EU: Offshore processing of asylum claims and legal responsibility in "scenarios of extraterritorial complicity"

Offshore processing of asylum claims and legal responsibility in "scenarios of extraterritorial complicity"
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Two recent posts on the blog of the European Journal of International Law discuss the ongoing moves towards the "offshore processing" of asylum claims by the EU, its Member States, non-EU countries such as Chad and Niger and international organisations such as the IOM and UNHCR; and the question of legal responsibility in such "scenarios of extraterritorial complicity".

See: Offshore Processing and Complicity in Current EU Migration Policies (Part 1) (EJIL, link):

"In this first blog post we reconstruct a complex web of EU migration policies that, in our view, indicate a shift towards extraterritorial protection, and more specifically the introduction of a multi-stakeholder mechanism for the offshore processing of asylum claims in the Sahel. It is crucial to have as much conceptual clarity as possible with regards to the nature and scope of the policies introduced by the EU and its Member States, in collaboration with the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and several African States. This is because the implementation of these policies undoubtedly poses legal concerns, both in terms of human rights and protection needs (see here) and in terms of complicity in and remedies for international wrongful acts which may result from these policies (issues that we discuss in part 2 of this blog).


To sum up, the policies discussed so far seem to point in the direction of new offshore processing centres in Niger and potentially Chad, and of simultaneous attempts to make the already abysmal conditions in the detention centres in Libya more ‘humane’ by involving humanitarian NGOs in managing them. In light of the failure in effectively relocating people in need of international protection from the ‘hotspots’ in Italy and Greece, and in resettling them from Turkey, there is a high risk that people will remain stranded in the Sahel, with their asylum claims being inevitably delayed, leaving them vulnerable to further abuse. As we discuss in the second part of this blog post, this failure has also serious implications in terms of the legal complexity that scenarios like this present when seeking accountability for violations stemming from the process."

And: Offshore Processing and Complicity in Current EU Migration Policies (Part 2) (EJIL, link):

"In the first part of our blog post we reconstructed a complex web of migration policies that indicate a shift towards offshore processing of asylum claims in Niger and possibly Chad. In this second part, we seek to answer an obvious yet difficult legal question, namely who bears responsibility in scenarios of extraterritorial complicity such as this one? As described in part one, the new plan could not be implemented without the close cooperation of various actors: European Union (EU) institutions and Member States, third countries (Niger and/or Chad) and UN organisations (IOM and UNHCR)."

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