Collective Expulsion and the Khlaifia Case: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

The European Convention on Human Rights forbids member states to expulse foreign citizens collectively. Does this mean that they have to conduct individual interviews with refugees before they send them back? Last year, a chamber of the ECtHR, in a case concerning Tunisians landed in Lampedusa in 2011, had concluded that it does. Now, the Great Chamber has reviewed this decision, considerably narrowing the scope of the collective expulsion ban.

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Taking refugee rights seriously: A reply to Professor Hailbronner

Reactions to the proposed “refugee swap” between the EU and Turkey have been predictably absolutist. On the one hand, most advocates have opposed the draft arrangement, asserting some combination of the right of refugees to be protected where they choose and/or that a protection swap would clearly breach the ECHR’s prohibition of “collective expulsion” of aliens. On the other hand, Professor Hailbronner argues against any right of refugees to make their own decisions about how to access protection, believes that refugees may be penalized if arriving in the EU “without the necessary documents,” suggests that it does not matter that Turkey is not relevantly a party to the Refugee Convention, and confidently asserts that there is no basis to see the prohibition of “collective expulsion” as engaged here. As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

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Legal Requirements for the EU-Turkey Refugee Agreement: A Reply to J. Hathaway

There are many open questions and objections against the EU-Turkey deal on an agreement whose details are yet to be negotiated to manage the Syrian refugee crisis. In particular on the reciprocity part: could the agreement as an easily available tool by Turkey to blackmail visa liberalization and progress in the EU Accession negotiations? How will the EU make sure the proper treatment of all returnees? How is the resettlement of refugees from Syria to the EU (and to Germany) going to take place? James Hathaway on this blog has listed three legal requirements for the agreement to be legal. In my view none of these are likely to block an agreement.

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