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Refugee protection or irregular migration management? Examining the international legal principle of non-refoulement in FRONTEX operations in the Mediterranean

Diestelmeier, Lea (2012) Refugee protection or irregular migration management? Examining the international legal principle of non-refoulement in FRONTEX operations in the Mediterranean.

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Abstract:The titling question “refugee protection or irregular migration management?” attempts to point out the risk for fundamental refugee protection, as migration management might hinder the access to EU territory for people who are indeed in need of international protection. The non-refoulement principle is the core international legal obligation in refugee protection, ensuring that migrants are not sent back to places where their lives or freedoms could be threatened. EU legislation is explicitly linked to the international understanding of refugee protection and the related concepts “refugee” and “non-refoulement”. FRONTEX, the EU agency coordinating operational cooperation between member states in the field of external border management, is often criticized for violating the non-refoulement obligations. Therefore it remains interesting to seek understanding the extent to what the activities coordinated by FRONTEX respect the non-refoulement principle. On basis of information about a FRONTEX-led mission to Libya in 2007, the subsequent joint operation NAUTILUS II, and FRONTEX activities between the Canary Islands and Mauritania the existence of a lack of transparency in the set-up and the working of the agency FRONTEX is established. Moreover the mandate of FRONTEX to conclude bilateral agreements with third countries is evaluated critically; it is concluded that cooperation agreements comprise a shift of the direct border lines of the EU to a broader geographical understanding which allows avoiding the principle of non-refoulement. Nevertheless it is aimed to emphasize the clarity of existing legal obligations in this context as it was ruled by the EctHR in the case Hirsi Jamaa and others v Italy. It is argued that the applicability of the principle of non-refoulement is less dependent on the territorial aspect but much more on the member states effective power to act in FRONTEX operations. Thereby the states also possess a jurisdictional responsibility, and are obliged to ensure the unconditioned respect of the non-refoulement principle.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration BSc (56627)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/61825
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