Thursday, August 7, 2014

Immigration Article of the Day: Arguing for Open Borders by Andy Lamey


Arguing for Open Borders by Andy Lamey, University of California, San Diego April 1, 2014 Literary Review of Canada, Vol. 22, No. 3, April 2014

Abstract: A review of the Ethics of Immigration, by Joseph Carens (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

Joseph Carens is arguably the most prominent political theorist to defend open borders, a view which he did much to make intellectually respectable in a famous 1987 article, “Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders.” In The Ethics of Immigration, Carens again defends the open borders view, but with a new rationale. Whereas before he argued that seemingly opposed philosophies provided converging support for open borders, now he bases his case on “democratic principles,” by which he means uncontroversial moral commitments that are widely shared in liberal states. Carens argues that one such commitment is to freedom, which can be understood as “not being the subject of the will of another.” A commitment to such a value would explain why freedom of movement within a state is considered a basic human right. But, Carens asks, if we have a general right to freedom of movement within countries, why not between them?

Carens has long noted that despite the attractiveness of open borders at the level of pure justice, it is deeply at odds with how immigration policy is normally viewed. Given this, Carens’ many writings on immigration have long approached it from a second perspective, one that puts aside questions of ideal theory and takes for granted the conventional view that states are entitled to discretionary control over their borders. This second perspective is the dominant one in The Ethics of Immigration, as Carens spends most of the book outlining standards of fair treatment for permanent residents, temporary workers, refugees and other migrants that do not presuppose any commitment to open borders. In this mode Carens offers a revised version of one his most thought-provoking and controversial arguments, defending amnesty for immigrants who first arrive illegally.

Carens’ investigation of immigration issues at both the level of ideal justice and the more immediate plane of the debate over amnesty and related issues makes his book unusually rich. It has the rare virtue of being both philosophically rigorous and politically relevant.


August 7, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 25, 2014

From the Bookshelves: The Right to Equality in European Human Rights Law The Quest for Substance in the Jurisprudence of the European Courts by Charilaos Nikolaidis


The Right to Equality in European Human Rights Law The Quest for Substance in the Jurisprudence of the European Courts by Charilaos Nikolaidis Routledge – 2015 – 238 pages

A right to equality and non-discrimination is widely seen as fundamental in democratic legal systems. But failure to identify the human interest that equality aims to uphold reinforces the argument of those who attack it as morally empty or unsubstantiated and weakens its status as a fundamental human right. This book argues that an understanding of the human interest which equality aims to uphold is feasible within the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

In comparing the evolution of the prohibition of discrimination in the case-law of both Courts, Charilaos Nikolaidis demonstrates that conceptual convergence within the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the EU on the issue of equality is not as far as it might appear initially. While the two bodies of equality law are extremely divergent as to the requirements they impose, their interpretation by the international judiciary might be properly analysed under a common light to emphasise the substantive dimension of equality in European Human Rights law.

The book will be of great use and interest to scholars and students of human rights, discrimination law, and European politics.

 Charilaos Nikolaidis holds an LLB (Hons) from City University London, an LLM (Hons) from University College London and a PhD in law from the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, where he also taught public law for several years. Dr Nikolaidis currently practices law in Greece.


July 25, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Human Rights Law Second Edition by Merris Amos


Human Rights Law Second Edition by Merris Amos

In this completely revised and updated second edition of Human Rights Law, the judicial interpretation and application of the United Kingdom's Human Rights Act 1998 is comprehensively examined and analysed. Part I concerns key procedural issues including: the background to the Act; the relationship between UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights; the definition of victim and public authority; determining incompatibility including deference and proportionality; the impact of the Act on primary legislation; and damages and other remedies for the violation of Convention rights.

In Part II of the book, the Convention rights as interpreted and applied by United Kingdom courts, are discussed in detail. All important Convention rights are included with a new chapter on freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Other Convention rights considered in the national context include: the right to life; freedom from torture; the right to liberty; fair trial; the right to private life, family life and home; the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions; and the right to freedom from discrimination in the enjoyment of Convention rights. The second edition of Human Rights Law will be invaluable for those teaching, studying and practising in the areas of United Kingdom human rights law, constitutional law and administrative law.

Merris Amos is a member of the Department of Law, Queen Mary University of London. She has many years of experience in researching and teaching human rights law and has published widely in the area. Her particular area of expertise is the United Kingdom's Human Rights Act.



