Refugees and the Myth of Human Rights: Life Outside the Pale of the Law

Emma Larking

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    Most Western liberal democracies are parties to the United Nations Refugees Convention and all are committed to the recognition of basic human rights, but they also spend billions fortifying their borders, detaining unauthorised immigrants, and policing migration. Meanwhile, public debate over the West's obligations to unauthorised immigrants is passionate, vitriolic, and divisive.Refugees and the Myth of Human Rights combines philosophical, historical, and legal analysis to clarify the key concepts at stake in the debate, and to demonstrate the threat posed by contemporary border regimes to rights protection and the rule of law within liberal democracies. Using the political philosophy of John Locke and Immanuel Kant the book highlights the tension in liberalism between partiality towards one's compatriots and the universalism of human rights and brings this tension to life through an examination of Hannah Arendt's account of the rise and decline of the modern nation-state. It provides a novel reading of Arendt's critique of human rights and her concept of the right to have rights. The book argues that the right to have rights must be secured globally in limited form, but that recognition of its significance should spur expansive changes to border policy within and between liberal states.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationSurrey, England
    PublisherAshgate Publishing Ltd.
    Number of pages200
    ISBN (Print)9781472430083
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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