orway is a country with one of the highest numbers of readmission agreements in Europe, concluded with a view to ‘combat’ irregular migration and to facilitate return procedures. Despite the widespread perception that such agreements in a sense are human rights ‘neutral’, this article takes as starting point that the return of irregular migrants is one of the most vexed aspects of migration management, raising not only questions of cooperation between states, but also issues of the protection, safety and dignity of migrants. This article is the first to explore the extent to which Norway’s more than 30 readmission agreements take an international human rights law approach. It analyses their scope of application; their specific and general human rights commitments; and issues linked to the return of specific groups of persons. It finds that there are considerable differences between Norway’s readmission agreements when it comes to human rights protection, and that even seemingly subtle differences can have important human rights implications. It argues for an overall stronger human rights focus in the drafting and implementation of readmission agreements, and suggests ways in which future agreements be designed with a view to better achieving human rights in practice.
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