Journal Articles

Is Resettlement Still a Durable Solution? An Analysis in Light of the Proposal for a Regulation Establishing a Union Resettlement Framework

INELI CIGER, Meltem, / March 2022

Resettlement is generally regarded as a permanent or durable solution for refugees. Resettled refugees classically are granted permanent settlement with the opportunity for eventual citizenship. However, this classic understanding might be changing. In 2016, the European Commission proposed a Regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework with a view to creating a more structured, harmonized, and permanent framework for resettlement across the Union. According to the Proposal, resettled persons are to be granted either the refugee status or the subsidiary protection status in the Member States. Similar to the Proposal, more and more states including Denmark and the United States grant resettled refugees and other displaced persons statuses that fall short of the refugee status. In light of these recent developments, this article questions whether resettlement is still a permanent and durable solution for refugees. In doing so, the article also examines duties owed by states towards resettled refugees and other forcibly displaced persons in international law and reviews shortcomings of the Commission Proposal for a Regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework.

Making sense of the global: A systematic review of globalizing and localizing dynamics in refugee governance

BRUMAT, Leiza; GEDDES, Andrew; PETTRACHIN, Andrea / September 2021

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.

Working Papers

Sergio Carrera (CEPS), M Sanjeeb Hossain (University of Oslo/Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University, Bangladesh), Lewis Turner (Newcastle University, UK), Fatima Khan (University of Cape Town), Andrew Fallone (University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology), Natália Medina Araújo (Universidade Federal do Oeste da Bahia, Brazil) and İlke Şanlıer (Çukurova University, Turkey) / October 2023

This Report presents the final synthesis results and comparative assessment of the country research findings of ASILE Project Work package (WP) 4 titled “Refugee recognition, self-reliance and rights”. WP4 is structured around two main components: A first research stream aims at providing an in-depth examination of refugee status determination, vulnerability and the right to work issues in two selected countries: Bangladesh and Jordan. A second research stream is dedicated to the examination of the same three thematic components – status, vulnerability and rights – in relation to specific instruments and/or arrangements in the following four countries: Brazil, Canada, South African and Turkey

Sergio Carrera, Fatima Khan, Andrew Fallone, Natália Medina Araújo and İlke Şanlıer Yüksel / October 2023

How are refugee and other kinds of asylum statuses, and their attached set of rights, allocated and implemented in asylum governance instruments across various world regions and selected major refugee hosting countries? And how is the notion of ‘vulnerability’ understood, articulated and put into effect in these instruments? This Report examines key issues pertaining to refugee status determination, vulnerability and the right to work which characterise specific asylum governance instruments in Brazil, Canada, South Africa and Turkey.

Julia Kienast, Nikolas Feith Tan & Jens Vedsted-Hansen / October 2023

The paper interrogates key instruments, standards and trends in global asylum governance, exploring the compatibility of emerging asylum regimes with international and regional instruments and standards in this area. It takes a global view, while drawing on national and regional practice from the six countries central to the ASILE project, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Jordan, South Africa and Turkey, where relevant.

Julia Kienast, Nikolas Feith Tan & Jens Vedsted-Hansen / March 2023

The paper identifies specific forms of EU cooperation with selected third countries that give rise to questions of compatibility with binding norms of international, European and EU law. The paper further applies principles of responsibility attribution under international and European human rights law to often complex multi-actor migration management contexts.
In particular, the authors identify four types of EU arrangements with third countries that raise particular rights compatibility or responsibility attribution questions. The examination of these different forms of cooperation is based on recent ASILE Country Reports on asylum governance in Turkey, Serbia, Tunisia and Niger.

Bachirou Ayouba Tinni (GERMES, Université Abdou Moumouni, Niamey, Niger); Olga Djurovic and Rados Djurovic (Asylum Protection Center, Belgrade, Serbia); Abdoulaye Hamadou (Université Djibo Hamani, Tahoua, Niger); Meltem Ineli-Ciger (Süleyman Demirel University, Isparta, Turkey); Gamze Ovacık (Baskent University, Ankara, Turkey); Fatma Raach (Université de Jendouba, Tunisia); Hiba Sha’ath (York University, Toronto, Canada); Thomas Spijkerboer and Orçun Ulusoy (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands) / March – Mars 2023

Since 2015, Europe has intensified its cooperation with third countries in the field of asylum and migration. This report synthesises four country studies concerning European political, legal and financial instruments in this field in Niger, Serbia, Tunisia and Turkey. These very different case studies allow for the identification of fundamental challenges of European external asylum and migration policy (i.e. challenges which are not specific to just one third country).



