Interception and Asylum: When Migration Control and Human Rights Collide


  • Andrew Brouwer Canadian Council for Refugees
  • Judith Kumin Carleton University



interception, irregular migration, asylum, refugee protection, law, human rights


Preoccupied with sovereign control of access to their territories, states are devoting increasing energy and resources to intercepting and turning back migrants before they arrive at their borders. Interception measures, however, rarely include adequate procedures to distinguish those who need protection from those who do not. As a result, desperate people are left with no option but to resort to ever more dangerous and disruptive methods of migration. This article surveys the main types of interception measures and their effects, and examines the international refugee and human rights law issues raised by these practices. It then reviews recent developments at the level of UNHCR’s Executive Committee with regard to interception and concludes with some suggestions for building compliance with principles of refugee protection in the context of interception measures.


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How to Cite

Brouwer, A., & Kumin, J. (2003). Interception and Asylum: When Migration Control and Human Rights Collide. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 21(4), 6–24.

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