Europe “spot on” for shunning offshore processing of refugees

The European Commission is “spot on” for shunning offshore processing of asylum seekers, according to UNSW international refugee law expert Professor Jane McAdam.

Indonesia refugee

Sri Lankan C hold placards. Image: iStock

The European Commission is “spot on” for shunning offshore processing, according to UNSW Professor McAdam, Director of the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law.

Professor McAdam has welcomed the approach outlined in the European Commission’s European Agenda on Migration aimed at preventing further deaths at sea, which comes in the wake of recent disasters in the Mediterranean which have claimed over a thousand lives.

This approach is in stark contrast to Australia’s “stop the boats” strategy, she says.

The Commission has recommended a multi-pronged approach, including tripling the capacities and assets for certain joint operations this year and next.

“Australian legislation authorising officials effectively to do what they like when dealing with asylum seekers at sea would never pass muster in Europe, because it is wholly inconsistent with international law and EU law,” Professor McAdam says.

Following the release of the European Commission’s European Agenda on Migration, the Kaldor Centre published the first in a series of policy briefs, ‘Extraterritorial processing in Europe – Is ‘regional protection’ the answer, and if not, what is?’

It calls for a number of complementary strategies, which can help provide protection in a safer, and more regular, manner.

Increased resettlement, strategic use of existing temporary and permanent visa categories for people who can qualify, and private sponsorship schemes are just some of the ideas put forward by Professor McAdam in a suggested ‘protection toolkit’.

The Kaldor Centre has also compiled an In Focus brief that pulls together the main proposals currently being discussed in Europe to better manage the movement of asylum seekers and migrants across its borders.  They include a new quota system for relocating refugees within Europe, increasing search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean, and opening up legal avenues for people to enter Europe safely.  You can read the In Focus document here.

Read more about the European Commission’s European Agenda on Migration.