Extraterritorial human rights obligations to protect refugees

17 September 2015

It took quite a while before the European countries realized and recognized that the influx from asylum-seekers via the Mediterranean Sea and Turkey into the European Union is not just a matter of controlling the outside borders of the Union, but also a humanitarian and human rights issue. Some European member states, such as Hungary, blocked borders to prevent asylum-seekers from entering. The government of Denmark has advertised in newspapers in Lebanon to discourage refugees from Syria to come to Denmark.

Fons Coomans

Prof Fons Coomans holds the UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Peace at the Department of International and European Law at the Faculty of Law, Maastricht University. He is the Director of the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights, and a member of the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research. His fields of research include the international protection of economic, social and cultural rights, the right to education, health and food in particular, the extraterritorial scope of human rights law, and international supervisory mechanisms in the field of human rights. He teaches Master courses on international human rights law and on human development and human rights at the Faculty of Law of Maastricht University. He is a founding member of the Consortium on Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations and member of the Dutch Section of the International Commission of Jurists (NJCM). He is also a visiting professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is an advisor to Food First Information Action Network (FIAN) and the Right to Education Initiative and a consultant for UNESCO. Since 2017 he is a founding member of the Human Rights of Future Generations Initiative.

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