Carrier Sanctions and the Conflicting Legal Obligations of Carriers: Addressing Human Rights Leakage

Theodore Baird, Thomas Spijkerboer


Carrier sanctions, by which transport companies are penalised if they do not refuse embarkation to undocumented persons, play a role in perpetuating harms (denial of refugee protection; death) against migrants. They do so because transport companies are obliged to, by legislation of destination states inEurope, North America and Australia. The potential accountability and responsibility of carriers for these harms has not been addressed in literature on human rights law. This article fills this gap through the application of Iris Young’s social connection model to address the contemporary harms of carrier sanctions. We propose that, faced with conflicting legal obligations, carriers have moral andlegal obligations to remedy, through strategic actions, the harms to which they contribute. We outline a number of possible practices that carriers can use to do so.


Carrier sanctions; human rights leakage; Iris Marion Young; accountability; migration law

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Copyright (c) 2019 Theodore Baird, Thomas Spijkerboer

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