Refugees increasingly encounter laws and policies which provide that their protection needs will be considered or addressed somewhere other than in the territory of the state where they have sought, or intend to seek, protection. Such policies-including "country of first arrival," "safe third country," and extraterritorial processing rules and practices-raise both opportunities and challenges for international refugee law. They have the potential to respond to the Refugee Convention's concern "that the grant of asylum may place unduly heavy burdens on certain countries" by more fairly allocating protection responsibilities among states. But insistence that protection be provided elsewhere may also result in the denial to refugees of their rights under the Refugee Convention and international law more generally. The challenge is to identify the ways in which the protection regime may be made more flexible without compromising the entitlements of refugees. To this end, we have engaged in sustained collaborative study and reflection on the legal basis of protection elsewhere policies. Research conducted by the University of Melbourne's Research Programme in International Refugee Law was debated and refined at the Fourth Colloquium on Challenges in International Refugee Law, convened in November 2006 by the University of Michigan's Program in Refugee and Asylum Law. These Guidelines are the product of that endeavor. They reflect the consensus of Colloquium participants on the minimum international legal requirements for valid protection elsewhere policies, as well as our views on the procedures by which international legal obligations may reliably be fulfilled in the implementation of such policies.
Colloquium on Challenges in International Refugee Law. "The Michigan Guidelines on Protection Elsewhere." Mich. J. Int'l L. 28, no. 2 (2007): 207-21.