July 24, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren't Making Us Safer by Sylvia Longmire


Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren't Making Us Safer by Sylvia Longmire, Publication Date April 2014, Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

When confronted with the challenges of border security and illegal immigration, government officials are fond of saying that our borders have never been as safe and secure as they are now. But ranchers in the borderlands of Arizona and Texas fear for their lands, their cattle, their homes, and sometimes their lives due to the human and drug smuggling traffic that regularly crosses their property. Who is right? What does a secure border actually look like? More importantly,is a secure border a realistic goal for the United States? Border Insecurity examines all the aspects of the challenge - and thriving industry - of trying to secureour land borders. It looks at on-the-ground issues and controversies like the border fence, the usefulness of technology, shifts in the connection between illegal immigration and drug smuggling, and the potential for terrorists and drug cartels to work together. Border Insecurity also delves into how the border debate itself is part of why the government has failed to improve information sharing and why this is necessary to establish a clear and comprehensive border security strategy.

Sylvia Longmire was a Special Agent in the Air Force and a senior intelligence analyst for the state of California. Currently, Longmire is an independent consultant, and testifies as an expert witness on U.S. asylum cases. She lives in Arizona.


July 23, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 21, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America by Ruth Gruber


Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America by Ruth Gruber

 The powerful story of a top-secret mission to rescue one thousand European refugees in the midst of the Second World War. In 1943, nearly one thousand European refugees from eighteen different countries set out on a journey for asylum in the United States. Accompanying them was Ruth Gruber, who with the backing of the United States government, was made a simulated General to escort the refugees on their secret mission across the Atlantic from a port in Italy to a camp in Oswego, New York-a dangerous endeavor that carried the threat of Nazi capture with each passing day. While on board the ship that was to transport them to America, Gruber recorded the stories of the refugees, and she presents them in vivid detail here. The result is a poignant and engrossing story of suffering under Nazi persecution and bravery in the face of the most overwhelming of circumstances.


July 21, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 18, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Refugee Protection and the Role of Law Conflicting Identities Edited by Susan Kneebone, Dallal Stevens, Loretta Baldassar



Refugee Protection and the Role of Law Conflicting Identities Edited by Susan Kneebone, Dallal Stevens, Loretta Baldassar Routledge – 2015 – 324 pages

Sixty years on from the signing of the Refugee Convention, forced migration and refugee movements continue to raise global concerns for hosting states and regions, for countries of origin, for humanitarian organisations on the ground, and, of course, for the refugee. This edited volume is framed around two themes which go to the core of contemporary ‘refugeehood’: protection and identity. It analyses how the issue of refugee identity is shaped by and responds to the legal regime of refugee protection in contemporary times. The book investigates the premise that there is a narrowing of protection space in many countries and many highly visible incidentsof refoulement. It argues that ‘Protection’, which is a core focus of the Refugee Convention, appears to be under threat, as there are many gaps and inconsistencies in practice.

Contributors to the volume, who include Erika Feller, Elspeth Guild, Hélène Lambert and Roger Zetter, look at the relevant issues from the perspective of a number of different disciplines including law, politics, sociology, and anthropology. The chapters examine the link between identity and protection as a basis for understanding how the Refugee Convention has been and is being applied in policy and practice. The situation in a number of jurisdictions and regions in Europe, North America, South East Asia, Africa and the Middle East is explored in order to ask the question does jurisprudence under the Refugee Convention need better coordination and how successful is oversight of the Convention?


July 18, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Religious and Ethical Perspectives on Global Migration

Religious perspectives

Religious and Ethical Perspectives on Global Migration by Elizabeth W. Collier (Editor) and Charles R. Strain (Editor).  Contributors include Marie T. Friedmann Marquardt, Gemma Tulud Cruz, Ogenga Otunnu, Marianne Heimbach-Steins, Marco Tavanti, Moses Pava, Azam Nizamuddin, Frida Kerner Furman, Rev. John M. Fife, Kim Bobo, Sioban Albiol, Rev. Craig B. Mousin.

