Externe Publikationen

Externalization, the commodification of asylum, and implications for International refugee law

Jaji, Rose
Externe Publikationen (2024)

in: Ulrike Krause / Christiane Fröhlich (eds.), Externalizing Asylum: A compendium of scientific knowledge, published online on externalizingasylum.info

Volltext/Full text

The externalization of borders, migration management, and asylum procedures by high-income countries is not new. Australia’s “Pacific Solution”, the EU’s partnerships on migration governance with countries in North and West Africa, the US’s externalization to Mexico and Central America, and the EU-Türkiye deal are illustrative examples. Against this backdrop, the recent UK and Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership indicates the spread of this practice and its normalization. This article argues that the UK-Rwanda Partnership and similar arrangements imply that refugee hosting, especially by countries that ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention, is optional and discretionary rather than obligatory. The article specifically addresses the plan to deport asylum-seekers, the commodification of asylum, and the implications of the Partnership for international refugee law. Notwithstanding the wording suggesting concern for asylum-seekers, the Partnership fundamentally serves the interests of the deporting and receiving governments to the exclusion of its long-term effects on the people who are deported, the host society, and humanitarian principles at large. The externalization of asylum has the overall impact of perpetuating the disproportionately high numbers of asylum-seekers and refugees in low- and middle-income countries, which creates a vicious circle considering that this is the very reason why asylum-seekers increasingly seek refuge in high-income countries instead of waiting for limited opportunities for third country resettlement.

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