Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen, RWI Research Director and Professor, recently published a chapter in a new book, The Practice of Shared Responsibility in International Law. In this new book chapter, Gammeltoft-Hansen examines the extent to which states and private actors can share responsibility for refugee law and human rights violations in the context of migration control, detention and removal.
The chapter is part of larger international research project examining the practical and theoretical implications of shared responsibility under international law (SHARES) coordinated by André Nollkaemper at Amsterdam University.
There was a time when immigration control or detention were thought to be the sole prerogative of the state. Over the last quarter-century, however, migrants and refugees are increasingly met by private actors taking over migration management functions. Most countries impose heavy fines on airline carriers for allowing passengers to board without proper documentation, effectively making these companies carry out rigorous migration control, rejecting thousands of would-be asylum-seekers every year. More recently, governments have turned to private security and military companies to take over control at border crossings; run detention centres; and carry out forced removals. In each of these instances migrants and refugees have found their rights curtailed, raising hard questions about responsibility under international refugee and human rights law.