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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“The Benefit of the Doubt” in Asylum Law

United Kingdom , March 2, 2015

"The benefit of the doubt" is best understood, not as an independent principle to be ranked alongside the lower standard of proof, but rather as an integral part of such a standard.

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Forced Removals to Somalia Continue in the Netherlands

THE NETHERLANDS, March 1, 2015

On February 3, 2015 the highest administrative court in the Netherlands—the Dutch Council of State—handed down its judgment in a case concerning the lawfulness of an asylum seeker’s detention pending removal to Somalia.

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Establishing a Common European Asylum System by Leaving European Human Rights Standards Behind: Is this the Way Forward?

European Union, February 4, 2015

Things have definitely come to a head between the two European Courts, and for the time being, reconciliation is nowhere in sight [...] Should push come to shove, and national authorities be placed before a real dilemma between respecting EU Law or respecting ECHR Law, the ECJ might find that its judicial policy is not conducive to the authority and uniform application of EU Law [...] The irony is that, in following its perilous course, the ECJ is striving to place the Union’s AFSJ and CEAS on solid foundations. In fact, it is undermining them, along with human rights protection in the EU and beyond. Consider this: should the NS test eventually supplant the Soering test in the operation of the Dublin system, the ECJ will effectively have built a “systemic deficiency” – a rule producing serial violations of the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment.

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One Year after the Korean Refugee Act

South Korea, January 7, 2015

The Republic of Korea became a signatory of the Refugee Convention in 1992, shortly thereafter inserting just a few articles into its domestic immigration laws to adhere to the required procedures of refugee recognition under the Convention. By 2008, applications for refugee status had not exceeded 2,000, and the number of recognized refugees remained around 100. While it was undeniable that Korea had made steady progress in refugee protection, the pace was deemed unsatisfactory and public criticism was common. In 2012, the South Korean parliament passed Law No. 11298 of 2012, Refugee Act [hereinafter “Refugee Act”], which went into effect in 2013, making the Republic of Korea the first Asian country to have an independent law for refugee protection.

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No Refuge From Climate Change

New Zealand, December 8, 2014

In a June 4, 2014 decision the New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal dismissed a Tuvalu family’s appeal from a 2013 Refugee Status Branch decision denying them refugee and protected persons status, while contemporaneously issuing a separate opinion granting residence visas to the very same family.

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