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Asylum law

Crossing the Extraterritorial Border: The Illegalisation of Asylum

Marisa Sehmar

The right to seek asylum as a result of a well-founded fear of persecution is a legal guarantee. Yet, in an age of securitisation, states are attempting to prevent those who are seeking asylum from entering the legal jurisdictions or territories of destination countries. This article seeks to explore how states are implementing extraterritorial border control and how such measures interact with their responsibilities under international law, using case studies from Europe, Australia, and the United States. The first half of this article considers the policies of unilateral non-entrée, including carrier sanctions, liaison officers, surveillance technology, interdiction at sea and excision zones. The second part of the article outlines the co-operative non-entrée policies of bilateral agreements and the use of both detention and offshore processing centres. This article concludes that the securitisation narrative has obscured the humanitarian narrative, allowing states to introduce policies which outlaw those potential protective needs. Subsequently, states have successfully evaded their obligations under international law.

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