Sunday, July 16, 2017

Hilpold: Unilateralism in Refugee law—Austria’s Quota Approach Under Scrutiny

Peter Hilpold (Universität Innsbruck - Law) has posted Unilateralism in Refugee law—Austria’s Quota Approach Under Scrutiny (Human Rights Review, forthcoming). Here's the abstract:
In the aftermath of the “Arab Spring” and of crumbling state structures, an exodus of unknown proportion from the Near East and from Northern Africa has set in and was further exacerbated by civil war and ISIS terror rule over large territories in the Near East. As a consequence, thousands of refugees came to Europe. Many of them fulfilled the conditions for non-refoulement according to Article 33 of the Geneva Convention on the Law of Refugees of 1951 or were at least entitled for temporary protection according to the Common European Asylum System. These instruments did not, however, take into consideration situations of mass influx and neither is there an efficient mechanism for burden sharing within the EU in place. Some countries where overwhelmed by these migration flows. In this contribution, particular attention will be given to the reactions to these developments by the Austrian government. In Austria, as a consequence of mounting pressure by considerable parts of the population demanding a halt to this migration, the government adopted or announced a series of measures that, if implemented, will constitute a blatant violation of international law. This holds true, in particular, for the so-called upper limit (“Obergrenze”) for asylum seekers. Legal academia in Austria in part was silent as to these events, in part sustained it after having been engaged for a legal. It is contended here that unilateralism may be effective in a short-time perspective, but the long-term consequences should not be overlooked. It would be better to work on a genuine international burden-sharing mechanism even though this approach is more difficult to sell to national constituencies.