Journal article

Publication details

The Right to Leave by Sea: Legal Limits on EU Migration Control by Third Countries
in journal: The European Journal of International Law

Volume number: 27
Issue number: 3
Release year: 2016
Page range:

Author(s) details

Nora Markard

Publication description

Link to the publication on the Publisher’s catalogue
Migration management, push-backs, right to leave
The EU and its member states are progressively involving third countries in their border control measures at sea. Relevant instruments of cooperative migration control range from capacity building measures to joint patrols in third-country territorial waters and shared surveillance intelligence on ship movements. So far, the discussion on migration control at sea has mainly focused on the illegality of ‘push-backs’ of migrant boats by EU member states to their point of departure. By contrast, the increasing incidence of departure prevention or ‘pull-backs’ by third countries in the service of EU member states has been largely neglected. In particular, such measures raise grave concerns with respect to the right to leave any country, including one’s own. Of central importance during the Cold War, this human right is of no lesser relevance at Europe’s outer borders. This paper explores to what extent departure prevention and pull-back measures are compatible with the right to leave and the law of the sea and discusses the responsibility of EU member states for internationally wrongful acts committed by third countries in such cooperative migration control scenarios.