Mass Migration: An Ordeal by Fire for Universal Human Rights
'Scritti in onore di Sara Volterra' (Papers in Honour of S.V.), Giappichelli Editore, 2017
23 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2020 Last revised: 13 Oct 2020
Date Written: 2017
The authors focus on the crisis of mass migration faced by the European Union as a lens through which to consider the universality of human rights. The authors seek to answer two questions: first, whether universal human rights are indeed “universal”; and second, whether universal human rights truly constitute “rights”. In relation to the first question, the authors reject the narrow Rawlsian conception of universal human rights, preferring an approach that says cultural values may be exported by one culture and assimilated by another, and universality may be progressively achieved. As such, the rights contained, for instance, in the International Bill of Human Rights are indeed universal. The second question presents difficulties. The authors note a conflict between Kant’s moral imperative – as reflected in international human rights instruments – and Bentham’s utilitarianism – reflected in the politics of states. Consequently, the human rights of those in the waves of mass migration run up against the politics of states, and it remains for advocates of universal human rights to see that these boundaries are broken such that universal rights truly become rights.
Keywords: human rights, mass migration, EU, universality, 'international bill of human rights', rawls, international law
JEL Classification: K33, K37
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation