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Extraterritorial non-refoulement: intersections between human rights and refugee law

Citation: Cantor, David (2015) Extraterritorial non-refoulement: intersections between human rights and refugee law. In: Contemporary Challenges in Securing Human Rights. Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, pp. 113-120. ISBN 978-0-9931102-2-1


Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

How does international law require States acting outside their own territories to treat refugees and other persons fleeing harm in their countries?1 This question has assumed increasing contemporary relevance in light of heightened externalised border controls, such as attempts by States to interdict migrant boats on the high seas in the Mediterranean (see, for instance Moreno-Lax 2012). However, the issue also arises in other contemporary scenarios, such as where persons seek protection in diplomatic or consular premises, where one State militarily occupies the territory of another, and where a State sets up a system for the extraterritorial processing of asylum claims. This short analysis addresses the non-refoulement aspect of this extraterritoriality problem, i.e. protection against enforced removal to a territory where the person fears harm by a State acting outside its own territory. Inspired by the human rights focus of the volume overall, the chapter draws on current research by the author in order to examine this ever-topical concern against recent advances in the field of international human rights law. It not only confirms the view that the non-refoulement rule in human rights law applies extraterritorially, but also concludes that the resulting procedural implications should be taken seriously both for human rights law and for refugee law

Additional Information: To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights offered at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, we are pleased to publish a commemorative edited volume on human rights themes authored by distinguished alumni and faculty.
Creators: Cantor, David (0000-0002-2364-7419) and
Official URL:
Subjects: Human Rights & Development Studies
Keywords: human rights, refugee protection, women’s human rights, tax justice, business and human rights, poetry, rights in the digital age
Divisions: Human Rights Consortium
Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Collections: Contemporary Challenges in Securing Human Rights
  • 6 November 2015 (published)
  • 1 November 2015 (accepted)


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