Guardian of Human Rights and Agent of Change: The European Court of Human Rights’ Influence on the Asylum Policy of the European Union

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von Johanna Günther, M.A.

As the influx of refugees towards European countries continues to increase due to violent regional conflicts and as a consequence of the Arab Spring as well as the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, the question of how to handle matters, such as the accommodation, administration and placement of these people, becomes more and more pressing. These issues – while essentially being a sensitive area of individual nation-states’ sovereignty – have increasingly also become a European problem. Since the beginning of the 1990’s, European integration in the area of asylum policy has continuously advanced. The structure, norms and objectives of the so-called Common European Asylum System (CEAS) have continuously drawn criticism – not least, from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) which has undertaken numerous court proceedings regarding fundamental rights violations in this context.

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