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This paper seeks to develop a social and political understanding of extraterritorial asylum policies through an examination of European and Australian cases. In particular, it asks: Why did extraterritorial asylum policies in the UK and Australia rise to prominence in the early 2000s? And what are the political conditions under which extraterritorial asylum policies may take place? To this end, this paper examines the broader political context in which extraterritorial asylum policies emerged, focusing particularly on the drastic geopolitical changes of the 1990s; and considers the notion that the growing ‘culture of human rights’ may paradoxically have contributed to the elaboration of extraterritorial asylum policies in liberal democratic states. By comparing and contrasting the European and Australian experiences of offshore processing, this paper reflects upon the political circumstances that make offshore asylum policies possible and viable as well as ways in which such policies may develop in the future.

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Working paper


Refugee Studies Centre

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