This page displays the various blogposts published by the ASILE members and invited external experts on the ASILE topics.


Chloe Marshall-Denton, PhD, Humanitarian Advisor, Medecins sans frontieres (MSF) Belgium; and Andrea Panico, Humanitarian Affairs Officer, MSF North Balkans mission / November 2023

On 16 March 2023, EU Commissioner Ylva Johanson and European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) Director Hans Leijtens were pictured at the Serbian-Hungarian border with Frontex officers and Serbian authorities. The high-profile visit to Serbia, a non-EU country neighbouring Hungary, Croatia, and Romania, marked an important shift: Frontex, which had previously withdrawn from the Hungarian side of the border, is rapidly expanding its presence across non-EU Balkan states, including Serbia. By April 2023, 140 Frontex officers had reportedly been deployed to Serbia; their presence shared between the southern border with Bulgaria and the northern border with Hungary. The growing presence of Frontex was also accompanied by other foreign police presence in Serbia, facilitated by bilateral and tri-lateral arrangements with EU member states such as Austria and Germany.

The criminalization of mobility in Niger: the case of Law 2015-36

Sophia Stille, Mixed Migration Centre/ November 2023

The ASILE project seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the role and impacts of legal and policy responses on refugee protection, with a particular focus on the role of the European Union. This case suggests that European Union interests to manage northbound migration flows in Niger played a role in the drafting and implementation of Law 2015-36, thereby criminalizing mobility, which had significant consequences for migrants in Niger and for the local population in Niger’s Agadez region.

Rule of Law and Human Mobility in the Age of the Global Compacts – Classics in New Refractions

Tamas MOLNAR, Marion PANIZZON, Daniela VITIELLO / June 2022

Cross-border human mobility remains a “vision” for many and becomes a reality for others. The United Nations (UN) Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) assists in the legal aspiration to turn dangerous routes and unsafe journeys into legal pathways by “strengthening international cooperation” for effective migration management (Objective 23). Still, the sovereign right of States to decide whom to admit limits migration trajectories, while a diversified toolbox of multilateral treaties, bilateral agreements and a plethora of soft law instruments govern other phases of the trajectory. Within this spectrum, the GCM takes a central place as the “first intergovernmental agreement prepared under the auspices of the [UN], to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner” – borrowing the words of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Temporary protection for some, not for the many in EU asylum policy

CARRERA, Sergio / May 2022

The EU activated the Temporary Protection (TP) Directive on 4 March 2022. This has translated into an ‘open borders’ and protection-driven policy for those escaping the war in Ukraine. This is a welcome step to provide protection for those in need. But it does not represent a game-changer in EU asylum policy.

The swift consensus reached by all 27 EU Member States on the TP Directive doesn’t forgive or mask persistent and unresolved structural flaws embedded in the foundations of EU asylum policy.

These include Member States offering protection to some but not to all, particularly non-European asylum seekers. There is also a conscious strategy by some Member States to not comply with their legal commitments under EU asylum law, and to backslide from EU law and fundamental rights standards.

Bhasan Char: Prison island or paradise? Are Rohingya refugees being denied their right to freedom of movement?

HOSSAIN M Sanjeeb; JANMYR, Maja / May 2022

What does the research literature on refugee and asylum migration tell us about the impact of global norms and standards on the protection of asylum-seekers and refugees? Do we see the effective reach of global standards or do we see responses to be dependent on ‘local’ contexts? We conducted a systematic review of the literature across six case countries on two key issues in contemporary refugee governance: ‘mobility’ and ‘containment’. After coding 252 documents, we found that while ‘the global’ has an important normative and aspirational resonance and is an identified source of rights expansion and increased mobility, there is significant evidence for the ‘localisation’ of global standards on asylum and refugee protection. This has important implications for the diffusion of global norms and standards. Our results also reveal a strong focus in the research literature on ‘containment’ policies and on the role of state actors in developing these policies.

Externalisation of asylum in Europe: Unpacking the UK-Rwanda Asylum Partnership Agreement

TAN, Nikolas Feith / May 2022

The UK-Rwanda Asylum Partnership Agreement (APA) is the latest in a line of cooperative asylum arrangements that seek to shift asylum responsibility from destination states in the Global North to countries in the developing world. Such arrangements are generally for the purpose of deterring and deflecting protection seekers and, as such, the APA should be understood as a form of externalisation, an umbrella concept for the efforts of certain states to externalise certain basic functions (in this case asylum processing and protection) in the areas of border control and asylum.

Migrants or refugees? ‘Let’s do both’. Brazil’s response to Venezuelan displacement challenges legal definitions

BRUMAT, Leiza / January 2022

As Venezuelan large-scale displacement worsened and some South American countries adopted more restrictive policies, only one country in the region recognised large numbers of Venezuelans as refugees and, at the same time, adopted a longer-term regularisation policy based on a regional agreement. That country is Brazil, which is not governed by a leftist political party whose foreign policy agenda is driven by the promotion of human rights, as happened in South America during the ‘pink tide’ of left-wing governments who liberalised migration policies. Instead, Brazil’s far right President Jair Bolsonaro has been repeatedly hostile towards migrants and refugees, yet Brazil has the highest ‘regularisation’ rate of Venezuelan nationals in South America (74% against an average rate below 50% in the rest of the countries). These ‘regularisation’ routes – by providing residence and migratory status, without making any distinction between these legal categories- can be seen as a way for the Brazilian state to address the issue of irregularity and increase its control over its territory and population.

Denmark’s Legislation on Extraterritorial Asylum in Light of International and EU Law

TAN, Nikolas Feith, VEDSTED-HANSEN, Jens / November 2021

On 3 June 2021, Denmark’s parliament passed Bill L 226, a legislative amendment allowing for the transfer of asylum seekers to a third country outside the EU for the purposes of both asylum processing and protection of refugees in the third country. The amendment provides that transfers must take place under an international agreement between Denmark and the third country and that asylum seekers are to be transferred unless it would be in breach of Denmark’s international obligations. The new legislation and the international agreements foreseen to implement it, in case such transfers of asylum seekers are going to be a real feature of Danish asylum policy, represent a fundamental shift from the traditional perceptions of territorial asylum, according to which the state where an asylum seeker arrives normally assumes responsibility for assessing her asylum claim and, if found in need of international protection, for providing it. 

Border Procedure: Efficient Examination or Restricted Access to Protection?

VEDSTED-HANSEN, Jens / December 2020

As one of the novelties in the New Pact on Migration and Asylum and its accompanying legislative package, the European Commission has proposed to establish a ‘seamless procedure’ at external borders that will be applicable to all non-EU citizens crossing the borders without authorisation. In its entirety, the border procedure will comprise three elements: pre-entry screening, an asylum procedure and a ‘swift return procedure’ where applicable. The overall aim is explained as being to ‘close the gaps between external border controls and asylum and return procedures’ (p. 4, section 2.1).