Covid-19, Border Closures, and International Law
5 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 28, 2020
Covid-19 pays no heed to borders. Globalisation has carried the virus from a market in Wuhan, China, to almost every country in the world. In response to the virus, some governments have closed their borders to refugees and/or have pushed back refugees from their territories, even though they are well-aware of the dire circumstances that have caused these people to flee their homes. This reflection sets out the compatibility of such practices with international refugee and human rights law. It argues that while states may put in place measures to restrict the spread of the virus (such as health screening, testing, and/or quarantine) vis a vis refugees, such measures may not result in refoulement or in denying them an effective opportunity to seek asylum.
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