Depuis 2015, l’Europe a intensifié sa coopération avec les pays tiers dans le domaine de l’asile et de la migration. Ce rapport synthétise quatre études de pays concernant les instruments politiques, juridiques et financiers européens dans ce domaine au Niger, en Serbie, en Tunisie et en Turquie. Ces études de cas très différentes permettent d’identifier les défis fondamentaux de la politique extérieure européenne en matière d’asile et de migration (c’est-à-dire les défis qui ne sont pas spécifiques à un seul pays tiers).

Borders, money, and a B&B – Policy drivers on the Global Compact on Refugees in Serbia

Julian M. LEHMANN / October 2022

Although the United Nations Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) has elaborated a clear set of shared policy objectives on addressing forced displacement, it is less evident how these objectives are best to be achieved politically. Using a lens of “political responsibility” for policies, this paper studies domestic and international policy actors, and their roles and interests for explaining policies relevant to the GCR in the Republic of Serbia since 2018.

Migration and asylum in Tunisia: Domestic interests, external influences, and policy outcomes

Angeliki DIMITRIADI / September 2022

The report shows how domestic preferences overlap with or supersede competing external interests. We argue that the financial and technical assistance that the EU offers Tunisia for border management corresponds to the country’s domestic priorities. In contrast, the development of protection, reception, and integration of refugees and migrants is less of a priority amidst ongoing economic, social, and political instability. Here, support from international actors (the European Commission, EU member states, and international organisations) has produced unintended negative outcomes.

Actors and their Networks: Scope for adaptation to and contestation of global norms for refugee protection

Leiza BRUMAT, Andrew GEDDES and Andrea PETTRACHIN / August 2022

This report analyses the research conducted in the framework of WP2 of the ASILE project. The Report develops an actor-centred perspective on the governance networks for asylum/refugee protection in the six ASILE case countries. The analytical focus in on both the composition of and the effects of variation in governance systems on the ways in which global norms and standards can have effects in our six case countries, particularly the impact of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).

Refugee Recognition and Resettlement

Cathryn COSTELLO, M. Sanjeeb HOSSAIN, Maja JANMYRNora M. JOHNSEN, & Lewis TURNER  / May 2022

This working paper explores refugee recognition processes, in particular refugee status determination (RSD), and resettlement processes, with the aim of opening up new lines of scholarly and policy enquiry. It opens with an overview of refugee recognition practices, RSD in particular, and then provides a thematic overview of scholarly literature on RSD. It then explores the very limited practice of resettlement (in terms of the few refugees offered resettlement places), and its nonetheless important role in the global refugee regime, followed by a literature review on resettlement.

The Right of Asylum in Comparative Regional Perspectives: Access, Procedures and Protection

TAN, Nikolas FeithKIENAST, Julia / May 2022

This working paper provides an account of regional standards on the right of asylum, with a focus on protection systems in Europe, the Americas and Africa – the three regions with binding regional and sub-regional protection regimes. In setting out regional protection regimes, the working paper focuses on legal standards governing the right of asylum in countries central to the ASILE project covered by these regional regimes, namely Brazil, Canada, South Africa and Turkey. As neither the Asia-Pacific nor the Middle East have binding regional instruments for the protection of refugees, relevant regional soft law
instruments are briefly addressed, with respect to ASILE focus countries Bangladesh and Jordan.

The EU grants temporary protection for people fleeing war in Ukraine: Time to rethink unequal solidarity in EU asylum policy

CARRERA, Sergio , INELI CIGER, Meltem, VOSYLIUTE, Lina  & BRUMAT, Leiza / March 2022

More than two million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on 24 February 2022. To respond to the sudden large-scale displacement from Ukraine, the 2001 EU Temporary Protection Directive has been activated for the first time. This paper examines the key issues and questions raised by the EU’s temporary protection regime to people fleeing Ukraine, and the medium and long-term issues which can be expected from its implementation. It draws on lessons learned or ‘not to be learned’ from policies adopted by countries such as Turkey that responded to large-scale displacement from Syria, and others in South America, such as Colombia and Brazil, that responded to large-scale displacement from Venezuela. The paper argues that the solidarity principle enshrined in the EU Treaties needs to be substantially rethought and revisited.

Between politics and inconvenient evidence: Assessing the Renewed EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling

VOSYLIUTE, LinaFALLONE, AndrewARROUCHE, Kheira / December 2021

Following the European Commission’s recent release of its Renewed EU Action Plan Against Migrant Smuggling (2021-2025), the authors take stock of key insights arising from recent and ongoing research on the facilitation of irregular migration. The EU’s counter-smuggling policies equate irregular migration to a crime, while disregarding that safe, orderly and regular pathways for refugees and other migrants are hard to access. The Renewed EU Action Plan Against Migrant Smuggling (2021-2025) exacerbates the risks that refugees and other migrants face by penalising those who assist them. Civil society actors, family members and communities that act out of compassion or provide basic services in transit and destination countries continue to be investigated and prosecuted as ‘migrant smugglers’.