Religious and Ethical Perspectives on Global Migration examines the complicated social ethics of migration in today’s world. Editors Elizabeth W. Collier and Charles R. Strain bring the perspectives of an international group of scholars toward a theory of justice and ethical understanding for the nearly two hundred million migrants who have left their homes seeking asylum from political persecution, greater freedom and safety, economic opportunity, or reunion with family members. Migrants move out of fear, desperation, hope, love for their families, or a myriad of other complex motivations. Faced with both the needs and flows of people and the walls that impede them, what actions ought we, both individually and collectively, take? What is the moral responsibility of those of us, in particular, who reside comfortably in our native lands? There is no univocal response to these questions. Instead multiple perspectives on migration must be examined.

This book begins by looking at different geographic regions around the world and highlighting particular issues within each. Finding that religious traditions represent the strongest countervailing sources of values to the homogenizing tendencies of economic globalization, the study then offers a plurality of religious perspectives The final chapters examine the salient issues and the proposed solutions that have emerged specifically within the U.S. context. These studies range from militarization of the U.S. border with Mexico to the impact of migrants on native-born low-skilled workers.

Encompassing a wide range of cultural and scholarly voices, Religious and Ethical Perspectives on Global Migration provides insight for ethics, moral philosophy, social and political philosophy, religious studies, social justice, globalization, and identity formation.


July 15, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 11, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Mediating Human Rights: Culture, Media and the Human Rights Act by Lieve Gies


Mediating Human Rights:  Culture, Media and the Human Rights Act by Lieve Gies Routledge – 2015

Drawing on social-legal, cultural and media theory, this book is one of the first to examine the media politics of human rights. It examines how the media construct the story of human rights, investigating what lies behind the apparent media hostility to human rights and what has become of the original ambition to establish a human rights culture. The human rights regime has been high on the political agenda ever since the Human Rights Act 1998 was enacted. Often maligned in sections of the press, the legislation has entered popular folklore as shorthand for an overbearing government, an overzealous judiciary and exploitative claimants. This book examines a range of significant factors in the mediation of human rights, including: Euroscepticism, the war on terror, the digital reordering of the media landscape, press concerns about an emerging privacy law and civil liberties.

Mediating Human Rights is a timely exploration of the relationship between law, politics and media. It will be of immense interest to those studying and researching across Law, Media Studies, Human Rights, and Politics.

Lieve Gies is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester. Her main research interests are in the area of media representations of the law.


July 11, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

From the Bookshelves: The Criminal Lawyer's Guide to Immigration Law: Questions and Answers, Second Edition by Robert J McWhirter

  Cr4immigration book

The Criminal Lawyer's Guide to Immigration Law: Questions and Answers, Second Edition by Robert J McWhirter

This concise guide focuses on the criminal lawyer's most common questions about immigration law and representing noncitizens. The answers are clear and carefully focused and in most instances direct you to specific cases or more in-depth resources. 


July 9, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)


David Bacon explains that U.S. foreign and immigration policy is responsible for much of the pressure causing this flow of people from Central America.  Importantly, the migration of children and families didn╒t just start recently. It has been going on for a long time, although the numbers are increasing. The tide of migration from Central America goes back to wars that the U.S. promoted in the 1980s, in which we armed the forces, governments or contras, who were most opposed to progressive social change. Two million Salvadorans alone came to the U.S. during the late 1970s and 80s, to say nothing of Guatemalans and Nicaraguans. Whole families migrated, but so did parts of families, leaving loved ones behind with the hope that some day they'd be reunited.

The recent increase in the numbers of migrants is not just a response to gang violence, although this is virtually the only reason given in U.S. media coverage. Growing migration is as much or more a consequence of the increasing economic crisis for rural people in Central America and Mexico, as well as the failure of those economies to produce jobs. People are leaving because they can't survive where they are. 

The failure of Central America's economies is mostly due to the North American and Central American Free Trade Agreements and their accompanying economic changes, including privatization of businesses, the displacement of communities by foreign mining projects and cuts in the social budget. The treaties allowed huge U.S. corporations to dump corn and other agricultural products in Mexico and Central America, forcing rural families off their lands when they could not compete.


July 9, 2014 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Behind the Scenes of Obama's Sudden Immigration Reversal"


This interesting story in The Atlantic tells of a recent meeting in the White House with President Obama and immigrant advocates discussing the possibility for reform.  It is optimistic that the President will use his executive powers to the extent possible to bring about immigration change (since Congress will not).  We will see what happens.  Stay tuned!


