Hispaniola: A Current Stateless Issue and a Looming Refugee Crisis

Dominican Republic, August 22, 2015

August 22, 2015 Julie Kornfeld Third-year student at the University of Michigan Law School. On Hispaniola, the island divided between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the early stages of a...

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Palestinian Refugees and the Protection Gap

Syria, August 6, 2015

In April, the UN issued a press statement regarding the desperate condition of Yarmouk, a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, Syria. Due to the UNRWA’s inability to provide protection for certain Palestinian refugees who fall within their operational definition, an unprotected population of refugees has been created.

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Uighur Refugee Dispute Sheds Light on Thai Asylum Practices

Thailand, July 20, 2015

In March, a Thai court ruled that a group of 17 Uighur refugees would remain in detention until their nationalities were proven. Although the Turkish government had provided the group and other Uighur refugees with passports and travel permission, China claimed they were Uighur Muslims from Xinjiang, and asked Thailand for repatriation to China. The ensuing diplomatic tension has resulted in the repatriation of many Uighur refugees to China and shed light on Thai asylum practices.

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How to Sink a Boat: A Legal Analysis of the Right to Seek Asylum

European Union, July 12, 2015

In a surprisingly bold move, the European Union (E.U.) recently asked the United Nations to green light the use of force against boats containing “smuggled” immigrants on the Mediterranean Sea. This disturbing news has been met with a wave of protest from advocates and scholars alike, who deplore the E.U.’s plan because it denies these immigrants their fundamental rights. Many have been left wondering, what is the legal basis for the E.U.’s actions? And could the United Nations conceivably approve such a plan?

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Privacy and Impunity in South Africa

South Africa, June 3, 2015

On September 26, 2014 the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria handed down its decision in CoRMSA v President of the Republic of South Africa, upholding the grant of refugee status to former Rwandan general Faustin Kayumba Nywamwasa despite allegations of his involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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Refugee Protection for Homeschoolers? Congressional Efforts to Amend the Refugee Definition and Restrict Protection for Central American Refugees

United States, June 1, 2015

The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee recently passed H.R.1153, the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act of 2015 (“the ARBP Act”), a bill that restricts immigration to the United States, except for families fleeing persecution because they homeschool their children. This article discusses the ways in which the proposed Act is in direct contravention with U.S. domestic and international obligations and argues Congress should instead invest in the asylum officer corps and immigration court system to provide adjudicators with the resources and support they need to reach reasoned and fair decisions.

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Syrian Asylum Seekers Face Difficulties in Japan

Japan, May 12, 2015

Recently, four Syrian asylum seekers have decided to sue the government of Japan for its failure to recognize their claims for refugee status. This litigation move comes amid reports published by the Ministry of Justice, which states that Japan recognized only six asylum seekers in 2013 and only 11 in 2014, despite a clear upward trend in the number of asylum applications.

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The Michigan Guidelines on Risk for Reasons of Political Opinion

May 12, 2015

The University of Michigan Program in Refugee and Asylum Law hosts the bi-annual Colloquium on Challenges in International Refugee Law, which brings leading academic experts and practitioners from around the world to Ann Arbor to work with students and identify a strategy for confronting a cutting-edge problem in refugee protection. The purpose of the Colloquium is to tackle one difficult issue via preparatory study and a three-day debate and policy formulation meeting, thus producing the Michigan Guidelines on that particular issue. The 2015 Michigan Guidelines take up how best to interpret “political opinion” in a manner that ensures both fidelity to international law and the continuing vitality of the Convention.

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Vulnerability, the Right to Asylum and the Dublin System

European Union, April 14, 2015

Recent jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights has called into question the compatibility of the Dublin system with the rights of inherently vulnerable individuals, in particular children seeking asylum.

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Of Shepherds and Sheepdogs – Andre Lawrence Shepherd v. Bundesrepublik Deutschland before the Court of Justice of the European Union

Germany, March 9, 2015

An American citizen applied for asylum in Germany on the basis of Article 9(2)(e) of the Qualification Directive (QD). He refused to continue working in the US armed forces serving in Iraq, claiming his continued participation would lead to the commission of war crimes. The referring court stayed proceedings and asked the CJEU to help interpret the act of persecution contained in Article 9(2)(e). In this article, Julian Lehmann dissects the CJEU's opinion and predicts the outcome in Mr. Shepherd's case.

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