Walling off Responsibility? The Pushbacks at the EU’s External Borders with Belarus

CARRERA, Sergio / November 2021

This paper examines the EU and international responses to the situation on the EU’s external borders between Poland, Lithuania and Latvia with Belarus. It studies the scope and human rights impacts of current EU and national discourses framing the controversy as a ‘hybrid war’ and the set of restrictive national measures implemented on the EU-Belarusian frontier since July 2021. The Paper argues that border fencing and containment policies do not ‘wall off’ or exempt EU Member States from their own responsibility and liability for illegal pushbacks – summary expulsions without individual circumstances assessments, access to asylum procedures and due process or effective remedies -– of third country nationals.

Catalogue of International and Regional Legal Standards: Refugee and Human Rights Law Standards Applicable to Asylum Governance


This working paper sets out those international and regional legal standards of relevance to international asylum governance and policies of containment and mobility. The working paper’s primary purpose is providing a state-of-the-art overview of legal standards drawn from international and regional conventions on human rights and refugee instruments. In particular, the working paper focuses on those standards governing the asylum governance of six countries central to the ASILE project, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Jordan, South Africa and Turkey.

The Right to Work of Asylum Seekers and Refugees

COSTELLO, Cathryn; O’CINNÉIDE, Colm / May 2021

This working paper analyses the right to work to asylum seekers and refugees. First, it briefly sets the scene, with an account of the reality of work rights restrictions for asylum seekers’ and refugees. It also analysis the right to work of asylum seekers and refugees, specifically examining the right under international human rights law of global and regional scope. Concerning the former, the paper examines the right under international human rights law of global scope, in particular under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. While that instrument is often perceived as being normatively weak, due in part to a misunderstanding about the ‘progressive realization’ standard, a chapter highlights States’ immediate ‘minimum core’ obligations under the right to work.

Inventory and Typology of EU Arrangements with Third Countries

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

This working paper maps and analyses EU arrangements with selected third countries of transit with a focus on the role of instruments and actors in the implementation of such arrangements. The working paper hones in on EU cooperation with Turkey, Serbia, Niger and Tunisia, with particular attention afforded to arrangements since the European migrant and refugee ‘crisis’ of 2015. In mapping such arrangements, which encompass international relationships between the EU and third countries, the working paper provides a country-bycountry overview and inventory of relevant political, legal and financial instruments. The paper also takes particular note of the role of both EU and third country actors in implementing these instruments. The term ‘arrangements’ here is used to refer to a set of binding and non-binding cooperation modalities undertaken between the EU and third countries of transit.

Pushbacks and lack of accountability at the Greek-Turkish borders

CORTINOVIS, Roberto / February 2021

Amid escalating geopolitical tension with Turkey, in March 2020 the Greek authorities announced a hardline approach towards asylum seekers attempting to cross its land and sea borders with Turkey. The framing of cross-border movements as a ‘threat’ to the country’s national security served to justify a derogation from the human rights standards and procedural guarantees that are granted to people seeking protection under EU law. Since then, a pattern of systematic pushbacks at the border and informal returns represents the most visible expression of this hardening of border policies at the EU’s south-eastern borders.

Policy Briefs

Addressing Protection Implications of EU Extra-Territorial Migration Cooperation:

Policy recommendations

 Solveig Als, Kathrine Starup and Cecilia Vejby-Andersen / November 2023

As a major global actor, the EU and its member states have a pivotal role to play in contributing to addressing the global challenge of forced displacement. They are significant contributors when it comes to supporting refugee hosting states in coping with the task of hosting large populations of refugees and displaced persons through financial and technical assistance including investing in strengthening asylum capacity and supporting self-reliance of refugee populations – all well in line with the commitments of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).

At the same time measures and policies that contravene efforts for global responsibility sharing and undermine solidarity with countries and regions hosting the majority of the World’s refugees continue to dominate the EU approach to asylum and migration.

