Special Issue "Migration and Human Rights"

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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 | E-Mail
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

Submission

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.

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Keywords

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

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Migratory Policy as an Exclusionary Tool: The Case of Haitians in the Dominican Republic
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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Abstract
This article examines major changes in the migratory policy of the Dominican Republic over the last decade, and how they possibly relate to the consolidation of racist perceptions of the Other, prevalent since the Haitian and Dominican independence wars in the early 19th
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This article examines major changes in the migratory policy of the Dominican Republic over the last decade, and how they possibly relate to the consolidation of racist perceptions of the Other, prevalent since the Haitian and Dominican independence wars in the early 19th century. Generally focusing on the intersection of politics, exclusion, and Otherness, the paper takes a multidisciplinary approach fundamentally focused on the juridical and legislative processes, whenever the rule of law is presented as a legitimizing vehicle through which racism is expressed. Considering the conceptual usefulness of migration as a threat, the article problematizes cultural and biologic understandings of Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic, and their legislative reduction to ‘bare life’. It finally examines the convenience of Haitian lives for the Dominican State, conditioned by de facto and de jure processes of exclusion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)
Open AccessArticle Migration and Freedom of Movement of Workers: EU Law, Crisis and the Cypriot States of Exception
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
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Abstract
This paper examines the authoritarian immigration policy of the Republic of Cyprus (RoC), which often results in the denial of the rights of migrants, TCNs, and EUNs. It examines how the mode of immigration control is connected to the particular state of exception
[...] Read more.
This paper examines the authoritarian immigration policy of the Republic of Cyprus (RoC), which often results in the denial of the rights of migrants, TCNs, and EUNs. It examines how the mode of immigration control is connected to the particular state of exception in Cyprus known as ‘the doctrine of necessity’. It focuses particularly the issue of criminalizing, detention and expulsion of migrants, both TCNs and EUNs and the denial of residency rights for TCNs. The paper introduces the basic components towards an analytical frame for understanding and critiquing the current legal framework. Repressive migration control is a manifestation of an ill-construed conception of ‘sovereignty’ in a divided country, which the State seeks to justify on the grounds of ‘necessity’ and ‘exception’. In addition, the RoC is currently facing the banking/economic crisis and mass unemployment, which has provided a fertile ground for racism and xenophobia. The paper concludes with some ideas about the alternative policies ahead. Important for this paper are the current global and European debates around the ‘states of exception’, ‘emergency’, ‘necessity’, and ‘sovereignty’ in the context of the dissensus or fundamental disagreement over the issue migration and the racialization of subaltern migrants. The case of Cyprus is discussed, in part as an exception, but also as a particular instance of a broader global and European issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)
Open AccessArticle There is Something about Marrying… The Case of Human Rights vs. Migration Regimes using the Example of Austria
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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Abstract
States pursue various juridical strategies to prevent ‘marriages of convenience’ seen as undermining tightening migration regimes. This article examines how Austrian Alien Law constitutes entering into such a marriage as a criminal offense and looks at the legal proceedings in district courts in
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States pursue various juridical strategies to prevent ‘marriages of convenience’ seen as undermining tightening migration regimes. This article examines how Austrian Alien Law constitutes entering into such a marriage as a criminal offense and looks at the legal proceedings in district courts in Vienna where most cases of alleged ‘marriages of convenience’ are being dealt with. It also studies the work of the Viennese branch of alien police investigating into this offense. These practices are often in conflict with Article 8 and 12 of the European Convention of Human Rights, granting the right to respect for private and family life and the right to marry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)
Open AccessArticle Millennium Development Goals and the Protection of Displaced and Refugee Women and Girls
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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Abstract
The international protection regime of refugee, stateless and displaced women and girls has significant deficiencies. As refugees and displaced persons, women and girls experience unique challenges. They suffer abuse disproportionately as women through rape, human trafficking, and female genital mutilation. Women and girl
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The international protection regime of refugee, stateless and displaced women and girls has significant deficiencies. As refugees and displaced persons, women and girls experience unique challenges. They suffer abuse disproportionately as women through rape, human trafficking, and female genital mutilation. Women and girl refugees face greater challenges and risks to safety at every stage of displacement: in refugee camps, in urban spaces, in transit to safe haven, and in the process of obtaining legal status. They are frequently at the mercy of male family members in making claims to refugee and asylum status, as females are often unable to obtain necessary documentation and navigate barriers to the asylum process that uniquely disfavor women’s claims. This paper argues that the UN must expand the scope of the Millennium Development Goals to specifically include state responsibility towards refugees and displaced persons in their territories, without regard to their legal status. Until the international regime designed to protect refugees and displaced persons closes the gaps in addressing female refugees and displaced persons’ unique vulnerabilities, the UN’s Millennium Development Goals should be reoriented to include state responsibility to meet these deficiencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)
Open AccessArticle Tunisian Migrant Journeys: Human Rights Concerns for Tunisians Arriving by Sea
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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Abstract
In part due to its location on the North African coast, in conjunction with its history of being a former French protectorate, Tunisia has become an important country of emigration to the European Union. In particular, maritime arrivals have become a concern for
[...] Read more.
In part due to its location on the North African coast, in conjunction with its history of being a former French protectorate, Tunisia has become an important country of emigration to the European Union. In particular, maritime arrivals have become a concern for European states, for both humanitarian and security reasons. The experiences of Tunisian irregular migrants arriving to the EU by sea, who are then detained and returned, highlights the multitude of human rights issues that arise across their journey as they interact with the various stakeholders involved—Tunisian and Libyan smugglers, EU and Tunisian authorities and NGOs, amongst others. The situation for these migrants at sea and during rescue and interception operations can most directly involve such issues as the right to life, access to food and water, access to emergency healthcare and access to information. The next stages of detention and return (either immediately or when later identified on EU territory) can most directly involve human rights issues related to the identification and referral mechanisms for groups at risk, access to information and legal remedy, the right of “non-refoulement” and prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment. By examining Tunisian migrant experiences along the entirety of their trajectory, one can see the specific human rights issues that arise at each stage for maritime arrivals—from departure to return. The article will examine these human rights concerns in the context of the Tunisian migrant journey, focusing on the four identified stages of the situation at sea, rescue or interception, detention and return. The article will present results from qualitative in-depth interviews conducted for the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in 2011 with 15 Tunisian migrants who had arrived by sea to Italy between 2005 and 2011 and were returned to Tunisia between 2008 and 2011, complemented by interviews with two Tunisian fishermen and an anonymous Tunisian non-governmental stakeholder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)
Open AccessArticle The Enemy at the Gates: International Borders, Migration and Human Rights
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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Abstract
This article considers contemporary border management regimes from a human rights perspective. It demonstrates how a preoccupation with border controls and enforcement has led to serious concerns for the safety and protection of migrants. As border zones have expanded, border crossing has become
[...] Read more.
This article considers contemporary border management regimes from a human rights perspective. It demonstrates how a preoccupation with border controls and enforcement has led to serious concerns for the safety and protection of migrants. As border zones have expanded, border crossing has become a more stigmatized and dangerous activity, and even as globalization has given rise to easier and faster international travel, for some, such movement has been outlawed and stigmatized. Measures to strengthen and “secure” borders have paradoxically made migrants, particularly irregular and vulnerable migrants, more at risk of violence and exploitation by non-State and State actors. Migration governance regimes at international borders are thus increasingly located within security and enforcement frameworks that pay little attention to the principles and standards of international human rights law. The paper argues that a human rights-based approach to such regimes is urgently needed, in order to address a growing human rights crisis at international borders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)

Other

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Open AccessDiscussion Prevention and Punishment: Barriers to Accessing Health Services for Undocumented Immigrants in the United States
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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Abstract
Undocumented immigrants face significant challenges in accessing health care. Throughout the United States, these challenges may relate to the structure of the public health system in which the undocumented find themselves. In addition, local, regional, and national practices aimed at targeting immigrants for
[...] Read more.
Undocumented immigrants face significant challenges in accessing health care. Throughout the United States, these challenges may relate to the structure of the public health system in which the undocumented find themselves. In addition, local, regional, and national practices aimed at targeting immigrants for deportation or other non-health reasons may serve to punish them for seeking health services or care. Spain and the United Kingdom serve as useful case studies in comparing the ability of the undocumented to seek health services in Europe and the United States. Overall, promoting access to comprehensive health services for the undocumented should be a national priority, along with analysis of any immigration-related laws or policies for potential harmful impact on health care access. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration and Human Rights)

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.

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