Courts matter! Improving migration policy through ECtHR judgments

On 10 October 2018, EIN held a thematic briefing as a side-event to the autumn part session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Unlike the civil society briefings regularly organised by EIN in advance of the Committee of Ministers quarterly Human Rights meetings, the aim of the thematic briefings is to put a spotlight on implementation challenges related to serious cases where specific provisions of the ECHR are breached. The October 2018 briefing, organised jointly with the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), focused on implementation of judgments related to asylum and migration.

Recent PACE reports have documented alarming trends in the treatment of asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants across Europe. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has developed a rich body of case law in this field that could protect the rights of foreign nationals.  Yet, many of these judgments lack state enforcement or remain unimplemented. In the face of populism and rising anti-immigrant sentiment, a concerted effort is needed – involving, inter alia, governments, national parliaments, civil society, and Council of Europe entities – to ensure that asylum and migration policies are fully compliant with states’ obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

You can access the leaflet for the event here.

 The speakers of the side-event. Photo: Council of Europe (CoE) communication department.

The speakers of the side-event. Photo: Council of Europe (CoE) communication department.

The side-event brought together a range of actors to discuss the state of execution of key migration and asylum-related ECtHR judgments, and the additional measures that European states must take to ensure the protection of the human rights of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.

 Participants in the side-event. Photo: CoE Communication Department.

Participants in the side-event. Photo: CoE Communication Department.

 REDRESS Director Rupert Skilbeck. Photo: CoE Communication Department.

REDRESS Director Rupert Skilbeck. Photo: CoE Communication Department.

Rupert Skilbeck, Director of REDRESS, focused his presentation on the protection of refugees and migrants from violence by state agents, and challenges linked to the implementation of the Zontul v Greece case.



 Sophie Scheytt, Head of Advocacy at Sea-Watch Germany. Photo: CoE Communication Department.

Sophie Scheytt, Head of Advocacy at Sea-Watch Germany. Photo: CoE Communication Department.


In her intervention, “From push-backs to pull-backs?”, Sophie Scheytt, Head of Advocacy at Sea-Watch Germany, addressed the Italian authorities’ support for Libyan pull-back operations in the Mediterranean.



50964_017 1.jpg


Simon Cox, lawyer at the Open Society Justice Initiative, concluded the briefing to showcase how the Greek Government’s immigration policy impacts on forced labour of migrant farm workers.

 Evangelos Venizelos. Photo: CoE communication department.

Evangelos Venizelos. Photo: CoE communication department.

 Tineke Strik. Photo: CoE communication department.

Tineke Strik. Photo: CoE communication department.

EIN would like to thank PACE members Evangelos Venizelos, Tineke Strik and Petra De Sutter, who kindly agreed to co-sponsor the event.