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Universal-MigrationHRlaw-PG-no-6-Publications-PractitionersGuide-2014-eng

Universal-MigrationHRlaw-PG-no-6-Publications-PractitionersGuide-2014-eng

108 | PRACTITIONERS

108 | PRACTITIONERS GUIDE No. 6CHAPTER 2: HUMAN RIGHTSIMPEDIMENTS TO EXPULSIONThis Chapter analyses the limitations set by international human rightsand refugee law to the general rule, which derives from the principleof territorial sovereignty, that a State has a right to expel non-nationalsfrom its territory. 290 International human rights law has developedpowerful tools to constrain the exercise of States’ discretion in expulsions.These include both procedural rules (which will be considered inChapter 3) and substantive limitations, addressed in this Chapter.Human rights law can in certain circumstances be used to pre-empt oroverturn any order for the removal of a non-national (or indeed a national)from the territory. This can apply to any type of involuntary transfer fromthe territory, however the transfer is described in the national system,whether as a deportation, removal, extradition, or in any other terms.Human rights law may place substantive limitations on expulsion in twotypes of situations:1. Where there is a risk of human rights violations following return(the principle of non-refoulement). The principle of non-refoulementprohibits the transfer of a person to a country wherehe or she faces a real risk of a serious violation of human rights,or of further transfer to a third state where there would be a realrisk of such violations. Although responsibility for the potentialviolation lies with the sending State, the focus is on the humanrights situation of the receiving country and the potential for violationof rights following return there.2. Where the removal from the sending state would itself violaterights enjoyed in that state. The removal from the sending statemay also be challenged as violating rights which the individualenjoys in that State. Here, the human rights situation in the receivingcountry is secondary to the issue of whether the expulsionitself irreversibly prejudices the expellee’s rights.I. The principle of non-refoulementThe principle of non-refoulement, prohibiting States to transfer anyoneto a country where he or she faces a real risk of persecution or seriousviolations of human rights, is a fundamental principle of international lawand one of the strongest limitations on the right of States to control entryinto their territory and to expel aliens as an expression of their sovereignty.290 See, fn. 43.

MIGRATION AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW | 109It has its origin in international refugee law 291 and international regulationson extradition. 292 In refugee law, the principle has existed since 1933and it is now clearly a provision of customary international law binding allStates. 293 In international human rights law, the legal basis of the principleof non-refoulement lies in the obligation of all States to recognise, secureand protect the human rights of all people present within their jurisdiction,294 and in the requirement that a human rights treaty be interpretedand applied so as to make its safeguards practical and effective. 2951. Non-refoulement in international refugee lawRegarding refugees, whether a formal determination of refugee statushas been made by the destination country, or whether they are still inthe determination process, or intending to apply for asylum, Article 33.1of the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951prohibits the State to “expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any mannerwhatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedomwould be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membershipof a particular social group or political opinion”. 296 This principle291 Article 33, Geneva Refugee Convention; and Article II.3, OAU Refugee Convention.292 See, among others, Article 9, International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages,adopted on 17 December 1979 by G.A. Res. 146 (XXXIV), UN GAOR, 34 th Session, Supp.No. 46, UN Doc. A/34/46; Article 3, European Convention on Extradition, adopted on 13 July1957; Article 5 of the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, adopted on27 January 1977; Article 4, Inter-American Convention on Extradition, adopted on 25 February1981; and Article 3, UN Model Treaty on Extradition.293 See, Article 3, Convention relating to the International Status of Refugees, League of Nations,adopted on 28 October 1933, Treaty Series Vol. CLIX No. 3663; Article 4, Provisional Arrangementconcerning the status of refugees coming from Germany of 4 July 1938; Article 5, Conventionconcerning the status of refugees coming from Germany, League of Nations, adoptedon 10 February 1938. On the customary nature of non-refoulement see, UNHCR, The Principle ofNon-refoulement as a Norm of Customary International Law. Response to the Questions Posedto UNHCR by the Federal Constitutional Court of the Federal Republic of Germany in Cases2 BvR 1938/93, 2 Bvr 1953/93, 2 BvR 1954/93, 31 January 1994; UNHCR, Advisory Opinionon the Extraterritorial Application of Non-refoulement Obligations under the 1951 Conventionrelating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, 26 January 2007, para. 15. See also,Conclusion No. 6 (XXVIII) Non-refoulement, ExCom, UNHCR, 28 th Session, 1977, para. (a).294 See, Article 1 ECHR, Article 2 ICCPR, Article 1 ACHPR, and Article 1 ACHR. The Conventionagainst Torture expressly provides for the principle of non-refoulement in its Article 3.295 See, for example, Soering v. United Kingdom, ECtHR, Plenary, Application No. 14038/88,7 July 1989, para. 87; Ahorugeze v. Sweden, ECtHR, Application No. 37075/09, Judgment of27 October 2011, para. 85: “[i]t would hardly be compatible with the ‘common heritage ofpolitical traditions, ideals, freedom and the rule of law’ to which the Preamble refers, werea Contracting State knowingly to surrender a person to another State where there weresubstantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subject to torture orinhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.296 See Conclusion No. 79, UNHCR, op. cit., fn. 79, para. (j). See also, Conclusion No. 81 (XLVIII)General, ExCom, UNHCR, 48 th Session, 1997, para. (i); Conclusion No. 82 (XLVIII) on SafeguardingAsylum, ExCom, UNHCR, 48 th Session, 1997, para. (d–i). See also, ConcludingObservations on Portugal, CCPR, UN Doc. CCPR/CO/78/PRT, 17 September 2003, para. 83.12.The OAU Refugee Convention refers to threat to physical integrity or liberty for all the refugeesfalling in the extended definition it provides. See, Article 2.3, OAU Refugee Convention.The OAU Refugee Convention does not admit exceptions to the principle of non-refoulement.

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    ISBN 978-92-9037-151-X

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