [***]

Exactly what Frontex does in an interception context has been questioned. Human Rights Watch has claimed that Frontex has been involved in facilitating interception, though this has been denied. Amnesty International and ECRE note that Frontex has stated that it does not know whether any asylum applications were submitted during interception operations, as it does not collect the data. How, then, should we approach what appears to be wilful ignorance? In the Roma Rights Case in 2004, discrimination on racial grounds was alleged in the conduct of immigration procedures by British officials at Prague Airport, which were intended to prevent potential asylum seekers leaving for the United Kingdom. There, too, the authorities did not keep any records of the ethnic origin of those they interviewed. Finding on the evidence that the government had acted in violation of relevant legislation, the House of Lords called attention to the importance of gathering information, ‘which might have helped ensure that this high-risk operation was not being conducted in a discriminatory manner…’

Given the secrecy attaching to interception operations, and the fact that no data are gathered or retained, it is reasonable to infer that some level of Frontex involvement has occurred, and that, absent evidence to the contrary, the relevant principles of international and EU law have not been observed.  [***]

… The object and purpose of EU operations in maritime areas, therefore, should be first and foremost to ensure protection, and secondarily to manage and prevent irregular migration….

In the absence of effective and verifiable procedures and protection in countries of proposed return, the responsibility to ensure protection remains that of the EU agency or Member State. In practice, this will require that they identify all those intercepted, and keep records regarding nationality, age, personal circumstances and reasons for passage. Given protection as the object and purpose of interception operations, an effective opportunity must be given for objections and fears to be expressed; these must then be subject to rational consideration, leading to the formulation of written reasons in explanation of the next steps. Where this entails return to or disembarkation in a non-EU State, a form of judicial control is required as a necessary safeguard against ill-treatment and the abuse of power – exactly what form of judicial control calls for an exercise of juristic imagination. In the nature of things, such oversight should be prompt, automatic, impartial and independent, extending ideally to the monitoring of interception operations overall….”

Click here or on the following link for complete text: Guy S. Goodwin-Gill, ‘The Right to Seek Asylum: Interception at Sea and the Principle of Non-Refoulement’

I thank Prof. Goodwin-Gill for permitting me to post the text of his lecture.




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Filed under Aegean Sea, Analysis, Eastern Atlantic, European Union, Frontex, Mediterranean, UNHCR

Goodwin-Gill Lecture: “Right to Seek Asylum: Interception at Sea and the Principle of Non-Refoulement” (16 Feb., Brussels)

Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill will give the Chaire W.J. Ganshof Van Der Meersch lecture in Brussels, 16 February 2011, 17:00, at the Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, salle Albert II.

The lecture will address “The Right to Seek Asylum: Interception at Sea and the Principle of Non-Refoulement ” – The right to seek asylum is continuously challenged by the fight against irregular migration. In particular, the European Union and its Member States take measures to intercept boats on the sea in order to prevent irregular migration: patrols at sea, treaties with countries of origin or transit to readmit the concerned persons, agreements regarding the place of disembarkation,… The problem comes from the fact that asylum seekers are traveling together with undocumented migrants, what is called “mixed flows”. Even if the applicability of the principle of non-refoulement is often reaffirmed, the way to implement it represents a real difficulty in such a context.”

RSVP by 11 Feb.:

Votre réponse est attendue au plus tard le 11 février 2011

Tél: +32(0)2 650 27 16 (9h00 à 12h00)

Fax : +32(0)2 650 39 57

Courriel : fwa@ulb.ac.be

Click here for more information.

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EP Adopts Recommendation to Council on EU-Libya Framework Agreement

On 20 January 2011 the European Parliament adopted a slightly watered down recommendation to the Council regarding the negotiations on the EU-Libya Framework Agreement.  The adopted text is similar in most, but not all respects to the Draft Proposal prepared 23 November 2010 by the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Rapporteur MEP Ana Gomes.  One substantive difference between the draft proposal and the final adopted text is a weakening of the language addressing the negotiation of the readmission agreement with Libya.  The final adopted text is also critical of the secrecy of the Council/Commission negotiations with Libya.

