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Global Asylum Governance and European Union's Role

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ASILE (Global Asylum Governance and European Union's Role)

Reporting period: 2020-12-01 to 2022-05-31

The ASILE project (Global Asylum Governance and the EU’s Role) examines the changing interactions between emerging asylum governance systems and the 2018 United Nations Global Compact for Refugees (UN GCR). The GCR constitutes the reference framework of international cooperation calling for more equitable and effective responsibility sharing arrangements for hosting and supporting refugees and asylum seekers. The consortium is composed by a new international academic network of outstanding scholars, think tanks, international organisations and civil society actors.

ASILE studies the characteristics and impacts of existing and emerging containment and mobility asylum governance instruments and their implementation in selected countries around the world – i.e. Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Jordan, South Africa and Turkey. This includes an account of instruments framed as ‘legal and complementary pathways’ of mobility and admission of refugees, and the impacts of vulnerability and status recognition assessments on the rights to decent work and non-discrimination.

ASILE pays particular attention to the EU role in the implementation of these international standards and principles, both in the application and ongoing reform of the Common European Asylum System and in the scope of selected third country arrangements – i.e. Jordan, Niger, Serbia, Tunisia and Turkey.

The project provides a better understanding of the constitution of asylum systems around the world and in the EU, their inclusionary and exclusionary components on refugees’ rights and inclusion and questions related to responsibility attribution in cases of human rights violations. The results feature in a Global Portal providing a web-based platform for users to obtain access to all country-specific information by way of an interactive world map.

ASILE carries out an evaluation of regional and country-specific instruments from the perspective of their effectiveness, fairness and consistency with refugee protection and human rights standards as well as the GCR principles. By doing so the project aims at identifying key lessons learned and providing a critical account of ‘promising practices’ so as to inform the UN GCR implementation. The results aim to nurture a set of policy engagement methods designed to impact future refugee recognition and mobility policies.
During the last months of the project, the consortium achieved the following results and outputs:

• A Global Portal including three components; First, Country Fiches providing a historical background, statistics and relevant instruments and actors on asylum by country; Second, Country Notes outlining issues of concern by country put forward by human rights mechanisms and bodies; and third, country-relevant ASILE research reports.
• An in-depth state-of-the-art examination of the ways in which existing literature engages with the impact of global norms on the protection of asylum-seekers and refugees, and the concepts of containment and mobility.
• An actor-centred mapping covering the governance networks on asylum, and providing a better understanding of the ways in which global and regional norms can have effects on local asylum governance dynamics; and a typology of EU instruments with selected third states.
• A Catalogue of international and regional legal standards applicable to asylum governance policies of containment and mobility; a comparative account of regional legal and soft-law standards governing the right of asylum and those covering the right of decent work of asylum seekers and refugees.
• A new scholarly exploration of refugee status determination (RSD) processes and resettlement processes; and an analysis of the role played by registration and structural vulnerabilities in co-creating precariousness in the humanitarian governance of resettlement.
• A comparative analysis of how refugeehood and other kinds of ‘protection’ are allocated, with focus on their impacts on the right to work, the role played by vulnerability assessments and bringing refugee voices in Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Jordan, South Africa and Turkey; and a comparative assessment of EU cooperation arrangements on asylum governance with Niger, Serbia, Tunisia and Turkey.
• Policy briefs and insights providing analysis of latest policy developments and their implications for the EU; and three online Forums offering a collective scholarly and civil society conversation on the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, the EU’s activation of the Temporary Protection Directive and the partnership principle in the GCR.
• A series of Policy Webinars, in-person Policy Seminars and Regional Workshops liaising ASILE findings with latest policy developments and engaging key institutional actors, stakeholders, young thinkers and refugees; and a Training School on global asylum governance and the GCR bringing together students from around the world.
ASILE aims at contributing towards a ground-breaking understanding of the inclusionary and exclusionary components of asylum governance instruments in light of the relationship between “containment” and “mobility” in a selection of consolidated and emerging asylum governance regimes across the world.

While the literature has engaged with the notion of “containment” in asylum governance, ASILE advances the state-of-the-art by providing a better understanding of the concept of “mobility”, and the ways in which it is articulated into policy instruments framed as “legal and complementary pathways” of refugee mobility, and the hyper-complexity characterizing the implementation dynamics of EU third country cooperation arrangements on migration management.

The research shows the existence of a multiplicity of national and regional instruments portraying various notions and understandings of “protection” which often run contrary to the right of asylum and refugee protection, and give rise to sophisticated forms of ‘contained mobility’.

Some ‘mobility’ instruments can be better understood as manifestations of time, status and rights-bound contained mobility. They present visible exclusionary features raising unfairness and inconsistency concerns. Effective access to the envisaged socio-economic rights remains problematic. This results in cases of protracted temporariness, discrimination and hyper-precarity.

ASILE research contributes also towards a better understanding of the concept of “vulnerability” and “solidarity”. The notion of vulnerability is not fit for purpose across several national jurisdictions. The term fails to consider the role of policy instruments and their implementing actors in co-creating applicants’ structural vulnerability including the context of RSD. The concept of “solidarity” faces similar challenges, in particular in the EU. The term of solidarity nuances Member States’ legal responsibilities and can be better understood as an inter-state “alliance” focused on the immobilization and containment of unauthorized asylum seekers mobility.

ASILE aims at informing and engaging in public policy processes and debates on current and future refugee policies and their individuals impacts internationally and in the EU. The project highlights the need to investigate and independently monitor regional and national instruments on asylum and their qualitative outputs before labelling them as ‘promising practices’, or calling for their transferability across other jurisdictions in the context of the GCR.
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