New publication: The Prohibition of Arbitrary Deprivation of Nationality

Publication by a member of the Interest Group
by Tamás Molnár

Arbitrary deprivation of nationality is of serious concern to the international community. Such acts of the State effectively place the persons concerned in a ‘legal vacuum’ regarding the enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular in areas of education, housing, employment, health and social security since these persons are put in a situation of high vulnerability to human rights violations. In case of denationalization, the persons affected become non-citizens with respect to the State that deprived them of their nationality (either still possessing another nationality, and consequently becoming aliens in their motherland, or in the worst case the individual is rendered stateless). Persons arbitrarily deprived of nationality may thus be exposed to poverty, social exclusion, and limited legal capacity.

One chapter in the new Hungarian Yearbook of International and European Law – 2014 (Eleven Publishing, The Hague 2015, pp. 67-92), written by Tamás, highlights the role of international law in regulating nationality and the international legal framework prohibiting the deprivation of nationality. It also delineates different situations amounting to arbitrariness when deciding on the withdrawal of a nationality, including the discussion of possible ex post effective remedies. As a relatively new phenomenon, even European Union (EU) law has not been left untouched by this issue. Despite the lack of explicit EU competences in this regard, the obligation not to arbitrarily deprive someone’s nationality has been completed with EU law requirements, principally stemming from the fundamental character of EU citizenship. Remarkably, convergences between UN (soft) law and EU (case) law can be observed in the light of the recent developments.

The chapter can be found here

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Judicial Review of Migrant Detention in Europe: In Search of Effectiveness and Speediness

Nikolaos Sitaropoulos has written a blog about the judicial review of migrant detention in Europe.

He writes: “Detention has been highlighted in recent years by a number of international and non-governmental organisations as an ineffective and inefficient tool of migration control employed by a large number of states. In 2013, the European Court of Human Rights continued to find violations of Article 5(4) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms  (“ECHR”) by various state parties and even rendered a quasi-pilot judgment in the case of Suso Musa v. Malta.”

Read more here.

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Proposal European Commission for unaccompanied minors well received

Last year, the European Commission proposed to amend the Dublin regulation regarding the Member State responsible for examining the asylum application of unaccompanied children with no family members residing legally in EU. According to the proposal, the Member State responsible for examining the asylum application, is the one where the unaccompanied child is currently present, even if they haven’t applied for asylum there, as long as this is in their best interest. This is in line with the judgment of the European Court  of Justice in the case of MA & Others.

UNHCR, UNICEF and ECRE have all three responded positively on this amendment by the European Commission. According to UNHCR, the Commission’s proposal ensures prompt access to international protection for unaccompanied children and gives primary consideration to the best interest of the child at each stage of the asylum procedure. UNHCR underlines that in the case of a decision to send back children to another Member State they may not be properly accommodated, may be unable to access protection in the receiving country and might be detained with adults due to disputes in assessing their age between Member States concerned.

See for more information, here.

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Call for papers: Migration and Asylum Law section of the SLS Annual Conference

The Migration and Asylum Law section of the 2015 SLS Annual Conference, which will be held at the University of York from Tuesday 1st September – Friday 4th September, is now calling for papers to be submitted. The Migration Law section will meet in the first half of the conference on Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd September.

This year’s theme, ‘Law’s Subjects: Subject to Law’, has been chosen to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta 1215, as well as the 250th anniversary of Entick v Carrington.

Proposals for papers on any issue relating to the area of migration and asylum law are welcomed, including those addressing this year’s conference theme, considering migrants and refugees as law’s subjects and/or subject to law. If you are interested in presenting a paper, you can submit an abstract (250 words approx.) by Friday 20th March.  The organizers are particularly welcoming proposals from early career academics, including postgraduate and PhD students.

For more information, please click here

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Statelessness in the Netherlands – symposium in Amsterdam

Statelessness is making its way onto the Dutch political agenda and changes to the statelessness determination procedure have been promised. The Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance will organise a colloquium that will take a closer look at the proposed changes and their implications for stateless persons in the Netherlands. The symposium will be held at 2 March from 2-5pm at the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam and is open to the public. It will be held in Dutch and English.

Some background information: In 2011, the UNHCR issued a critical study on the position of stateless persons in the Netherlands, entitled ‘Mapping Statelessness in the Netherlands’. Two years later, a separate report by the national Advisory Committee on Migration Affairs confirmed the problems faced by this vulnerable group. In response to the latter, the State Secretary (Teeven) promised to introduce a statelessness determination procedure in the Netherlands, and to amend the Dutch nationality law so as to allow stateless children born in the Netherlands to obtain Dutch nationality more easily. What do these promises mean for the Dutch stateless? What will improve and for whom? And, perhaps even more importantly, what issues will remain unaddressed if these promises are fulfilled?

