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INTERPOL, refugees, and Red Notices


INTERPOL, refugees, and Red Notices

This May, INTERPOL announced its new policy on its treatment of Red Notice subjects with refugee status.  The policy is addressed in detail here by Fair Trials International.  Fair Trials and the Open Dialogue Foundation are among the organizations that have advocated for reform of INTERPOL’s policies regarding those individuals who have been granted refugee status, but who are also listed as wanted subjects in INTERPOL’s databases.

In May, INTERPOL had not yet publicized the manner in which its policy would be implemented.  Now, however, the organization has provided some level of detail as to how refugee cases will be processed.  For example, INTERPOL has provided the generally applicable guidelines indicating that the processing of Red Notices and diffusions against refugees will not be allowed if:

  • the status of refugee or asylum-seeker has been confirmed;
  • the notice or diffusion has been requested by the country where the individual fears prosecution;
  • the granting of the refugee status is not based on political grounds in relation to the requesting country.

INTERPOL advises that the objective of the new policy is

“to support member countries in preventing criminals from abusing refugee status, while providing adequate and effective safeguards to protect the rights of refugees, as guaranteed under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and other applicable conventions.”

Naturally, it will take time to see how the policy is implemented in practice, and it may be anticipated that the policy takes on nuances over time. For now, however, the implementation of the policy and the fact that there are guidelines in place for its use are both favorable facts for refugees who have been immobilized based on their status as Red Notice subjects.

Also, many thanks to Fair Trials and Open Dialogue for their continued efforts toward achieving due process for criminally accused individuals.  INTERPOL is also to be commended for its willingness to study this important issue and to take action to make changes where needed.

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