18 Sep 2018

Offshoring Asylum and Migration in Australia, Spain, Tunisia and the US

Lessons learned and feasibility for the EU

Sergio Carrera / Nora El Qadim / Maryellen Fullerton / Blanca Garcés-Mascareñas / Susan York Kneebone / Ana López Sala / Ngo Chun Luk / Lina Vosyliute

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This report examines the feasibility of extra-territorial processing of asylum and migration management for the EU. Based on a comparative account of past and current experiences of extra-territorialisation of asylum processing and migration policies in Australia, Spain, Tunisia, and the US, the Report draws ‘lessons learned’ and identifies key challenges from the perspective of their effectiveness. The findings highlight how external processing of asylum applications is politically, legally and operationally unfeasible and ineffective for the EU. It would pose profound challenges to EU and Member States’ rule of law and human rights obligations. Past and current policies outsourcing protection obligations to third countries often amount to extra-legal processes as well as violations of the principle of non-refoulement and of the prohibition of arbitrary detention under inhuman and degrading conditions. The research findings show that extraterritorial actions of the EU and its Member States abroad would fall to varying degrees under EU and domestic judicial, administrative and financial accountabilities which present strong potentials for bringing portable justice to potential victims of human rights violations. In this way, this report contributes to and suggests ways forward in creative legal thinking to close any loopholes inherent to ideas on extraterritorial asylum processing and migration management for the EU.
The report has been produced with the financial support of the Open Society European Policy Institute (OSEPI).

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