Responsibility Sharing or Shifting? "Safe" Third Countries and International Law


  • Michelle Foster Melbourne Law School



international law, refugee law, protection elsewhere policies, safe third country, refugee claimants, Refugee Convention


This article assesses the legality at international law of “protection elsewhere” policies, that is, policies whereby responsibility for refugees is transferred between states such as in the US-Canada Safe Third Country Agreement. An analysis of the operation of such policies in Europe, Australia, and North America raises serious concerns about the ability of such schemes to uphold their aims and objectives in conformity with international law. The paper concludes by recommending that states reconsider the utility and legality of such schemes with a view to developing policies that genuinely address the need for responsibility sharing.


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How to Cite

Foster, M. (2008). Responsibility Sharing or Shifting? "Safe" Third Countries and International Law. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 25(2), 64–78.

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