July 9, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 7, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Global Business Immigration Practice Guide, 2014 Edition


Global Business Immigration Practice Guide, 2014 Edition Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers. Publisher:  Matthew Bender

This new Practice Guide is a one-stop resource for dealing with questions related to business immigration issues in immigration hotspots around the world. Written and edited by a global team of expert attorney members of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL), this comprehensive guide is designed to be used by:

· Human resources professionals and in-house attorneys who need to instruct, understand, and liaise with immigration lawyers licensed in other countries

· Business immigration attorneys who regularly work with multinational corporations and their employees and HR professionals, and

· Attorneys interested in expanding their practice to include global business immigration services.

This publication provides:

· An overview of the immigration law requirements and procedures for over twenty countries

· Practical information and tips for obtaining visas, work permits, resident status, naturalization, and other nonimmigrant and immigrant pathways to conducting business, investing, and working in those countries

· A general overview of the appropriate options for a particular employee

· Information on how an employee can obtain and maintain authorization to work in a target country

Each chapter follows a similar format, making it easy to compare practices and procedures from country to country. Useful links to additional resources and forms are included. Collected in this Practice Guide, the expertise of ABIL's attorney members across the globe will serve as an ideal starting point in your research into global business immigration issues.

AUTHORS Stephen Yale-Loehr, General Editor, Miller Mayer, Ithaca, NY Nancy Lorena Acevedo, Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group, Los Angeles, CA; Enrique Arellano, Enrique Arellano Rincon Abogados, S.C., Mexico; Mariana Alfaro, Cordero & Cordero Abogados, Costa Rica; Jacqueline Bart, Jacqueline Bart & Associates, Canada; Timur Beslangurov, VISTA Foreign Business Support, Russia; Ursina Brack, VISCHER Ltd., Switzerland; David Cantrell, Eugene F. Collins, Ireland; Bernard Caris, Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick, Belgium; Maria Lianides Celebi, Bener Law Office, Turkey; Zhu (June) Cheng, Fredrikson & Byron, Minneapolis, MN; Eugene Chow, Chow King & Associates, China; Steven A. Clark, Flynn & Clark, P.C., Cambridge, MA; Esther Contreras, Masuda Funai, Schaumburg, IL; Arnold Conyer, Diamon Conway, Australia; Ricardo Cordero, Cordero & Cordero Abogados, Costa Rica; Laura Danielson, Fredrikson & Byron, Minneapolis, MN; Laura Devine, Laura Devine Solicitors, UK; Mareza I. Estevez, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Teaneck, NJ; Rami Fakhoury, Fakhoury Law Group, P.C., Troy, MI; Avi Friedman, Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group, Los Angeles, CA; Bryan Funai, Masuda Funai, Chicago, IL; Steven H. Garfinkel, Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm, Charlotte, NC; Avi Gomberg, Gomberg Dalfen, Canada; Urs Haegi, VISCHER Ltd., Switzerland; Kenneth Ing, Porta Immigration, Canada; Mark Ivener, Ivener & Fullmer LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Jelle Kroes, Kroes Advocaten Immigration Lawyers, Netherlands; Mark Levey, Fakhoury Law Group, Troy, MI; Daniela Lima, EMDOC, Brazil; Hannah Little, Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm, Charlotte, NC; Edward R. Litwin, Litwin & Associates, San Francisco, CA; Robert F. Loughran, FosterQuan, Austin, TX; Ramya Mahesh, Little & Co., India; Katie Malyon, Katie Malyon & Associates, Lawyers, Australia; Gunther Mävers, Mütze Korsch Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH, Germany; Marco Mazzeschi, Mazzeschi s.r.l., Italy; Cyrus D. Mehta, Cyrus D. Mehta & Associates, New York, NY; Ryoko Mestecky, AURORA Translation & Legal Services, Japan; Matthew Meyer, Laura Devine Solicitors, New York, NY; Lisa Middlemiss, Gomberg Dalfen, Canada; Sarah E. Murphy, Serotte, Reich & Wilson, LLP, Buffalo, NY; Angelo Paparelli, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Nicolas Rollason, Kingsley Napley, UK; Peter T. Schiron, Jr., Deloitte LLP, New York, NY; Aki Tanaka, Kitahama Partners, Japan; Alfonso Venegas, Venegas Gutierrez y Asociados, S.C., Mexico; Karl Waheed, Karl Waheed Avocats, France; Bernard P. Wolfsdorf, Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group, Los Angeles, CA; Paul J. Zambie, FosterQuan, Austin, TX; Brian D. Zuccaro, Serotte Reich & Wilson, LLP, Buffalo, NY


July 7, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Patriots Debate, Second Edition


Patriots Debate, Second Edition

The newest book in the Patriots Debate series, this book covers three general areas: The War on Terrorism; Data, Technology, and Privacy; and Legal Frameworks for Projecting Force.

Discussing some of today's "hot" issues in national security, the book provides a balanced view including:

What authority should be accorded to the President in exercising his war powers?

An exploration of terrorism interrogations

National security letters -- the need for reform

The government as internet protector

Targeted killing -- lawful if conducted in accordance with the rule of law

Law and cyber war -- the lessons of history

The future of military detention

And much more!


July 3, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

From the Bookshelves: The Reception of Asylum Seekers under International Law Between Sovereignty and Equality First Edition by Lieneke Slingenberg


The Reception of Asylum Seekers under International Law Between Sovereignty and Equality First Edition by Lieneke Slingenberg

Increasingly, European states are using policy on the reception of asylum seekers as an instrument of immigration control, eg by deterring the lodging of asylum applications, preventing integration into their societies and exercising a large degree of control over asylum seekers in order to facilitate expulsion. The European Union is currently engaged in a process of developing minimum conditions for the reception of asylum seekers, as part of a Common European Asylum System.

This book critically examines the outcomes of the negotiation process on these minimum standards standards - Directive 2003/9/EC and Directive 2013/33/EU - in relation to international refugee law, international social security law and international human rights law. It presents a comprehensive analysis of state obligations that stem from these different fields of law with regard to asylum seekers' access to the labour market and social security benefits and compares them to the minimum standards developed in the European Union. To this end, it offers an in-depth study into the notion of non-discrimination on the basis of nationality in the field of social security and a detailed analysis of recent developments in the case law of the European Court on Human Rights on positive obligations in the socioeconomic sphere. It takes into account both the special characteristics of international legal obligations for states in the socioeconomic sphere and the legal consequences of the tentative legal status of asylum seekers. In addition, this book particularly examines how the instrumental use of social policy relates to international law.


Lieneke Slingenberg is Assistant Professor of Migration Law at the VU University Amsterdam.


July 2, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Law of Asylum in the United States, 2014 ed. by Deborah Anker


Law of Asylum in the United States, 2014 ed. by Deborah Anker

Law of Asylum in the United States is an authoritative presentation of U.S. asylum law, long considered a must-have publication for practitioners, students, and teachers. It is frequently relied upon and cited by decision-makers. Law of Asylum describes and interprets applicable U.S. laws, as well as numerous international sources, providing an up-to-date analysis of all aspects of asylum law.

This edition addresses current hot topics such as developments in the law interpreting particular social groups and a new approach to interpreting and applying the political opinion ground. Law of Asylum also addresses fundamental issues such as:

The meaning of well-founded fear and persecution

The five grounds for asylum (race, religion, nationality, social group membership, and political opinion)

Withholding of removal protection and protection under the Convention Against Torture Claims based on childhood status and gender-based persecution

When non-state actors can be considered agents of persecution Extensive coverage of gang membership/opposition to gangs

Elements of proof Credibility determinations Recent changes in statutory language enacted with the REAL ID Act

New BIA cases on social distinction and particularity


July 1, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Chicano by Sheila K. O'Malley

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Globalization and Labor Standards Annotated Bibliography: An Essential Research Tool by Katherine V.W. Stone


Globalization and Labor Standards Annotated Bibliography: An Essential Research Tool by Katherine V.W. Stone

The Globalization and Labor Standards (GALS) Annotated Bibliography is a compendium of articles about international labor rights, national and transnational labor standards, and comparative labor law that have been published in law journals. All of the articles in the library are abstracted and cross-referenced by subject. Each article is accompanied by an annotation that describes its contents clearly and concisely. The annotations have been written by Professor Katherine V.W. Stone with the help of her students at the Cornell Law School, the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and UCLA School of Law. This volume compiles all of the content in the GALS bibliographic library from 2000 to 2014.

The purpose of the book is to preserve the wealth of material developed over the past fifteen years and make it available to libraries and researchers. The GALS database has been used by lawyers, businesses, labor ! unions, organizations, individuals, non-profit organizations, the World Bank, the International Labor Organization, and numerous governmental entities in more than 140 countries.

