Centre for Fundamental Rights directors Cathryn Costello and Başak Çalı speak on refugee rights

Costello is co-editor of a special issue of the German Law Journal on migration, accountability and human rights violations. 

Hertie School Professor of Fundamental Rights Cathryn Costello and  Professor of International Law Basak Çalı, the Co-Directors of the Centre for Fundamental Rights, speak about their recently published paper, “Hard Protection through Soft Courts? Non-Refoulement before the United Nations Treaty Bodies”, published on 8 April 2020 in the German Law Journal. The paper details their study of three decades of individual cases, which shows how increasing numbers of migrants and refugees in Europe are turning to the United Nations Treaty Bodies (UNTBs)  –  independent expert committees that emit non-binding decisions – instead of the European Court of Human Rights. Non-refoulement is a legal norm of international law that protects anyone from being sent to a country where they might face persecution or a serious human rights violation.

Costello is the co-editor of the GLJ volume, Border Justice: Migration and Accountability for Human Rights Violations with Itamar Mann of the University of Haifa Faculty of Law. The two professors discuss the special issue, published by Cambridge Universtiy Press, in a conversation with GLJ editor Nora Makard.  

Asked about her motivation for putting together the issue, Costello says in the light of the normative, doctrinal and practical problems of accountability for human rights violations against migrants and refugees, she felt it was time to look at these problems in a broader frame, beyond the focus of her own work on EU Law and ECHR. As to the current and future challenges, she says more work  is required on strategic litigation on migration and asylum law. “Compared to other fields of human rights, there is no solid imperial literature on litigation of human rights of migrants and refugees,” she says.

All of the videos and podcasts related to the special GLJ issue can be found here.  

Costello and Çalı's paper, “Hard Protection through Soft Courts? Non-Refoulement before the United Nations Treaty Bodies” published on 8 April 2020 in the German Law Journal can be found here.

An article summarizing their paper can be found on the Hertie School website here

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