Study on the exchange of information between European countries regarding persons excluded from refugee status in accordance with Article 1F Refugee Convention

What exchange of information on the application of exclusion 1F takes place currently ? Is it desirable and feasible to enhance international information exchange in this matter? This study answers these questions.

This study answers these questions as follows:

What exchange of information on the application of exclusion 1F takes place currently?

The authors conclude that information exchange on a national level is generally well organized but it is much more limited internationally. Immigration authorities hardly ever share information about 1F-excluded individuals with foreign law enforcement actors. Information exchange with foreign counterparts is also unusual. Compared to the immigration authorities, law enforcement and prosecution services have a more established practice of exchanging information.

Is enhanced international information exchange between immigration authorities desirable ?

The majority of respondents are in favour of enhanced information exchange to promote better informed decision-making, to possibly identify those who pose a risk to national security and to help prosecute perpetrators of international crimes. A limited number of respondents question the need for enhanced information exchange, given the need to balance the scale and nature of problems stemming from a current lack of information exchange and the costs of implementing changes or developing a system to enchance information exchange.

Is enhanced international information exchange between immigration authorities feasible ?

Four issues are brought forward that should be taken into account in this regard: (1) there is no  consistent European approach to Article 1F, (2) information stemming from asylum procedures should in principle be treated confidentially, (3) the principle of purpose limitation poses limits and (4) questions need to be addressed as to what information should be shared, when and with what number and types of actors.

The study identifies possible ways in which the exchange of information on 1F exclusion could be enhanced, including using existing modalities available through SIS II and creating a European Exclusion Network. These developments would however generate several challenges to overcome.

Finally, although enhanced international information exchange between immigration authorities could lead to the identification of more 1F-excluded individuals who cross European borders, that would not solve the problem of European countries dealing with non-removable 1F-excluded individuals. It is therefore necessary to shape a consistent post-exclusion policy.

This research was commissioned by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). Two ad hoc queries were circulated through the EMN to obtain information.

Authors: Maarten Bolhuis and Joris van Wijk, researchers at the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, Faculty of Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Publication Date:
Mon 04 Jan 2016
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