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Ensuring access to asylum for refugees and asylum seekers at the external border of the EU

case study of the Bulgarian-Turkish border

Rechten:

Ensuring access to asylum for refugees and asylum seekers at the external border of the EU

case study of the Bulgarian-Turkish border

Rechten:

Samenvatting

The main purpose of this dissertation is to analyze the position of Bulgaria regarding the right to asylum for refugees and protection seekers at its Southern border. In addition, the aim of the research is to outline better policy alternatives on national and European level to readdress the issue and the security concerns. Firstly, the paper aims to present the main theory and to define non-refoulement and collective expulsions. The main discourse among scholars about the scope of these principles is also highlighted. Secondly, this paper seeks to present the specifics about the Bulgarian situation. The final objective is to examine how Bulgarian authorities can improve their position towards asylum seekers and to recommend feasible policies. To conclude, the paper‟s objective is to analyze if and how the right of asylum is violated by the Bulgarian authorities and how to better safeguard it in the future. In this study two qualitative research methods were used. Desk research was used for the preliminary findings. The paper mostly relies on academic articles from the Peace Palace library with the biggest collection of law journals and on reports of the biggest human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Additionally, both Bulgarian and Turkish organizations were examined for relevant information. Also, three interviews were conducted to collect primary data and to elaborate on the findings from the desk research. The interviews were held with representatives from the Bulgarian Centre for Legal Aid „Voice in Bulgaria‟, the ECRE and the UNHCR. To sum up, qualitative methods were used for both the primary and secondary data. My study shows that Bulgaria breaches both the European law as well as the Geneva Convention on Refugees and its Protocol mainly when the national authorities forcibly return or expel asylum seekers. Due to the externalization principle and the ECtHR decisions, the Bulgarian border guards should protect the rights of the asylum seekers even on a Turkish territory. Policy changes should readdress the situation and look at alternatives such as: proper training of the border police in collaboration with Frontex. Additionally, Bulgaria has to ensure legal avenues for refugees to seek protection such as issuing humanitarian visas. Other policy alternatives include intra-EU relocation and resettlement mechanisms although their implementation is difficult to achieve. Finally, although Bulgaria violates the right to asylum by returning refugees back to Turkey, there are several alternatives to be pursued.
Finally, the main recommendation to readdress the issue is to carry out further research. A follow-up report with financial analysis of every alternative should be conducted and the total number of asylum seekers covered by every policy option should be calculated. Finally, methods to overcome the shortcomings of the proposed alternatives also need further examination.

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OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
AfdelingMO Europese Studies / European Studies
Jaar2015
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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