The Draft Proposal prepared by MEP Ana Gomes in Nov. 2010 called for an end to negotiations on the readmission agreement with Libya given the poor human rights conditions in Libya.  (Click here (pdf) or here for ECRE interview with MEP Gomes.)  The final text eliminated the call for an end to negotiations on readmission and replaced the language with a call for the respect of the rights of persons subjected to a future readmission agreement.

The Draft Proposal’s language stated:

“(d)  [the Council is urged] to cease pursuing a readmission agreement with Libya, as sending individuals back to a country with a record of continuous human rights violations and the use of the death penalty would be in breach of EU legal obligations;”

The final adopted text now states:

“(d)  [the Council and the Commission are reminded] of their obligations to ensure full compliance of the EU’s external policy with the Charter of Fundamental Rights, particularly its Article 19, which prohibits collective expulsion and grants the principle of ‘non-refoulement’;


(f)  [the Council and the Commission are urged] to ensure that a readmission agreement with Libya could only be envisaged for irregular immigrants, excluding therefore those who declare themselves asylum-seekers, refugees or persons in need of protection, and reiterates that the principle of ‘non-refoulement’ applies to any persons who are at risk of the death penalty, inhumane treatment or torture;”

The final adopted text is critical of the secrecy surrounding the Commission’s negotiations with Libya:

“(a) [The Parliament] [n]otes the recent Council decision to finally allow a limited number of Members of Parliament to read the mandate given to the Commission to negotiate a Framework Agreement between the EU and Libya; regrets however the delay in this decision and calls for the EP to be granted access to the mandates of all international agreements under negotiation, in accordance with Article 218(10) TFEU, which states that Parliament shall be immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedure;”

The final text urges the Council and Commission to take steps to encourage Libya to ratify and implement various international agreements and to allow the UNHCR to work within the country.  For example, the Council and Commission are urged-

  • “to strongly recommend that Libya ratify and implement the Geneva Convention on Refugees of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol, including full cooperation with UNHCR so as to guarantee adequate protection and rights for migrants, and adopt asylum legislation that recognises refugees‘ status and rights accordingly, notably the prohibition of collective expulsion and the principle of ’non-refoulement‘;”
  • “to request that the Libyan authorities sign a Memorandum of Understanding granting UNHCR a legal presence in the country, with a mandate to exercise its full range of access and protection activities;”
  • “to encourage Libya to fully respect its pledges given when acceding to the UNHRC and thus urges Libya to issue standing invitations to those appointed under UN special procedures such as the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur on torture, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance as well as the Working Group on enforced and involuntary disappearances and the Working Group on arbitrary detentions, as requested in the recent Universal Periodic Review on Libya; calls in the same spirit for unfettered access to the country for independent scrutiny of the overall human rights situation;”

Click here for final adopted text.

Click here for draft proposal.

Click here for link to EP’s Procedure File – Negotiations on EU-Libya Framework Agreement.

Click here (pdf) or here for ECRE interview with MEP Ana Gomes.

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New Paper: M Tondini, “Fishers of Men? The Interception of Migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and Their Forced Return to Libya”

A new legal paper by Dr Matteo Tondini entitled “Fishers of Men? The Interception of Migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and Their Forced Return to Libya” is available.  This paper should be read by anyone with any interest in Italy’s current push-back practice with Libya.  Dr Tondini is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Vrije Universiteit AmsterdamFaculty of Social SciencesDepartment of Governance Studies.  The paper has been produced as part of the INEX Project, financed by the EC under the FP7 (http://www.inexproject.eu).

The paper refers to some unpublished material and interviews. Here is the abstract:

“This paper presents an extensive account and assesses the legality of the recent naval constabulary operations – undertaken by Italian and Libyan military vessels – in the central Mediterranean Sea, aimed at intercepting boat people in international waters and returning them to the Northern African coasts. If considered as a border control operation, the interception of migrants and their debarkation in a third country often lacks a valid legal basis. The latter is easier to be found under maritime law, by ‘labelling’ interceptions as rescue missions. Nevertheless, such operations must be conducted according to state obligations under human rights law and refugee law (especially the non-refoulement rule), which only allow Italian vessels to disembark boat people to a ‘safe third country’. The paper concludes that since Libya cannot be considered a ‘safe third country’ in this sense, the interception of migrants on the high seas and their forced return to Tripoli may entail violations of maritime, human rights, migration and refugee law at both an international, European and domestic level.”

Click here or here to access the paper.

(Thank you to Dr Tondini for bringing this paper to my attention.)

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Filed under Analysis, European Union, Frontex, Italy, Libya, Mediterranean

ECRE’s Recommendations to the Belgian EU Presidency

ECRE issued last week a letter and memorandum setting forth its recommendations to the Belgian EU Presidency in regard to the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), and other related legislative files that will be considered during the Belgian Presidency.

Among the several important recommendations made by ECRE are the following:

“Access to protection – … [C]ooperation between the EASO, FRA and FRONTEX provide opportunities to develop mechanisms at EU level to guarantee that border control mechanisms are protection-sensitive in practice. The recently adopted guidelines for joint sea operations coordinated by FRONTEX restate the international human rights framework governing interception at sea and reaffirm the obligation of Member States to ensure that “no person shall be disembarked in, or otherwise handed over to the authorities of a country in contravention of the principle of non-refoulement, or from which there is a risk of expulsion or return to another country in contravention of that principle.”  They also explicitly require that “the person intercepted or rescued shall be informed in an appropriate way so that they can express any reasons for believing that disembarkation in the proposed place would be in breach of the principle of non-refoulement”. Whereas the guidelines merely restate these principles, they need to be implemented in practice. Given that the actual disembarkation of persons intercepted or rescued in the context of FRONTEX operations is dealt with in the non-binding part of the guidelines, it remains to be seen how effective this tool will be in order to ensure effective access to protection.

Recently the Commission proposed the third substantive revision of FRONTEX’ mandate. The Commission proposal unambiguously asserts that relevant EU standards, as well as international human rights and refugee law, are applicable to all border operations carried out by Member States under the auspices of Frontex and to all other activities entrusted to the Agency, which ECRE welcomes.

At the same time, while the intention of the Commission is to further clarify the role and responsibilities of FRONTEX vis-à-vis the Member States, the fundamental ambiguities about accountability for possible human rights violations during border control operations coordinated by FRONTEX are not resolved. ECRE believes that the respective roles and responsibilities of Member States’ guest officers, host Member State border officers, observers from third countries and FRONTEX personnel in those operations must be clearly established to avoid “accountability shifting” between the various actors involved. The enhanced role of FRONTEX in coordinating joint operations necessarily adds to FRONTEX’ responsibility and therefore further amendments to the Commission proposal are required to reinforce the Agency’s accountability.

Moreover, the proposed expansion of the role of FRONTEX in cooperating with third countries in border management, including through the posting of Immigration Liaison Officers, raises a number of concerns from a fundamental rights perspective, in particular regarding the ability of individuals to flee and find protection from persecution. Consequently, ECRE believes that additional safeguards are needed to ensure that FRONTEX activities will indeed not “prevent access to protection systems by persons in need of international protection” as required by the Stockholm Programme.

ECRE calls upon the Council and the European Parliament in particular to:

  • Support the proposed amendments to the FRONTEX Regulation reasserting the obligations under EU law and fundamental rights which are incumbent upon Member States when taking part in the Agency’s operations.
  • Establish mechanisms to reinforce FRONTEX accountability in view of the increasing responsibilities placed on the Agency.
  • Introduce the necessary safeguards to ensure that FRONTEX enhanced capacity to cooperate with third countries does not prevent access to protection systems by persons in need of international protection.”

