Newcastle Law School

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Dr Gil-Bazo’s Contribution to the European Court of Human Rights Cited in ECHR Test Case on Walls Preventing Migrant Access to EU Territory

On 3rd October 2017 the European Court of Human Rights issued its judgment in the cases of N.D. and N.T. v. Spain. The case concerned the immediate return to Morocco of sub-Saharan migrants who were attempting to enter Spanish territory through the Spanish-Moroccan border in Melilla.

The Court confirmed that this amounted to a collective expulsion of foreign nationals, in breach of the ECHR. In making its findings, the Court relied on third-party interventions, including the legal analysis presented by a coalition of NGOs (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe (the AIRE Centre), Amnesty International (AI), the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)) with Dr Gil-Bazo’s contribution.

This is a long-awaited case which will have impact across Europe as EU Member States have been building walls to prevent physical access to their territories and thus to prevent the application of the full system of human rights safeguards in the ECHR, EU Asylum Law (including the Charter of Fundamental Rights) and their own constitutional bills of rights. Dr Gil-Bazo has long conducted research on the practice of EU Member States in this area, which has fed into policy discussions. Most recently, she presented her research findings before the United Nations as part of the process leading to the adoption of a UN Global Compact on Migration in 2018.

Dr Gil-Bazo has been invited by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to Participate in a series of thematic discussions leading to the adoption of the UN Global Compact on Refugees in 2018, and her research on the practice of Spain in relation to third countries, included Morocco, has been published by UNHCR as reference material in this process.

published on: 4 October 2017