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The right to asylum is not just one of many human rights. At its core, asylum is an institution that has been known since antiquity, granting the protection of a sovereign, secular or religious, to those who have lost their place in the general order. In its present form, based on the Geneva Refugee Convention of 1951, this principle is expressed above all in the conviction that persons who lose the protection of one state are thereby not excluded from the entire organised humanity, but should find access to protection in other states. The right to asylum thus aims to overcome the rightlessness of refugees.

However, an inquiry of the past decades of asylum policy in the EU shows that more and more creative legal and political measures are being sought to avoid responsibility for upholding the right to asylum. This development has worsened in recent months and years, up to the very perversion of asylum law: The right of individuals is redefined as an act of grace and asylum seekers are accused of corrupt motives and being intrinsically unwilling to integrate. A range of administrative, police, social and legal measures are designed to restrict the freedom of movement of refugees in order to prevent access to asylum in the EU. Development funds are used to subordinate the legitimate aspirations of other regions of the world to creating a space of internal mobility to the goal of Fortress Europe. Protection from refugees replaces the protection of refugees. Rescuing human lives becomes a crime.

It is therefore of particular importance to our institute to pay considerable attention to questions of asylum law within the framework of our research activities. The current focus of our work is on access to asylum in Europe and the external dimension of European asylum policy. Moreover, we are working on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the access of asylum seekers to the labour market.

Expelled from Humanity: Reflections on M.N. and Others v. Belgium (Verfassungsblog, 6 Mai 2020, Adel-Naim Reyhani)

Adel-Naim Reyhani © Wien Museum

The European Court of Human Rights decided this week (in M.E. and Others vs. Belgium) that European states are not bound by the European Convention on Human Rights in visa procedures at their embassies.

"The decision (...) will undoubtedly further propel the debate on the scope of extraterritorial state jurisdiction. More importantly, however, it reveals the necessity of addressing the systemic exclusion of refugees from the international legal order", BIM researcher Adel-Naim Reyhani writes in his article on

1st Slovenian-Austrian Lawyers’ Day: Managing Migration and the Rule of Law

1. Slowenisch-Österreichische Juristentag: Managing Migration and the Rule of Law

The 1st Slovenian-Austrian Lawyers' Day was held at University (Juridicum) on 19 and 20 September 2019. Individual lectures on the topic "Managing Migration and the Rule of Law" reflected current challenges in the context of migration. In addition, the 1st Slovenian-Austrian Lawyers' Day served as a networking opportunity for Slovenian and Austrian law researchers and professionals.

ClimMobil: Judicial and policy responses to climate change-related mobility in the European Union with a focus on Austria and Sweden

Climate change is becoming an increasingly important factor with regard to migration and displacement. Although most persons affected by climate change-related mobility remain in their regions of origin, some of them (will) arrive in Europe, including in Austria. However, the legal status of persons arriving in Europe in this context is still inadequately addressed (normative protection gap).

Invitation for themed event "Challenges & Opportunities in the European Asylum System"

EU Member States are bound not only by international refugee law, but also by EU law on refugees and asylum. Despite this common normative framework, asylum practices in the individual EU countries vary widely. This can lead to a refugee seeking international protection being granted asylum in one Member State but subsidiary protection or even a negative decision in another. Experts from the European and Austrian asylum systems will examine these questions at length and discuss the challenges and opportunities in the European asylum system.

Programme (Excerpt):

Albert Schweitzer Haus, Großer Saal - Schwarzspanierstraße 13, 1090 Wien