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  • Safe country? Says who?

    4 January 2017

    Part of a Special Issue in Honour of Professor Guy S Goodwin-Gill. In 1991, Professor Guy S Goodwin-Gill reflected on the emerging safe country of origin (SCO) practices in an editorial in the International Journal of Refugee Law, entitled ‘Safe Country? Says Who?’. This article reflects on developments regarding SCO practices since his prescient editorial, focusing on both Europe, where they originated, and Canada. The article first explores how SCO practices have developed in European law and practice since their inception, including the role of European courts in assessing their legality. This European experience is then contrasted with Canada’s short-lived experiment with its analogous Designated Country of Origin (DCO) system, which, in 2015, was deemed unconstitutional by the Federal Court of Canada.

  • Research Handbook on EU Labour Law

    17 January 2017

    Globalisation of the economy and increased integration in Europe has led to a stronger focus on EU labour, employment and equality law. The Research Handbook on EU Labour Law draws together contributions from leading academics in this field at an important historic moment in its development. As well as assessing the ‘state of the art’, they identify key research questions for the future. Split into four distinct parts, this Research Handbook provides a comprehensive examination of the major topics in EU labour, employment and equality law. Part One addresses cross-cutting themes, such as the relationship between EU law and national law, the role of human rights in EU labour law and the impact of austerity measures. The subsequent parts offer in-depth treatments of specific topics: Part Two focuses on various issues in individual and collective labour law at EU level, including working time and job security; Part Three provides an analysis of collective labour law, including its implications for trade unions and industrial democracy; and Part Four explores the EU’s interventions in equality law, considering its impact across a range of different protected characteristics.

  • EU Asylum Policies: The Power of Strong Regulating States

    17 January 2017

    This book fills a significant lacuna in our understanding of the refugee crisis by analyzing the dynamics that lie behind fifteen years of asylum policies in the European Union. It sheds light on why cooperation has led to reinforced refugee protection on paper but has failed to provide it in practice. Offering innovative empirical, theoretical and methodological research on this crucial topic, it argues that the different asylum systems and priorities of the various Member States explain the EU's lack of initiative in responding to this humanitarian emergency. The author demonstrates that the strong regulators of North-Western Europe have used their powerful bargaining positions to shape EU asylum policies decisively, which has allowed them to impose their will on Member States in South-Eastern Europe. These latter countries, having barely made a mark on EU policies, are now facing significant difficulties in implementing them. The EU will only identify potential solutions to the crisis, the author concludes, when it takes these disparities into account and establishes a functioning common refugee policy. This novel work will appeal to students and scholars of politics, immigration and asylum in the EU.

  • #AlanKurdi: Presentation and dissemination of images of suffering on Twitter

    14 February 2017

    On the morning of September 2, 2015, photojournalist Nilüfer Demir captured the image of a drowned three-year-old Syrian refugee, Alan Kurdi, washed ashore on a beach in Bodrum, Turkey. Spread virally through Twitter, the image quickly achieved iconographic status, becoming a symbol of multiple ‘crises’: the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean, the Syrian civil war, the failure of European Union (EU) protection, et cetera. Over a year later, the name Alan Kurdi remains familiar and is often invoked; his image is still a symbol for the crises in the Mediterranean. Given this sustained presence, it is opportune to look back with the benefit of hindsight at why the image of Alan’s dead body washed ashore went viral in the first place. Why did Alan’s image reach and resonate with an audience of millions, among countless other harrowing images capturing the crises? Existing literature on images of suffering offers accounts of why certain images invoke more responsiveness than others. However, these accounts have been insufficiently applied to the discursive space of Twitter. While we understand the mechanisms of how the image went viral, we explore what it is about the medium of Twitter that enabled the image of Alan to reach viral status and equally fleeting substantive outcomes. This analysis of the Alan phenomenon—the photo, his story, its viral spread throughout Twitter, the conversations that ensued on Twitter, his sustained presence—provides insights into responsiveness to images of suffering and Twitter as a medium for social change.

  • Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons

    14 February 2017

    Chapter in: The Oxford Handbook of International Organizations (edited by Jacob Katz Cogan, Ian Hurd, and Ian Johnstone) About the book: Virtually every important question of public policy today involves an international organization. From trade to intellectual property to health policy and beyond, governments interact with international organizations in almost everything they do. Increasingly, individual citizens are directly affected by the work of international organizations. Aimed at academics, students, practitioners, and lawyers, this book gives a comprehensive overview of the world of international organizations today. It emphasizes both the practical aspects of their organization and operation, and the conceptual issues that arise at the junctures between nation-states and international authority, and between law and politics. While the focus is on inter-governmental organizations, the book also encompasses non-governmental organizations and public policy networks. With essays by the leading scholars and practitioners, the book first considers the main international organizations and the kinds of problems they address. This includes chapters on the organizations that relate to trade, humanitarian aid, peace operations, and more, as well as chapters on the history of international organizations. The book then looks at the constituent parts and internal functioning of international organizations. This addresses the internal management of the organization, and includes chapters on the distribution of decision-making power within the organizations, the structure of their assemblies, the role of Secretaries-General and other heads, budgets and finance, and other elements of complex bureaucracies at the international level. This book is essential reading for scholars, practitioners, and students alike.

  • Transnationalizing the Arabian Peninsula: Local, regional and global dynamics

    14 February 2017

    This seventh issue of 'Arabian Humanities' aims to explore the processes of regionalisation and globalisation in the Arabian Peninsula by focusing the analysis on the oil-exporting countries that are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). We decided to examine the dynamics of extraversion and integration of their economies, societies, cultures and political systems through the lens of “transnationalism”.

  • Research in Brief: Decriminalising ‘Humanitarian Smuggling’

    9 March 2017

    This research brief summarises the legal and policy findings from the RSC Working Paper no. 119, "The ‘humanitarian smuggling’ of refugees: criminal offence or moral obligation?" It outlines the concept of ‘humanitarian smuggling’, and then critiques smuggling prohibitions at the international and the EU levels. It argues that these prohibitions are overbroad and vague, failing to meet basic requirements of the rule of law. Moreover, they criminalise acts that fall outside the law’s stated purpose, acts that are often ethically defensible. Finally, the brief analyses existing proposals to improve the framework governing smuggling and provides additional recommendations to decriminalise ‘humanitarian smugglers’.

  • Implementation of the 2015 Council Decisions establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and of Greece

    10 March 2017

    This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, examines the EU’s mechanism of relocation of asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other Member States. It examines the scheme in the context of the Dublin System, the hotspot approach, and the EU-Turkey Statement, recommending that asylum seekers’ interests, and rights be duly taken into account, as it is only through their full engagement that relocation will be successful. Relocation can become a system that provides flexibility for Member States and local host communities, as well as accommodating the agency and dignity of asylum seekers. This requires greater cooperation from receiving States, and a clearer role for a single EU legal and institutional framework to organise preference matching and rationalise efforts and resources overall.

  • Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System

    27 March 2017

    Europe is facing its greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War, yet the institutions responding to it remain virtually unchanged from those created in the post-war era. As neighbouring countries continue to bear the brunt of the Syrian catastrophe, European governments have enacted a series of ill-considered gestures, from shutting their borders to welcoming refugees without a plan for their safe passage or integration upon arrival. With a deepening crisis and a xenophobic backlash in Europe, it is time for a new vision for refuge. Going beyond the scenes of desperation which have become all-too-familiar in the past few years, Alexander Betts and Paul Collier show that this crisis offers an opportunity for reform if international policy-makers focus on delivering humane, effective and sustainable outcomes - both for Europe and for countries that border conflict zones. Refugees need more than simply food, tents and blankets, and research demonstrates that they can offer tangible economic benefits to their adopted countries if given the right to work and education. An urgent and necessary work, Refuge sets out an alternative vision that can empower refugees to help themselves, contribute to their host societies, and even rebuild their countries of origin. [Published in the US and Canada as 'Refuge: Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World' by Oxford University Press.]

  • Finding space for protection: an inside account of the evolution of UNHCR’s urban refugee policy

    27 March 2017

    This article examines the evolution of UNHCR’s urban refugee policy from the mid-1990s to the present. It focuses on the complex and contested nature of the policymaking process, analyzing the roles that internal and external stakeholders have played in it. At the same time, the article identifies and examines key developments in UNHCR’s operational environment that drove and constrained policymaking in this domain. The article is written from the perspective of a former UNHCR staff member who was substantively engaged in urban refugee policy.