In recent times, the immigration policies of Western countries have been characterized by a progressively restrictive approach, triggered by an unprecedented number of individuals trying to reach Europe’s shores. Some governments and political groups warn of the presence, among people on the move, of criminals or terrorist groups threatening the security of their countries and the safety of their citizens. This restrictive approach has also been justified by socio-economic arguments (social dumping, deteriorated access to health care services) or intercultural clashes. As a consequence, some countries try to circumvent their international obligations in the field by invoking treaty-based clauses allowing limitation of human rights, i.e. the presence of a situation of emergency or the need to protect public order, suspending applicable treaties (as has happened in relation to the Schengen Agreement), or refusing to apply the emergency relocation scheme established by the EU Council. This practice leads to significant threats to an international public good: the protection owed to individuals fleeing from human rights violations.
This agora can address all topics relating to refugee protection in relation to European fundamental values. Among other issues, papers can address the following questions: Is regional cooperation the only practicable response to the forced movement of people? Does the EU-Turkey Action Plan for the management of migration infringe the 1951 Refugee Convention? Is the legal differentiation between migrants and refugees clear and is it applicable in practice when different humanitarian crises coincide? Is there a principle of burden-sharing in relation to refugee protection and, if so, what is that principle? How do we evaluate recent European practices from the perspective of the principle of non-refoulement? What will be the ramifications of the United Nations New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants in Europe?
Siobhán Mullally (Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway)
Cecilia M. Bailliet (University of Oslo) “The Alienation of Adjudication and the Weakening of Procedural Rule of Law within the Context of Asylum in Europe”
Rebecca Torburn Stern (Uppsala University) ““You are not our responsibility”: On state sovereignty, border controls, and challenges posed to the principle of non-refoulement and the right to seek asylum”
Dana Schmalz (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen) “Layered vs. alternative responsibility: The overlapping schemes of Responsibility-sharing for refugees in Europe”