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The right to seek asylum is continuously challenged by the fight against irregular migration.  In particular, the European Union and its Member States take measures to intercept boats on the sea in order to prevent irregular migration: patrols at sea, treaties with countries of origin or transit to readmit the concerned persons, agreements regarding the place of disembarkation ....  The problem comes from the fact that asylum seekers are travelling together with undocumented migrants, what is called "mixed flows".  Even if the applicability of the principle of non-refoulement is often reaffirmed, the way to implement it represents a real difficulty in such a context.This was the inaugural lecture of the Foundation Philippe Wiener - Maurice Anspach, given on 16 February 2011, at the Palais des Academies, Bruxelles.