Climate Change Refugees: Where to Look for Legal Protection

Rebecca Hughes
Volume 38 Associate Editor

The Arctic is having an unusually mild winter.  In February, the region experienced a period of unseasonably warm weather, with the temperature being twenty degrees warmer than the average.[1]  This is the third time this year that dramatically higher than average Arctic temperatures have been recorded. [2]  At the same time, on the opposite end of the globe in Antarctica, sea ice is at the lowest level ever recorded.[3]  The climate is changing, and as it does, it is exacerbating existing vulnerabilities in regions across the globe,[4] having a direct effect on the people who live in areas directly impacted by climate change.  Continue reading

Refugee Status as an Alternative for Stateless Adoptees

Sam Han
Vol. 38 Associate Editor

Under international law, “statelessness” is the status given to an individual without citizenship under the operation of any country’s laws.[1] In the United States, an estimated 35,000 intercountry adoptees currently do not possess U.S. citizenship,[2] and by definition, are considered stateless persons. By no fault of their own, many of these adoptees are not given citizenship because of clerical errors or the oversight of their adoptive parents.[3] This has significant legal ramifications, especially in contexts where these adoptees face deportation.[4] Continue reading

“Almost Like Ghosts”: Who is Responsible for Abandoned Refugees?

Salam Sheik-Khalil
Vol. 38 Associate Editor

On September 30, the Jordanian government finally agreed to a deal with the U.N. to resume humanitarian aid to 75,000 Syrians stranded on the Jordanian-Syrian border.[1] Living in a harsh desert no-man’s land known as “the berm,” some since July 2014, the Syrians had been refused entry to Jordan.[2] Conditions at the “berm” had become severe—water was scarce, aid organizations were denied entry, and the last food delivery (a 30-day supply) had been in early August.[3] A representative from Medicins San Frontiers (MSF, also known as Doctors without Borders) described the Syrians as follows: “They are not really even permitted to exist where they are so they are sort of being insidiously phased out of existence — almost like ghosts. They’re not seen and they are not recognized by any entity.”[4]

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The Common European Asylum System: Its History, Content, and Shortcomings

Silvia Raithel, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

Negotiations towards the Common European Asylum System (“CEAS”) began in 1999 in the city of Tampere, Finland.[1] EU Member States wanted a unified asylum system, based on binding legislation, in order to address several key problems.[2] One problem the CEAS sought to address was asylum shopping.[3] This is a practice whereby asylum seekers whose applications for asylum in one EU Member State are denied apply for asylum in another EU Member States.[4] A second problem the CEAS sought to address was disparate asylum outcomes in different EU Member States.[5] This led asylum seekers to gravitate towards EU Member States where their application was more likely to be approved.[6] A third problem the CEAS sought to address was differing social benefits for asylum seekers in different EU Member States.[7] This led asylum seekers to file their petitions for asylum in the EU Member States that had the best social benefits for asylum seekers.[8] Continue reading

International Legal Implications of Measures Taken to Limit Influx of Refugees in Europe

Christine Prorok, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

As hundreds of thousands of refugees flee states in the Middle East and Africa, bound largely for countries in the European Union, the international community has struggled to furnish a consistent response to accepting refugees. And some have no intent to accept refugees at all. Continue reading

The European Refugee Crisis and the Need for a Unified European Approach

Virginia Koeppl, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

Fleeing civil war and terror, at least 350,000 migrants have crossed the European Union’s borders in search of a better life from January to August 2015, many of them risking their lives on the perilous journey.[1] Europe is experiencing one of the most significant influxes of migrants and refugees in its history, most of whom come from the Middle East and Africa.[2] The number of refugees has steadily grown over the last two years: According to statistics compiled by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”), the number of refugees arriving from the Mediterranean Sea has tripled since 2014, bringing it up to a number that is ten times as high as in 2013. [3] Continue reading

The Need for Internationally Accepted Refugee Laws

Zachary Anderson, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

The recent Syrian refugee crisis has put a massive amount of strain on Europe. An estimated 32,000 asylum applications were recorded in Europe in July of this year alone.[1] In the wake of this crisis, arguably cruel responses by European governments and individuals have garnered the international spotlight,[2] exposing serious shortcomings in the ability of international law to protect the rights of migrants. For example, Hungary has closed its border with Serbia, built a fence, and launched an anti-immigration campaign.[3] Hungarian officials have also been recorded shooting migrants with water cannons and throwing tear gas over the newly constructed fence into crowds of refugees.[4] Continue reading