Research: Article 2 of the Windsor Framework and the rights of refugees and persons seeking asylum
This paper was written by Alison Harvey BL for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.
Have the rights of persons seeking international protection been diminished by the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union? What are the risks that they will they be (further) diminished? What, if anything, does Article 2 of what was the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland to the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and is now the Windsor Framework, have to offer to them and to those seeking to protect them?
The second part of this paper provides an overview of the relevant provisions of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and of Article 2 of the Windsor Framework. It examines the scope of the rights protected and explains that refugees and persons seeking international protection form part of the cohort protected by these instruments. The third part of this paper sets out the framework for the enforcement of, and promotion of respect for, the rights protected in Northern Ireland. The fourth part looks at how to identify whether, and if so to what extent, Article 2 of the Windsor Framework is engaged. The fifth part examines the rights protected under Common European Asylum System and identifies those to which the UK opted in. The impact of Brexit on the law on international protection in the UK is addressed in the sixth part.
The Windsor Framework was formerly known as the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland on Ireland/Northern Ireland to the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community. All references to the Protocol in this document have been updated to reflect the revised nomenclature (see Decision No 1/2023 of the Joint Committee established by the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community of 24 March 2023 laying down arrangements relating to the Windsor Framework).
The seventh, and final, part of the paper uses the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, the Temporary Protection Directive, and the Illegal Migration Act 2023 to illustrate the factors that must be taken into consideration when seeking to determine whether there has been a diminution of rights protected by the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, contrary to Article 2 of the Windsor Framework.
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has provided a briefing note highlighting key points in Alison Harvey’s research paper and provides the NIHRC positions. To read the briefing note please click on the graphic below.