The end of the right to seek asylum? : COVID-19 and the future of refugee protection

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the institution of asylum, exacerbating longer term trends limiting the ability of asylum seekers to cross-borders to seek protection. As a result, the early months of 2020 saw an effective extinguishment of the right to seek asylum. This working paper examines how this played out in Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States. National and regional responses varied, with Australia and the United States effectively ending asylum seeking. In Europe, some states upheld the right to seek asylum by exempting asylum seekers from general border closures, while other countries used the crisis to suspend the right to seek asylum. Finally, this working paper explores strategies for restoring and protecting the right to seek asylum beyond the pandemic.

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