Introduction: European refugee law and transnational emulation
Europe has the most advanced regional protection regime in the world. The regime has taken shape through a series of legal undertakings on asylum, refugee law principles and human rights between Member States of the European Union (EU), aiming at an ever-greater uniformity in the law and practice of its members. The EU sought to codify a common regional system of asylum by 2012, in order to provide a single asylum procedure and a uniform protection status. A regime covering twenty-four countries, including some of the most developed and powerful in the world, is bound to exert considerable influence beyond Europe. The predicted impact of this body of EU norms has been widely identified in the academic literature as one that will have a 'ripple effect' beyond the EU, particularly with respect to the evolving content of international refugee law by means of changing customary law and UNHCR practice. However, very few studies have noted the fact that the European protection regime has already influenced the law and practice of States around the world, for some time. The implications of this are great, in terms of understanding the global reach of regional systems of law, and how this shapes the relationship between international rules and standards, and national law and practice across the world when it comes to refugee protection. This volume explores the extent to which European (or EU) legal norms of refugee protection have been emulated in other parts of the world, and assesses the implications of these trends. At times, the norms may not have had much discernible influence. This, too, is of interest. The aim of this volume is therefore more evaluative than speculative. We believe that now is a good time to take stock and assess the influence of European refugee law beyond the EU. This is because the first phase of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) legislation (which codifies over twenty years of State practice) has concluded, and it is therefore a useful point in time to look both backwards and forwards. Thus, the volume examines how the European protection regime has (or has not) influenced national refugee law and protection practice in a range of States around the world.