Refugees, Regionalism and Responsibility

Refugees, Regionalism and Responsibility

Elgar Studies in Human Rights series

Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley

Regional cooperation is sometimes seen as the answer to refugee movements. This book examines whether regional arrangements have resulted in protection and durable solutions for refugees and how responsibility for refugees has been shared at the regional level. Posing critical questions about responsibility-sharing and regionalism, the book is a timely contribution on an issue garnering increasing attention as a result of maritime arrivals in the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia.

Chapter 7: The Common European Asylum System

Penelope Mathew and Tristan Harley

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, public international law, politics and public policy, human rights, international relations


This chapter looks at the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). It examines the Dublin system of allocating responsibility for unauthorised asylum seekers to the European Union country in which they first arrive; the harmonisation of the definition of a refugee and beneficiaries of protection for those in refugee-like situations (subsidiary protection), the procedures for determining refugee status and the reception conditions for asylum seekers (eg rights with respect to accommodation); efforts to share responsibility for refugees within the EU, such as the efforts to relocate asylum seekers; and the ‘external dimension’, including efforts to resettle refugees from third countries, and regional protection programmes that seek to improve protection in countries within the region of the refugee flow. The chapter documents the different forms of regionalism evident in the tension between individual EU member states’ desire to deter refugees and practices and proposals for reform that focus on sharing responsibility.

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