Workshop: "Advancing Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations in Migration" (ETHRO)

One-day Strategizing Workshop for academic researchers and civil society experts to exchange ideas on ETHROs and push the development of existing arguments and strategies.

The phenomenon of migration has a unique link with the question of extraterritorial human rights obligations (ETHROs). Increasingly this extraterritoriality has become embedded in the design of legal frameworks as well as migration management and control policies. Some of the most recent examples are the EU-Turkey Statement, the UK-Rwanda Asylum Scheme, the EU-Libya cooperation on search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, the memorandum of understanding between the EU and Tunesia or the Italy-Albania Protocol for cooperation in migration management. The legitimacy of these policies is inextricably intertwined with the issue of States’ extraterritorial obligations for migrants’ and refugees’ human rights. 


Date: 12 January 2024

Location: Faculty of Law and Criminology, Ghent University, Voldersstraat 3, 9000 Ghent

Room: Faculty Board Room

Duration: 9h - 16h30

Registration: register here


9:00 - 9:15

Welcome with coffee & tea

9:15 - 10:15

Introduction - Prof. dr. Ellen Desmet (UGent)

State of the art: Extraterritorial human rights obligations in migration

  • The 'Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations in Practice' scientific research network and migration - Prof. dr. Stefaan Smis (VUB)
  • Litigation practices and European and UN case-law - Ms. Hanaa Hakiki (ECCHR)

10:15 - 12:25

Panel 1 - chair dr. Ruben Wissing (UGent)

Jurisdictional Hooks: Drawing inspiration from other fields of law for potential attribution criteria of ETHROs in migration contexts

Guiding Questions: 

Do states have ETOs towards migrants, following from specific fields of law? 

To what extent could migration law draw inspiration from those fields of law, to advance extraterritorial (human rights) obligations of states towards migrants? 

12:25 - 13:30


13:30 - 15:00

Panel 2 - chair Ms. Birte Schorpion (UGent, DRC)

The way forward: Strategies to ensure accountability for ETHROs in migration

Guiding Questions: 

What have been successful strategies in the past to advance ETHROs for migrants (in particular based on your personal experience)? 

What are opportunities for academics, civil society and lawyers to further advance collaboration on this topic?

15:30 - 16:30


Recapitulation of the day's interventions so far - dr. Elif Durmus (UA)

How to move forward in ensuring ETHROs of states towards migrants are effective? - All participants

16:30  Wrap-up and closing - Prof. dr. Wouter Vandenhole (UAntwerpen)


The “Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations in Practice” Scientific Research Network is led by University of Antwerpen (Wouter Vandenhole) in partnership with Free University Brussels (Stefaan Smis), Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Markus Krajewski), University of North Carolina Asheville (Mark Gibney) and Ghent University, and with the financial support of the Flanders Research Foundation (FWO). 


dr. Ruben Wissing, UGent