Click here for the ECRE Memorandum.

Click here for the ECRE Letter to the Belgian EU Presidency.

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More on Libya’s Decision to Expel UNHCR

Libya’s decision to expel the UNHCR from Libya was made public during the seventh round of Framework Agreement talks between the EU and Libya.  The talks concluded yesterday in Tripoli.  “[Libya’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Tahar] Sayala said the main stumbling blocks to progress were illegal immigration and the International Criminal Court (ICC), which Libya does not recognise.  [Sayala] said Libya wanted financing and equipment [from the EU] for the surveillance of its borders, both on land and sea.”

Amnesty International criticized the decision to expel the UNHCR and called on Libya to reverse the decision:

“[***] The move to expel the UNHCR came against the backdrop of the 7th round of negotiations, which started on 6 June in Tripoli, between Libya and the EU over a Framework Agreement, which addresses bilateral cooperation in the control of irregular migration, among other issues, including potential readmission agreements for third-country nationals, who have transited through Libya on their way to Europe. EU member states, most notably Italy, have been seeking Libya’s assistance in decreasing the flow of arrivals of asylum-seekers and migrants to European shores. The expulsion of the UNHCR further casts doubt on Libya’s commitment to respect its obligations under the Organization of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. It also shows how essential it is to include effective human rights safeguards and adequate standards of protection in any bilateral agreements with Libya in the field of the control of migration. [***]”

The European Commission also expressed “concern” with Libya’s decision “but sees it as one more reason to engage in ‘dialogue’ with General Gaddafi’s country on immigration and asylum.”

And as noted by Michèle Morel on International Law Observer, even though Libya is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, Libya is bound by customary international law which prohibits refoulement to countries where there is a risk of torture, “[t]herefore, while Libya itself has no asylum system for the examination of asylum seekers’ situations, refusing to allow UNHCR to carry out its activities in Libya would amount to a violation of international human rights law.”

Click here, here, here (EN), and here (AR) for articles.

Click here for Amnesty International’s statement.

Click here for link to ILO post.


Filed under European Union, Libya, Mediterranean, News, UNHCR

UPR of Spain Largely Ignores Interdiction and Readmission Practices

Spain was one of 15 countries whose records were reviewed during the 8th session of the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group from 3-15 May 2010.  While reference is made to the treatment of asylum seekers and migrants who reach Spanish territory, little attention was directed (at least not in the national report or the Working Group’s Draft report) to the treatment of migrants intercepted at sea before reaching Spanish territory in the Canary Islands or elsewhere.  Likewise little attention was paid to the provisions and implementation of Spain’s several bilateral readmission agreements with various countries such as Senegal.

According to the Draft report, Spain agreed with a general recommendation to “[t]ake all measures necessary to ensure that actions related to unaccompanied minors (migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, victims of trafficking) are in line with international standards.” [Section II, Para. 84(54).]  But Spain did not agree to several more specific recommendations, instead agreeing only to “examine” and “provides responses” to the recommendations no later than September 2010 when the Human Rights Council meets for its 15th session.

Three of the more detailed recommendations were:

  • “Respect fully the principle of non-refoulement and ensure effective access to asylum procedures, taking into account the objectives of UNHCR’s 10-Point Plan on Mixed Migration” (New Zealand);
  • “Undertake a review of its readmission agreements with respect to refugees and asylum-seekers, and amend them as necessary to ensure that they contain human rights guarantees in line with international standards” (Canada); and
  • “Consider access to asylum procedures for victims of trafficking (Costa Rica).

[Section II, Para. 86(28-30).]

Click here for link to UPR site for Spain.

Click here for the Draft report of the Working Group.

Click here for Spain’s national report submitted to the Working Group.

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Filed under Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean, News, OHCHR, Reports, Spain, UNHCR