Forced Migration Review: Special Issue on “Externalisation”

In Forced Migration Review issue 68’s main feature on Externalisation, authors examine the consequences for protection when states increasingly take action beyond their own borders to prevent the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers, including an article by the GDP’s Michael Flynn on how the efforts of wealthy countries to externalise migration and asylum controls have spurred the emergence of new detention systems in numerous countries across the globe, many of which lack basic safeguards, monitoring practices, or the rule of law. Access to all the contributions is available on FMR’s website, here.


Externalisation of international protection: UNHCR’s perspective
Madeline Garlick

In recent years, some States have pursued increasingly restrictive policies and practices in order to deter refugees and asylum seekers from reaching their borders. Such policies of ‘externalisation’ are manifestly inconsistent with the spirit of international cooperation embodied in the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Conceptualising externalisation: still fit for purpose?
Nikolas Feith Tan

Given the proliferation of externalisation policies in recent years, there needs to be greater clarity around the term ‘externalisation’: what it means, what it comprises, and implications under international law. 

Why resettlement quotas cannot replace asylum systems
Bernd Parusel

Resettlement is an important element of refugee protection worldwide. However, it is fundamentally different from territorial asylum systems. Resettlement should complement the reception of asylum seekers but should never replace it. 

Pushbacks on the Balkan route: a hallmark of EU border externalisation
Gigi Aulsebrook, Natalie Gruber and Melissa Pawson

Illegal pushbacks – and the use of violence – on Europe’s borders have increased to unprecedented levels, raising the alarm about abuses of fundamental human rights. 

Frontex cooperation with third countries: examining the human rights implications
Mariana Gkliati and Jane Kilpatrick

While Frontex is currently under unprecedented examination for human rights violations at the EU’s borders, its work beyond EU borders remains barely scrutinised. 

Extraterritorial asylum processing: the Libya-Niger Emergency Transit Mechanism 
Laura Lambert

The Libya-Niger Emergency Transit Mechanism launched in 2017 successfully evacuated a large number of asylum seekers detained in Libya. However, the outcomes for many of the asylum seekers, and indeed for the three main partners (UNHCR, the EU and Niger), were far from what they had hoped for.  

From complementary to ‘primary’ pathways to asylum: a word on the ‘right to flee’
Violeta Moreno-Lax

The international community needs to move away from the prevailing discretion-based model for pathways to asylum. The ‘right to flee’ must be taken seriously.

Challenging the legality of externalisation in Oceania, Europe and South America: an impossible task?
Luisa Feline Freier, Eleni Karageorgiou and Kate Ogg

Recent legal developments in different continents exemplify the near impossibility of using courts to challenge the legality of externalisation practices.  

Lessons from Australia’s Pacific Solution
Neha Prasad

Nine years after it was first implemented, Australia’s ‘Pacific Solution’ has not proven to be the promised panacea. Any country or region hoping to emulate the Australian offshore framework should be wary of its legal, ethical and operational failings. 

Challenging externalisation: is litigation the answer?
Jessica Marsh 

Litigation has achieved some positive results in challenging Australia’s offshore processing framework but comes with risks.

Expanding Canada’s borders 
Claire Ellis, Idil Atak and Zainab Abu Alrob

Although Canada enjoys a good international reputation for its refugee resettlement programmes, it has also externalised refugee protection under the pretext of preserving the integrity of its asylum system and responsibility sharing. 

Denmark’s new externalisation law: motives and consequences
Martin Lemberg-Pedersen, Zachary Whyte and Ahlam Chemlali

A new law in Denmark, which could ultimately end the integration of refugees on Danish territory, offers important lessons about contemporary externalisation policies and the political motives behind them.

US remote health controls: the past and present of externalisation
David Scott FitzGerald

Measures to control asylum seekers’ entry to US territory during the COVID-19 pandemic reflect a long history of remote border controls.

Eyes in the sky: European aerial surveillance 
Angela Smith

Since 2017, aerial surveillance has become central to EU attempts to identify, deter and return intercepted migrants to Libya. As a result, struggles between the EU and civil society rescue actors have also shifted from the seas to the skies. 

Externalisation, immigration detention and the Committee on Migrant Workers
Michael Flynn

Over the last two decades, new immigration detention systems have emerged  across the globe, a direct result of the externalisation policies of wealthy destination countries. 

The Khartoum Process and human trafficking 
Audrey Lumley-Sapanski, Katarina Schwarz and Ana Valverde-Cano

The Khartoum Process’s emphasis on stopping northward migration comes at great cost to vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers.