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A Practitioners' Handbook on the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and EU and Member States' Commitments under the UN Global Compact on Refugees and the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Elspeth Guild; Kathryn Allinson; Nicolette Busuttil; Maja Grundler

European Union (EU) asylum law can only be understood, and must be interpreted in the context of, existing international commitments on refugees, migrants and human rights. These commitments are manifold and distributed among a range of international legal instruments, jurisprudence and policy guidance. In 2018, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly (UNGA) adopted two instruments, which, although non-binding themselves, unite binding international law and best practice standards related to migrants on the one hand and refugees on the other: the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The Compacts articulate and contextualise the full range of human rights that refugees and migrants are entitled to. In so doing, they provide a framework for states, and the EU, to better realise these rights and fundamental principles through the implementation and interpretation of primary and secondary laws.

This Handbook is concerned with the interaction between EU asylum law and the Global Compacts (GCs). It is based on work conducted for the PROTECT Project, which studies the legal potential and impacts of the GCR and the GCM on the functioning of the international refugee protection system. The Handbook identifies the gaps and synergies between the two GCs and the EU legal framework, primarily the instruments that form the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). Its identification of CEAS provisions that fulfil the Compacts’ requirements or diverge therefrom will enable our readers to better understand the relationship between the two regimes. First, the identification of Compact-compliant CEAS provisions can provide the ‘anchor’ required for the Compacts to be used and cited for their interpretive value by courts in understanding the content of existing obligations. Practitioners can draw upon this Handbook to highlight how the Compacts can augment the protective scope of corresponding CEAS provisions, as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Second, identifying gaps or inconsistencies between the Compacts and CEAS provisions highlights areas that require further action, such as law or policy change.

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