For more information, please click here

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Invitation and call for papers (REMINDER)

Nordic Asylum Law Seminar 7-8 May 2015 (Uppsala, Sweden)

The Lund/Uppsala Migration Law Network (L/UMIN) in co-operation with the Faculty of Law, Uppsala University will organise the 2015 Nordic Asylum Law Seminar. The Nordic Asylum Law Seminar offers a forum for exchange and dialogue on issues related to domestic, European and international refugee and asylum law between scholars, governments, judicial institutions, practising lawyers and civil society in the Nordic and Baltic context.

The overarching theme for the 2015 Nordic Asylum Law Seminar is ‘Unequal Treatment: The Root of All Claims for Protection?’ The chosen theme is to be interpreted broadly and to include material as well as procedural aspects of determination of refugee or complementary protection status. The Seminar will include speakers and participants from the Nordic countries as well as from other parts of the world; including scholars, policy makers, judges, NGO representatives, state officials and other stakeholders.

The Seminar consists of plenary sessions with renowned keynote speakers and workshops where papers submitted by scholars and other participants will be commented and discussed. Junior scholars are particularly encouraged to submit and present papers. Keynote speakers include:

. Michelle Foster, University of Melbourne
. Morten Kjaerum, Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, University of Lund
. Gregor Noll, University of Lund
. Elina Pirjatanniemi, Åbo Akademi University
. Thomas Spijkerboer, VU University Amsterdam
. Volker Türk, UNHCR

Papers can still be submitted. They will be selected on the basis of the abstracts submitted. Main selection criteria are the originality of the work and the linkage to the seminar theme. Abstracts should be sent to by February 10, 2015. 

Please click here for more information. 

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New report by UNHCR: do not return asylum-seekers to Greece

Over the last two years Greece and neighbouring Mediterranean states have been experiencing an increase in the number of refugees and migrants arriving by sea, many seeking to move on to other EU states. In 2014, around 43,500 refugees and migrants arrived by sea to Greece, a 280 per cent increase from the previous year. The majority of people come from Syria (around 60 per cent), followed by Afghans, Somalis and Eritreans. This evidently represents a very complex situation with many intersecting challenges that need to be addressed both by Greece and by the European Union at large.

In order to address the deficiencies in the Greek asylum system, some of which were highlighted in the M.S.S. judgment, Greece has been implementing a complex reform of its asylum system. Significant improvements have taken place in the quality of the adjudication of asylum claims and of decisions.

However, access to the asylum procedure still remains challenging. While first and second line reception conditions are generally insufficient, they are particularly so for individuals with specific needs, such as unaccompanied and separated children (UASC), single women, and other vulnerable individuals, resulting in homelessness of asylum-seekers and difficulties access-ing much needed health services. The report concludes with a recommendation to Governments to continue to refrain from returning asylum-seekers to Greece.

Read it here.

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Vacancy: Senior Research Associate

The Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Law is seeking to appoint a Senior Research Associate.  The Senior Research Associate will undertake independent, original research in international, comparative and Australian refugee law.

The successful applicant will have excellent research and communication skills, the ability to supervise other researchers, and meticulous attention to detail. He or she will be able to present at conferences, Parliamentary hearings, public events and must be willing to engage with the media.

The  Senior Research Associate  will  work  under  the  direction  of  the  Centre  Director, Scientia Professor Jane McAdam (who is a member of this Interest Group).

More information can be found here. The deadline is 5 February 2015.

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Aid in a World of Crisis: Op-ed by Antonio Guterres

Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has written an op-ed on the global crisis of displacement and persecution. Never before in the 64th-year history of UNHCR has the agency had to address so much human misery.

“At the beginning of 2014, more than 51 million people were displaced from their homes, uprooted by conflict and persecution. Many more have had to flee in the past twelve months.

Protracted wars, environmental disasters, and state failure have stretched the international humanitarian-aid system passed its breaking point. If the UNHCR and other relief agencies are to address the unprecedented amount of human need, they will have to broaden their base of support. Without a massive scaling up of private-sector involvement, both in terms of shared expertise and funding support, we will fail to provide for millions of people who have lost almost everything.”

Read more here

Angelina Jolie, a special envoy of UNHCR, has also written an op-ed on Syria and Iraq. Read it here

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Conference: ‘Migration on the Margins: Exploring Constructions of the “Illegitimate Migrant”‘

The Oxford Migration Studies Society is organising the Annual Migration Conference to be held at University of Oxford on May 15th and 16th 2015. The theme for this year is, “Migration on the Margins: Exploring constructions of the ‘illegitimate migrant’.”

Debates on migration often attempt to distinguish between “legitimate” migrants deserving of protection and “illegitimate” migrants taking advantage of state and humanitarian resources. Charged labels that name those deemed undeserving—terms such as “bogus refugee”, “queue jumper”, and “ungrateful asylum seeker”—have emerged alongside more “neutral” labels such as “economic” or “undocumented” migrant. This conference is interested in exploring the effects of labels and notions of illegitimacy as it pertains to migration debates and lived experiences. By focusing on illegitimacy, the conference explores the “margins” of migration to reveal assumptions underpinning processes of establishing “who counts.”

Papers can be submitted until February 15th 2015. For more information, click here.

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