Saturday, March 12, 2011

'Nuff said

(Taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes)

[T]he Grand Chamber's judgment exposes flaws in the current European asylum regime. ... [E]stablished to reduce 'asylum shopping' and ensure minimum standards of protection to asylum seekers across the European Union, [it] is based on a presumption of equality and cooperation among safe countries. For geopolitical reasons, [there is] an unbalanced burden-sharing among the various European countries.
The judgment acknowledges those challenges, yet underlines that neither uneven burden-distribution (Greece) nor a state's minimalist reaading of the Dublin Regulation (Belgium) absolves Member States of their responsibilities vis-à-vis the Convention or other applicable international treaties ....

-- Tom Syring, co-chair of the International Refugee Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law and member of Norway's Immigration Appeals Board, in an ASIL Insight written in his personal capacity. Syring analyzed the judgment that the European Court of Human Rights (right) issued this January in M.S.S. v. Belgium & Greece. An asylum case, M.S.S. unfolded within the framework of the Common European Asylum System -- launched in 1999 and better known as CEAS -- as well as the 2003 Dublin Regulation that implements CEAS. A 17-member Grand Chamber of the Court ruled that both respondent countries had violated rights of the asylee-applicant under Article 3 (banning inhuman and degrading treatment) and Article 13 (guaranteeing an effective remedy) of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. Belgium was faulted for having returned the applicant to his 1st state of entry -- Greece -- without considering that there he might endure the poor living conditions and risk of refoulement to his native Afghanistan. Greece, meanwhile, was held to account for the possibility of such risks and for the delays in providing the remedy of asylum. By Syring's telling, the judgment appears to place a significant, affirmative responsibility on member states -- and thus is well worth a read for international lawyers in many fields beyond that of asylum law.


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