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The End of Human Rights Dynamism? Judgments of the ECtHR on ‘Hot Returns’ and Humanitarian Visas as a Focal Point of Contemporary European Asylum Law and Policy
International Journal of Refugee Law Pub Date : 2021-04-10 , DOI: 10.1093/ijrl/eeab004
Daniel Thym

Two controversial rulings of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) deserve global attention, since they declined to scrutinize on human rights grounds the prevalent move towards enhanced border controls and externalization practices that define European asylum law and policy at this juncture. In ND and NT, judges deemed the Spanish policy of ‘hot returns’, without access to basic procedural guarantees, of those climbing border fences to be compatible with human rights. A few weeks later, the Grand Chamber thwarted enduring hopes for judicial innovation in MN when it reasserted a ‘primarily territorial’ understanding of State jurisdiction and declared inadmissible the claim of a Syrian family from the war-torn town of Aleppo to a humanitarian visa. While the decision on humanitarian visas means that ‘non-arrival’ policies cannot usually be challenged, critical inspection of the ND and NT judgment displays a confounding combination of restrictive arguments and dynamic elements beneath the surface of a seemingly clear-cut outcome. This lack of judicial precision, which was bound to cause heated debate about the practical implications of the judgment, reflects the basic tension between the prohibition of refoulement and the absence of a right to asylum in classic accounts of international refugee law. It will be argued that the judicial vindication of the Spanish ‘hot returns’ policy does not call into question non-refoulement obligations; it aims at identifying graded procedural standards for different categories of refugees and migrants. By contrast, the novel insistence on the abstract availability of legal channels of entry presents itself as a humanitarian fig leaf for the acceptance of strict control practices. At an intermediate level of abstraction, the two rulings mark a watershed moment, indicating the provisional endpoint of an impressive period of interpretative dynamism on the part of the ECtHR, which has played a critical role in the progressive evolution of international refugee and human rights law over the past three decades. Experts in asylum law who have become accustomed to supranational courts advancing the position of individuals will benefit from the insights of constitutional theory and the social sciences to rationalize why the former vigour has given way to a period of hesitation and potential standstill, at least in Europe. This analysis employs the perspective of strategic litigation to discuss contextual factors hindering the continued dynamism of human rights jurisprudence in Europe at this juncture.

中文翻译:

人权活力的终结?欧洲人权法院关于“热遣返”和人道主义签证作为当代欧洲庇护法律和政策焦点的判决

欧洲人权法院 (ECtHR) 大法庭的两项有争议的裁决值得全球关注,因为他们拒绝以人权为由审查目前普遍采取的加强边境管制和外部化做法的举措,这些举措定义了欧洲庇护法律和政策。 . 在ND 和 NT 中,法官认为西班牙的“热遣返”政策在无法获得基本程序保障的情况下,那些攀爬边境围栏的人与人权相容。几周后,大法庭挫败了明尼苏达州司法创新的持久希望当它重申对国家管辖权的“主要领土”理解并宣布来自饱受战争蹂躏的阿勒颇镇的叙利亚家庭对人道主义签证的要求不可受理。虽然人道主义签证的决定意味着“不入境”政策通常不能受到质疑,但对ND 和 NT判断的批判性检查显示了看似明确的结果表面之下的限制性论点和动态因素的混淆组合。这种司法精准性的缺失,必然会引发对判决实际意义的激烈争论,反映了禁止驱回之间的基本张力。以及在国际难民法的经典描述中缺乏庇护权。有人会争辩说,西班牙“热遣返”政策的司法证明并没有质疑不驱回义务;它旨在为不同类别的难民和移民确定分级程序标准。相比之下,新颖的对合法进入渠道的抽象可用性的坚持将自己表现为接受严格控制实践的人道主义遮羞布。在抽象的中间层次上,这两项裁决标志着一个分水岭时刻,表明欧洲人权法院令人印象深刻的解释活力时期的临时终点,该时期在国际难民法和人权法的逐步演变中发挥了关键作用在过去的三个十年中。已经习惯于提升个人地位的超国家法院的庇护法专家将从宪法理论和社会科学的见解中受益,以合理解释为什么以前的活力已经让位于犹豫和可能停滞的时期,至少在欧洲. 本分析采用战略诉讼的视角来讨论目前阻碍欧洲人权法理学持续活力的背景因素。
更新日期:2021-06-10
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