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  • Author: Daniel Kanstroom
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: This article considers the relationship between two human rights discourses (and two specific legal regimes): refugee and asylum protection and the evolving body of international law that regulates expulsions and deportations. Legal protections for refugees and asylum seekers are, of course, venerable, well-known, and in many respects still cherished, if challenged and perhaps a bit frail. Anti-deportation discourse is much newer, multifaceted, and evolving. It is in many respects a young work in progress. It has arisen in response to a rising tide of deportations, and the worrisome development of massive, harsh deportation machinery in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Australia, and South Africa, among others. This article’s main goal is to consider how these two discourses do and might relate to each other. More specifically, it suggests that the development of procedural and substantive rights against removal — as well as rights during and after removal — aids our understanding of the current state and possible future of the refugee protection regime. The article’s basic thesis is this: The global refugee regime, though challenged both theoretically and in practice, must be maintained and strengthened. Its historical focus on developing criteria for admission into safe states, on protections against expulsion (i.e., non-refoulement), and on regimes of temporary protection all remain critically important. However, a focus on other protections for all noncitizens facing deportation is equally important. Deportation has become a major international system that transcends the power of any single nation-state. Its methods have migrated from one regime to another; its size and scope are substantial and expanding; its costs are enormous; and its effects frequently constitute major human rights violations against millions who do not qualify as refugees. In recent years there has been increasing reliance by states on generally applicable deportation systems, led in large measure by the United States’ radical 25 year-plus experiment with large-scale deportation. Europe has also witnessed a rising tide of deportation, some of which has developed in reaction to European asylum practices. Deportation has been facilitated globally (e.g., in Australia) by well-funded, efficient (but relatively little known) intergovernmental idea sharing, training, and cooperation. This global expansion, standardization, and increasing intergovernmental cooperation on deportation has been met by powerful — if in some respects still nascent — human rights responses by activists, courts, some political actors, and scholars. It might seem counterintuitive to think that emerging ideas about deportation protections could help refugees and asylum seekers, as those people by definition often have greater rights protections both in admission and expulsion. However, the emerging anti-deportation discourses should be systematically studied by those interested in the global refugee regime for three basic reasons. First, what Matthew Gibney has described as “the deportation turn” has historically been deeply connected to anxiety about asylum seekers. Although we lack exact figures of the number of asylum seekers who have been subsequently expelled worldwide, there seems little doubt that it has been a significant phenomenon and will be an increasingly important challenge in the future. The two phenomena of refugee/asylum protections and deportation, in short, are now and have long been linked. What has sometimes been gained through the front door, so to speak, may be lost through the back door. Second, current deportation human rights discourses embody creative framing models that might aid constructive critique and reform of the existing refugee protection regime. They tend to be more functionally oriented, less definitional in terms of who warrants protection, and more fluid and transnational. Third, these discourses offer important specific rights protections that could strengthen the refugee and asylum regime, even as we continue to see weakening state support for the basic 1951/1967 protection regime. This is especially true in regard to the extraterritorial scope of the (deporting) state’s obligations post-deportation. This article particularly examines two initiatives in this emerging field: The International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Expulsion of Aliens and the draft Declaration on the Rights of Expelled and Deported Persons developed through the Boston College Post-Deportation Human Rights Project (of which the author is a co-director). It compares their provisions to the existing corpus of substantive and procedural protections for refugees relating to expulsion and removal. It concludes with consideration of how these discourses may strengthen protections for refugees while also helping to develop more capacious and protective systems in the future.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Cooperation, Border Control, Refugees, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe, France, South Africa, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Global Focus
  • Author: Victor Genina
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: On September 19th, 2016, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted Resolution 71/1, the text of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants(the “New York Declaration”). Resolution 71/1 is the outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants, held at the UN headquarters. The New York Declaration reflects how UN member states have decided to address the challenge of large movements of people in two main legal categories: asylum seekers/refugees and migrants. Resolution 71/1 includes an annex titled “Towards a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” (the “global compact for migration” or “global compact”). This document is comprised of several thematic issues related to international migration that will be the basis of a globally negotiated agreement on how member states should respond to international migration at the national, regional, and international levels, as well as to issues related to international migration and development. The global compact for migration is intended to be adopted at a conference on international migration and development before the inauguration of the 73rd annual session of the UN General Assembly in September 2018. This paper addresses how UN member states should plan to address international migration in the future. It does not refer to refugees and asylum seekers: a global compact on refugees will be drafted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2018, and to be presented to the UN General Assembly for states’ consideration during its 73rd annual session, which starts in September 2018.[1] For those who have been involved in migration issues within the United Nations, the fact that member states have finally agreed to convene an international conference on international migration represents a major achievement. It is the result of an extended process that started decades ago and was made possible by a long chain of efforts by many state delegations and other stakeholders. The global compact for migration will not be the first outcome document dealing exclusively with international migration. A declaration[2] adopted at a high-level meeting at the United Nations in October 2013, for example, paved the way for the 2018 conference. Nonetheless, the global compact represents a unique opportunity to address international migration comprehensively and humanely. This paper contributes to the discussion on the elements that should be included in the global compact for migration. The paper is divided into two sections. The first section analyzes the main elements of Annex II, “Towards a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” and the criteria that needs to be adopted in order to achieve a substantive outcome. In particular, participants in the negotiation process should aim to balance the concerns of states and the members of host societies, on one hand, with the needs and rights of migrants, on the other. The second section includes proposals to enrich the final global compact for migration and takes into account two documents written by two different actors within the UN system, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Migration, and the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants. In particular, the paper proposes that the global compact for migration: sets forth principles that can inform the actions of governments in relation to international migration at all levels; enunciates a clearer definition of state protection responsibilities in relation to migrants in crisis situations and so-called “mixed flows” [3]; affords a substantive role to civil society organizations, the private sector, and academic institutions in the global compact’s follow-up and review process; defines the institutional framework for the implementation and follow-up of the global compact within the United Nations, including through the work of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF); establishes a mechanism to fund migration policies for states that lack enough resources to invest sufficiently in this task; and builds a cooperation-oriented, peer-review mechanism to review migration policies. The paper has been conceived as an input for those who will take part in the negotiation of the global compact for migration, as well as those who will closely follow those negotiations. Thus, the paper assumes a level of knowledge on how international migration has been addressed within the United Nations during the last several years and of the complexities of these negotiation processes. The author took part in different UN negotiation processes on international migration from 2004 to 2013. The paper is primarily based on this experience.[4]
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Migration, United Nations, Refugees
  • Political Geography: Global Focus