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Australia/Nauru: High Court Rules Offshore Detention of Asylum Seekers Is Lawful

(Feb. 5, 2016) On February 3, 2016, the High Court of Australia, Australia’s highest court, held in a 6-1 decision that the government is legally able to participate in the detention of asylum seekers in the Pacific island country of Nauru; this means that a number of people who were brought to Australia to receive […]

Austria: Newly Proposed Measures on Asylum and Refugees

(Feb. 5, 2016) On January 20, 2016, the Austrian Federation and the Austrian states, as well as the municipalities and cities, came to an understanding on an upper limit of 127,500 refugees that will be allowed to apply for asylum in Austria over the course of the next four years. If implemented into binding legislation, […]

European Union: The Netherlands in Charge of EU Presidency

(Jan. 29, 2016) On January 1, 2016, the Netherlands took over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union and will be in charge of the Council agenda for the next six months. (The Netherlands and the EU Presidency, Netherlands EU Presidency 2016 website (last visited Jan. 29, 2016).)  The 2009 Lisbon EU […]

United Nations: Mid-Year Report on Global Forced Displacement

(Dec. 22, 2015) On December 18, 2015, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) published the UNHCR Mid-Year Trends 2015 report, an analysis of “displacement trends during the first half of 2015, based on statistics collected by UNHCR, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).”  (UNHCR MID-YEAR TRENDS 2015, at 3, UNHCR website […]

European Union: Proposals to Establish a New European Border and Coast Guard

(Dec. 18, 2015) On December 15, 2015, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation to Establish a European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG), designed to ensure shared European management of the external borders of the European Union. The proposal will establish a European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCGA), which will replace the […]

Court of Justice of the European Union; European Union: Challenges to Mandatory Plan to Relocate Refugees

(Dec. 14, 2015) Several of the European Union (EU) Members States, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia have been very critical of the EU’s recently adopted plan to distribute 120,000 refugees among all the EU Member States.  On September 9, 2015, the European Commission had adopted a proposal for the resettlement plan in […]

European Union: Schengen Area and Re-Introduction of Border Controls

(Dec. 8, 2015) On December 1, 2015, Luxembourg, which is at present holding the rotating Presidency of the European Council, invited the Council of the European Union to hold a debate on the functioning of the Schengen area and to discuss a number of issues that have been raised due to the unprecedented influx of […]

Sweden: Government Moves to Adopt More Restrictive Rules for Asylum Seekers

(Nov. 30, 2015) On November 24, 2015, the Swedish government announced that it would bring changes to Swedish asylum rules to a vote in Parliament, following reports from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency that the current refugee situation now is a risk to the life and health of people in Sweden because important forces of […]

Sweden: Limit on Asylum Seekers Reached, Measures to Cope with Influx

(Nov. 12, 2015) On November 5, 2015, the Minister of Migration and Justice, Morgan Johansson, announced that Sweden had reached the limit on its capacity to receive asylum seekers, stating, “all countries have a limit – this is where we are now.” After utilizing all available evacuation housing, the government could not guarantee, he added, […]

Hungary: New Law Permits Army’s Use of Non-Lethal Weapons Against Illegal Migrants

(Nov. 6, 2015) On September 21, 2015, the National Assembly of Hungary approved legislation that allows the country’s military to use non-lethal weapons against refugees when they enter Hungary illegally (Jacqueline Jones, Hungary Lawmakers Approve Use of Non-Lethal Weapons on Refugees, PAPER CHASE (Sept. 23, 2015).) Soldiers may use rubber bullets, tear gas, pyrotechnical devices, […]