Special Issue "Migration and Human Rights"


A special issue of Laws (ISSN 2075-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 March 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. François Crépeau
Faculty of Law, McGill University, #606, New Chancellor Day Hall, 3644 Peel Street, Montreal QC H3A 1W9, Canada
Website: http://oppenheimer.mcgill.ca/Francois-Crepeau
Interests: migration control mechanisms; the rights of foreigners; the conceptualization of security as it applies to migrants; the Rule of Law in the face of globalization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Migration is an extremely complex phenomenon, generally oversimplified in the media-degradable discourse. Some categories of migrants are highly praised: the rich and the educated migrants who can create wealth. In some countries, a “golden legend” of past migration and social mobility allows for the celebration of multiculturalism or diversity. In certain countries, migrants may have access to citizenship.

But most migrants today do not benefit from such positive appraisal: they either live under a vulnerable legal status (such as that of temporary migrant worker, live-in care-giver, agricultural worker...) or they are in an irregular situation. Migrants play no part in the polity of the host country and rarely protest. Populist anti-immigration discourses abound, initiated by far-right movements, but passively endorsed by most mainstream parties. The language used to describe migrants is often indeterminate, liquid (flows, flux, trickling, waves, tsunamis, invasion, containment, etc.), implying that migrants are a threatening mass devoid of individual personalities. Migration is increasingly portrayed as a “risk” or a “threat”, linked to insecurity, criminality or terrorism. This plays a major role in “identity politics”, thus justifying reinvesting in borders as well as the arrest, detention, ill-treatment and refoulement of too many migrants.

At best, migrants are presented as fulfilling economic needs: migrant workers should be thankful for the opportunity they are offered and should return “home” when their services are not needed any more. Employers of undocumented migrants are rarely sanctioned for the exploitation that makes their business competitive. Intuitively, citizens often accept as “normal” the discrimination suffered by migrants, as if in effect human rights were citizen’s rights. Migrants are thus often victims of human rights violations.

Yet, in international law and in many constitutional orders, migrants have rights. They are individual human beings and actually enjoy in the host country all the rights provided for in the International Bill of Rights, except for two (the right to vote and be elected, and the right to enter and stay on the territory). They even have the right to equality and non-discrimination, which means that any distinction, based on their nationality or residence, must be justified by the authorities as compatible with the principles of a free and democratic society. In recent years, courts, generally free from electoral pressure, have often been a cautious but powerful line of defense for migrants’ rights, against encroachments by the executive or legislative powers.

How can we reconcile recurring political discourses on migration with the formal legal entitlements of migrants, and how can we make the latter more effective? This is the subject of the present special issue.

Prof. Dr. François Crépeau
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Laws is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • migrants’ rights
  • migration
  • human rights
  • discrimination
  • irregular migrants
  • vulnerable migrants
  • undocumented migrants
  • temporary migrant workers

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Displaying article 1-7
p. 163-178
by  and
Laws 2014, 3(1), 163-178; doi:10.3390/laws3010163
Received: 23 December 2013 / Revised: 27 January 2014 / Accepted: 28 January 2014 / Published: 24 February 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)
p. 50-60
by ,  and
Laws 2014, 3(1), 50-60; doi:10.3390/laws3010050
Received: 17 October 2013 / Revised: 21 December 2013 / Accepted: 6 January 2014 / Published: 21 January 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)
p. 440-468
Laws 2013, 2(4), 440-468; doi:10.3390/laws2040440
Received: 20 August 2013 / Revised: 25 October 2013 / Accepted: 30 October 2013 / Published: 13 November 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (283 KB)
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)
p. 376-391
Laws 2013, 2(4), 376-391; doi:10.3390/laws2040376
Received: 9 August 2013 / Revised: 7 September 2013 / Accepted: 24 September 2013 / Published: 30 September 2013
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)
p. 283-313
Laws 2013, 2(3), 283-313; doi:10.3390/laws2030283
Received: 1 July 2013 / Revised: 6 August 2013 / Accepted: 19 August 2013 / Published: 4 September 2013
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)
p. 187-209
Laws 2013, 2(3), 187-209; doi:10.3390/laws2030187
Received: 10 April 2013 / Revised: 26 May 2013 / Accepted: 13 June 2013 / Published: 6 August 2013
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)
p. 169-186
by  and
Laws 2013, 2(3), 169-186; doi:10.3390/laws2030169
Received: 21 May 2013 / Revised: 24 July 2013 / Accepted: 24 July 2013 / Published: 31 July 2013
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: ‘So Hedge therefore, Who Join Forever’. State, Control, and Marriage of convenience
Author: Irene Messinger
Affiliation: Austria; email: irene.messinger@univie.ac.at
Abstract: Austrian Alien Police Law constitutes entering a 'marriage of convenience' a criminal offence. This article examines the discourses among state actors and how the juridical strategies work to prevent ‘marriages of convenience’. It also studies the effects these discourses have on the Viennese branch of alien police when investigating into alleged 'marriages of convenience'. Furthermore, it looks at the legal proceedings in district courts in Vienna. These practices are often in conflict with Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights which grants the right to respect for private and family life.

Last update: 29 November 2012

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