Another brick in the wall? Neo-refoulement & the externalisation of asylum in Europe & Australia

Insecurity and fear in the global North produce political space to advance security measures, including the externalization of asylum. States in the global North make it increasingly difficult for asylum seekers to reach sovereign territory where they might make a refugee claim. While legal protection remains intact under the Refugee Convention, extra-legal measures employ geography to restrict access to asylum and keep claimants at bay through a variety of tactics. This article probes the ways in which fear of uninvited asylum seekers is securitized and looks at the tactics utilized to keep them at bay, far from the borders of states that are signatories to the UN Refugee Convention. Drawing on research in Europe and Australia, we demonstrate how states are promoting ‘protection in regions of origin’ through practices of de facto neo-refoulement. Neo-refoulement refers to a geographically based strategy of preventing asylum by restricting access to territories that, in principle, provide protection to refugees.

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