Name: Tutor: Course: Date: University: The Principle of Non-Refoulement at SEA and the Effectiveness of Asylum Protection The principle of non-refoulement was initially stated in Article 33(1) of the 1951 Geneva Convention concerning the Status of Refugees (1951 Refugee Convention)…
Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights grants the right of seeking and enjoying asylum from persecution in other countries (Thomas 2011, p. 71). The principle reflects the dedication of the international community to guarantee enjoyment of human rights to all persons, including the rights to life, inhuman punishment or treatment, freedom from torture, and security of person. These rights and other rights may be endangered upon returning a refugee to danger or persecution (Andreas 2011, p. 1109). The observance of the principle of non-refoulement relates to the determination of refugee status. Arrangements or procedures for refugee identification should offer a guarantee against refoulement by ensuring that individuals entitled to protection receive it. Such arrangements or procedures are vital when a country receives both migratory movements and asylum-seekers. Respect of this principle may be most effectively ensured if claims to asylum and to refugee status are determined expeditiously and substantively (Bimal 2003, p. 23). However, sea-borne migration is alleged as a problem or a hassle by destination countries despite the refugees in awful need of protection. In some cases, countries deny refugees through invoking security concerns to refuse protection and justify the removal or non-admittance of refugees. Arrivals through the sea of asylum-seekers challenge the interpretation and application of the principle of non-refoulment and the existing regulations related to liberty and the safety of navigation. During the Vietnam War, from 1950s to 1970s, there were arrivals of several Vietnamese irregular immigrants to the coasts of neighboring countries. While dealing with these arrivals, the international community noted there was a gap in the international law. The law had no effective and useful instruments to deal with immigrants at sea, particularly with the asylum-seekers (Agnes 2009, p. 204). The key problems that remain include the identification of the rights and duties of the concerned states in different marine zones. This is with exceptional regard to the organization and administration of search and rescue operations at sea (Agnes 2009, p. 206). Another essential issue has been the question of whether the resolutions of countries to refuse the entry permission into their territories are lawfully limited. This question occurred mainly in relation to the handling of refugees and asylum-seekers, especially among the immigrants, with regard to the principle of non-refoulment. The exercise of sovereign powers in the different marine zones, pursuant to the customary international law and law of the sea, present challenges in the application of the principle of non-refoulment and the protection of refugees and asylum-seekers at sea (Schmitt, McCormack & Louise 2011, p. 544). Article 21(1) of the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) provides that the sovereignty of a coastal country extends beyond its internal waters and land territory. The article also defines archipelagic waters of an archipelagic country as the territorial sea. This maritime zone cannot exceed 12 nautical miles. The only exception to the exclusive authorities of the coastal country in its territorial sea contains the right of innocent passage. The coastal state shall not hinder the innocent passage of foreign vessels through the territorial sea, but it may regulate the passage conditions in the fields listed in article 2(1). An example is inter alia, ...
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