Both externalization and external dimension of migration control play critical roles in the contained mobility around the world, especially in the southern external borders of the EU in the last decades. Externalization aims to contain mobility of migrants (including irregular migrants, refugees, asylum seekers or economic migrants) beyond national borders of destination states by using different practices such as push-back operations at the sea or keeping migrants in the extraterritorial camps until the evaluation of their asylum claims. On the other hand, the external dimension pursues migration control via carrying out softer policies than externalization. As one of most popular destinations, Southern European countries have changed the focus on migration policies to the external dimension to contain migration mobility towards the European Union. However, such externalization practices are mostly controversial in terms of compliance with human rights obligations as well as pledges to GCR and GCM of the states pursuing these practices.
Despite these concerns, the UK, a state which left the EU, and Denmark, which is still part of the union, opened a new chapter in Europe about migration policy by refoulment of asylum seekers to third countries by signing bilateral agreements to keep people in extraterritorial camps until the outcome of their refugee status claim, which is a method of externalization. The method implemented by the UK and Denmark gives rise to debated issues such as violations of fundamental human rights and pledges of GCR and GCM. On the other hand, the EU rather prefers to sign readmission agreements, which is a part of the external dimension, with non EU countries than those kinds of agreements.
Nevertheless, agreements signed by destination states like the UK or Denmark, and third states such as Rwanda, to externalize asylum systems have been extensively discussed in terms of their negative impacts on international human rights obligations. However, readmission agreements, such as the one in the EU-Turkey deal, have not been sufficiently scrutinized. These agreements aim to readmit asylum seekers or irregular migrants to a third state or their original country. The potential of this migration control approach to contribute to the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and Global Compact for Migration (GCM) as a new method of contained mobility has not been adequately explored. Moreover, the possible violations of human rights obligations and commitments to the GCR and GCM have not been thoroughly examined.
Therefore, the proposed research will firstly compare the agreements signed between a destination state and a third state (cooperation agreements) with the intent of keeping migrants in the third country until bringing a conclusion about refugee status claims of asylum seekers held in the third country to readmission agreements signed by the EU and a non-EU state to send people back to the state of their origin or a third state on the purpose of keeping people there in return for some incentives from the EU to non-EU state. This comparison would then reveal what kinds of similarities or differences these two contained mobility practices have in terms of violations of human rights obligations and pledges taking place in the GCR and GCM. Secondly, the research will discuss whether readmission agreements can be referred as a type of the external dimension policy helping fulfillment of pledges to the GCR and GCM.
Can Bilateral Agreements on Migration Control be a New Way for the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM)?,
Refugee L. & Migration Stud. Brief
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/refugeemigrationstudiesbrief/vol1/iss2/1