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This Special Issue was prompted by a dual concern: On the one hand, we believed that accountability for human rights violations in the context of migration control is often insufficient, or lacking entirely; on the other hand, we observed that the mechanisms that may provide such accountability are poorly understood. Was the latter observation the reason for the former one? At the very least, in order to identify clearly the most serious accountability gaps, a cross-cutting study was apt. Such a study would aim to examine and integrate various legal disciplines, including international law, EU law, and domestic law. It would also try to capture a wide set of geographical contexts, with the caveat of also having an avowedly EU-centric view of things; for scholars working in and around the European space, there seemed to be some justification for such a focus. The collective study focuses on the practices of the EU and its Member States, and of other states in the “Global North” that engage in externalized migration control. These states have long-standing modes of sharing restrictive policies and practices, many of which are custom built to evade accountability. European practices in particular have been widely mimicked, although some policies that have been legally normalized in Europe have been successfully constitutionally challenged elsewhere. The Special Issue also examines EU practices, in particular those of FRONTEX and EASO. Two contributions in particular highlight poignantly that, while all EU agencies and bodies are bound to respect the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 51(1) EUCFR), and the EU is purportedly as a “community based on the rule of law,” accountability gaps are hard-wired into these EU bodies.

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Journal issue


Cambridge University Press

Publication Date





311 - 619