Shortcomings in EU Cooperation for Externalization of Asylum:

Lessons from Niger, Serbia, Tunisia and Türkiye

Bachirou Ayouba Tinni, Olga Djurovic and Rados Djurovic, Abdoulaye Hamadou, Meltem IneliCiger, Gamze Ovacık, Fatma Raach, Hiba Sha’ath, Thomas Spijkerboer and Orçun Uluso / November 2023

This Policy Brief addresses European Union (EU) support for asylum systems in selected third countries – i.e. Niger, Serbia, Tunisia and Türkiye – through a range of instruments including technical means (advice, training, capacity building), operational assistance (such as Frontex operations in non-EU countries) as well as financial support for refugee status determination, refugee reception, migration and border management. Specific focus is given to the instruments’ compliance with transparency and accountability principles and international law, the extent to which the results achieved have been oriented towards facilitating mobility or the containment of asylum seekers and refugees, as well as their alignment with the United Nations Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).

Policing Search and Rescue NGOs in the Mediterranean

Sergio Carrera, Davide Colombi and Roberto Cortinovis / February 2023

The policing of NGOs and human rights defenders providing humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers and immigrants, as well as search and rescue (SAR) in the Mediterranean has reached a new low due to the current far-right Italian government.

This CEPS In-Depth Analysis paper examines the Italian government’s practices of responsibility evasion and selective disembarkation of SAR NGO vessels, the ensuing diplomatic row with the French government over the 2022 Ocean Viking affair, and the introduction of a Code of Conduct sanctioning SAR NGOs in January 2023. The paper argues that upholding justice at sea is not a ‘pick and choose’ game for governments and migration policymakers. Some of the human rights at stake are absolute in nature, and therefore accept no derogation or weighing with other policy interests. Policing the work of civil society actors and a policy of selective disembarkation run contrary to EU law and constitute clear indicators of a systematic threat to national and EU constitutional principles. This calls for effective and timely EU enforcement measures, to uphold a justice-centred approach that fully respects the dignity of every person and the safeguarding of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights.

Externalization and the UN Global Compact on Refugees: 

Unsafety as Ripple Effect

ALS, Solveig; CARRERA, Sergio; TAN, Nikolas Feith; VEDSTED-HANSEN, Jens / December 2022

This Policy Brief examines recent externalization policy and legal initiatives in Europe that are affecting asylum seekers’ and refugees’ access to asylum. It analyses the main legal issues and policy challenges characterizing the externalisation of border controls – including the so-called push backs and pull backs by several EU Member States, and the recent unilateral initiatives to externalise asylum processing by the United Kingdom and Denmark governments, in light of their commitments under the UN Global Compact on Refugees and their obligations in international refugee and human rights law. The Policy Brief outlines the profoundly harmful consequences of externalisation of asylum initiatives considering the lessons learned from similar international experiences and their condemnation by relevant United Nations human rights monitoring bodies. It then provides a set of policy recommendations aimed at guaranteeing a genuine system of inter-state responsibility sharing in line with the UN GCR, where the EU plays an active role towards its implementation, and which fully upholds international refugee and human rights standards.

Implementing the United Nations Global Compact on Refugees?

Global Asylum Governance and the Role of the European Union

CARRERA, Sergio; VOSYLIUTE, Lina; BRUMAT, Leiza; TAN, Nikolas Feith / June 2021

This Policy Brief presents the preliminary findings and policy recommendations emerging from the first 18 months of the ASILE H2020 project (Global Asylum Governance and the EU’s Role). It provides an analysis of asylum governance instruments that have been portrayed as ‘promising practices’ in countries like Brazil, Canada, Jordan, South Africa as well as in the EU. These include instruments like resettlement, community sponsorships, humanitarian admission programmes, and trade deals focused on refugee labour market integration in hosting countries. The Brief highlights that while these instruments present some relevant mobility and inclusionary components, they also display a set of exclusionary features which operationalise hierarchies of deservedness and temporariness. They also lead to discrimination that is incompatible with state commitments under international and regional human rights and rule of law standards. The Policy Brief provides a set of lessons learned in the implementation of the EU’s Pact on Migration and Asylum and the EU’s cooperation with third countries on migration and asylum management in light of the United Nations Global Compact on Refugees.


The EU Pact on Migration and Asylum in light of the United Nations Global Compact on Refugees

International Experiences on Containment and Mobility and their Impacts on Trust and Rights

CARRERA, SergioGEDDES, Andrew / March 2021

In September 2020, the European Commission published what it described as a New Pact on Migration and Asylum (emphasis added) that lays down a multi-annual policy agenda on issues that have been central to debate about the future of European integration. This book examines the new Pact as part of a Forum organized by the Horizon 2020 project ASILE – Global Asylum Governance and the EU’s Role.

In light of the ASILE project objectives, the chapters of the book pay particular attention to the scope of the mobility and containment components of asylum governance instruments and their implementing actors in Europe and other world regions, as well as their inclusionary or exclusionary effects on individuals’ rights and international protection.