Guidance on how to reduce the risk of refoulement in external border management when working in or together with third countries

EU Member States are increasingly involved in border management activities on the high seas, within – or in cooperation with – third countries, and at the EU’s borders. Such activities entail risks of violating the principle of non-refoulement, the cornerstone of the international legal regime for the protection of refugees, which prohibits returning individuals to a risk of persecution. This guidance outlines specific suggestions on how to reduce the risk of refoulement in these situations – a practical tool developed with the input of experts during a meeting held in Vienna in March of 2016.

This guidance on how to reduce the risk of refoulement in border management situations aims to support the EU and its Member States when implementing integrated border management measures with the assistance of third countries. It also intends to mitigate possible risks of being held accountable. It is not comprehensive, and Member States have to comply with all applicable obligations both within as well as beyond the scope of these guidelines, including those set forth in international, European and national law.