Ongoing and concluded PhDs

PhD researcher or student information

Juan Ruiz Ramos

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Discipline: Law

Degrees BA: Double Bachelor in Law and Political Science (Universidad de Granada)


International Law and International Relations (Universidad de Granada)

International Migration and Refugee Law (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

PhD Research Information

A right to free movement in the Destination State? Limitations on the liberty of asylum-seekers in European and international human rights law

Brief description:

In recent years, asylum-seekers in Europe have had to endure State measures which, though not classified as “detention” in domestic law, limit their physical liberty to different degrees. Some of these measures –such as the (now closed) Hungarian transit zones and the reception centres in the Greek islands– could amount to de facto detention, thus impinging upon the right to liberty enshrined in international and EU human rights law (e.g. Article 5 ECHR). Other measures –such as the German Residenzpflicht–, which force the asylum-seeker to reside in a particular place, may contravene the right to freedom of movement within the State and the right to choose one’s residence (e.g. Article 2(1) of Protocol 4 to the ECHR). The purpose of this thesis is to analyse and compare the documents and case law of international and national courts and bodies which deal with (1) the distinction between a restriction on movement and a deprivation of liberty, (2) the right to freedom of movement of asylum seekers in the Destination State and (3) other rights which may be affected by the aforementioned measures. The result will be a comprehensive study on how human rights law regulates these “other” forms of limitations to the liberty of asylum-seekers. Special consideration will be given to the manner in which Governments and courts balance the prerogative of the State to control migration and the individual right to free movement.


The methodology followed is the systematic content analysis of the documents and case law of international, regional and national judicial and non-judicial bodies. While the research will mostly focus on European institutions and practices, documents and case law from other international (Human Rights Committee, UNHCR) and regional (Inter-American and African) human rights and refugee protection systems will be reviewed so as to make a comparative analysis. This will be complemented with the review of the travaux préparatoires of different international human rights instruments in order to understand the origins and scope of the right to free movement. For mapping practices, reports from governmental and non-governmental organisations will be used. Finally, a review of the relevant historical, legal and philosophical bibliography will be carried out.

Keywords: asylum law, confinement of asylum-seekers, right to liberty, right to freedom of movement, margin of appreciation, human rights law

Language(s) of writing: English

Country: Spain

Home University:

Universidad de Granada

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Department of International Law and International Relations

Amsterdam Centre for Migration and Refugee Law

Supervisor: Javier / Lieneke Roldán Barbero / Slingenberg
Start date: 21-10-2019
(Expected) date of completion 21-10-2023
PhD current status: PhD Ongoing
PhD research funded by: Spanish Ministry of Universities
Name of grant: Training of University Professors (FPU)
Added to catalogue on: 24-02-2021

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