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

Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 84/2020

23 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2020 Last revised: 13 Oct 2020

See all articles by Mario Patrono

Mario Patrono

University of Rome I - Department of Law; Sometime Visiting Professor of Law, Victoria University of Wellington

Rebecca McMenamin

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

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

Patrono, Mario and McMenamin, Rebecca, Mass Migration: An Ordeal by Fire for Universal Human Rights (2017). 'Scritti in onore di Sara Volterra' (Papers in Honour of S.V.), Giappichelli Editore, 2017, Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 84/2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3706635 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3706635

Mario Patrono (Contact Author)

University of Rome I - Department of Law ( email )

Italy

Sometime Visiting Professor of Law, Victoria University of Wellington

Rebecca McMenamin

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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