Third Country Processing Regimes and the Violation of the Principle of Non-Refoulement: a Case Study of Australia’s Pacific Solution

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Akal, Ayşe Bala (2022) Third Country Processing Regimes and the Violation of the Principle of Non-Refoulement: a Case Study of Australia’s Pacific Solution, Journal of International Migration and Integration. DOI: 10.1007/s12134-022-00948-z.

Reviewed, pre-typeset version is embargoed until 22 March 2023
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​This article investigates the violation of the principle of non-refoulement under Australia’s mandatory offshore processing regime, which has emerged as one of the most extreme methods of externalization. Through bilateral agreements with the governments of Nauru and Papua New Guinea, Australia has contracted out the processing of asylum applications to third party States in its entirety. This processing regime has been persistently condemned by the international community for human rights abuses and violation of the most fundamental principle of international refugee law, non-refoulement. The rapid proliferation of EU-wide externalization policies, some directly emulating the Australian model, is emblematic of an insidious trend forming on the horizon, aiming to push the global “migration crisis” out of EU borders. The Australian model which is being used as a blueprint for future offshore processing regimes by EU leaders will lead to a significant shift in the paradigm of migration control policies. Thus, it is crucial to examine the failings of the Australian model, particularly the violation of the principle of non-refoulement, through the exposure of asylum seekers to human rights abuses. The article starts out by mapping out Australia’s history of predicating draconian migration policies upon the notions of “state sovereignty” and the “migration as a threat.” This is followed by a theoretical study of the concepts of “state responsibility” and “violation of the principle of non-refoulement through human rights violations.” A single in-depth qualitative secondary analysis of published studies to date reveals the violation of the principle non-refoulement under the offshore regime.

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