Katherine V.W. Stone is the Arjay and Frances Miller Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. Her scholarship and teaching is primarily in the fields of labor law, arbitration law, contracts, and comparative labor law. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship Award and a Russell Sage Fellowship for her work on the changing nature of employment and the regulatory implications. Her book, From Widgets to Digits: Employment Regulation for the Changing Workplace (Cambridge University Press in 2004) won the 2005 Michael Harrington Award from the American Political Science Association for the “outstanding book that best links scholarship to struggles for justice in the real world”, and was named Finalist for the 2005 C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Pro! blems. Her most recent book, Rethinking Workplace: After the Standard Contract of Employment, published in 2013, examines the changing employment landscape in ten industrialized nations and describes some initiatives to counteract the deterioration of job security and the employment-linked safety net.


June 24, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 23, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Human Rights Law and Personal Identity by Jill Marshall


Human Rights Law and Personal Identity by Jill Marshall, Routledge – 2014 – 272 pages Series: Routledge Research in Human Rights Law

This book explores the role human rights law plays in the formation, and protection, of our personal identities. Drawing from a range of disciplines, Jill Marshall examines how human rights law includes and excludes specific types of identity, which feed into moral norms of human freedom and human dignity and their translation into legal rights.

The book takes on a three part structure. Part I traces the definition of identity, and follows the evolution of, and protects, a right to personal identity and personality within human rights law. It specifically examines the development of a right to personal identity as property, the inter-subjective nature of identity, and the intercession of power and inequality.

Part II evaluates past and contemporary attempts to describe the core of personal identity, including theories concerning the soul, the rational mind, and the growing influence of neuroscience and genetics in explaining what it means to be human. It also explores the inter-relation and conflict between universal principles and culturally specific rights.

Part III focuses on issues and case law that can be interpreted as allowing self-determination. Marshall argues that while in an age of individual identity, people are increasingly obliged to live in conformed ways, pushing out identities that do not fit with what is acceptable.

Drawing on feminist theory, the book concludes by arguing how human rights law would be better interpreted as a force to enable respect for human dignity and freedom, interpreted as empowerment and self-determination whilst acknowledging our inter-subjective identities. In drawing on socio-legal, philosophical, biological and feminist outlooks, this book is truly interdisciplinary, and will be of great interest and use to scholars and students of human rights law, legal and social theory, gender and cultural studies.


June 23, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Frrom the Bookshelves: Migrant Youth, Transnational Families, and the State

Migrant youth

Migrant Youth, Transnational Families, and the State Care and Contested Interests by Lauren Heidbrink

Each year, more than half a million migrant children journey from countries around the globe and enter the United States with no lawful immigration status; many of them have no parent or legal guardian to provide care and custody. Yet little is known about their experiences in a nation that may simultaneously shelter children while initiating proceedings to deport them, nor about their safety or well-being if repatriated. Migrant Youth, Transnational Families, and the State examines the draconian immigration policies that detain unaccompanied migrant children and draws on U.S. historical, political, legal, and institutional practices to contextualize the lives of children and youth as they move through federal detention facilities, immigration and family courts, federal foster care programs, and their communities across the United States and Central America.

Through interviews with children and their families, attorneys, social workers, policy-makers, law enforcement, and diplomats, anthropologist Lauren Heidbrink foregrounds the voices of migrant children and youth who must navigate the legal and emotional terrain of U.S. immigration policy. Cast as victims by humanitarian organizations and delinquents by law enforcement, these unauthorized minors challenge Western constructions of child dependence and family structure. Heidbrink illuminates the enduring effects of immigration enforcement on its young charges, their families, and the state, ultimately questioning whose interests drive decisions about the care and custody of migrant youth.


June 18, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 13, 2014

From the Bookshelves: Law in Transition: Human Rights, Development and Transitional Justice Edited by Ruth Buchanan and Peer Zumbansen Law


Law in Transition:  Human Rights, Development and Transitional Justice Edited by Ruth Buchanan and Peer Zumbansen

Law has become the vehicle by which countries in the "developing world," including post-conflict states or states undergoing constitutional transformation, must steer the course of social and economic, legal and political change. Legal mechanisms, in particular, the instruments as well as concepts of human rights, play an increasingly central role in the discourses and practices of both development and transitional justice. These developments can be seen as part of a tendency towards convergence within the wider set of discourses and practices in global governance. While this process of convergence of formerly distinct normative and conceptual fields of theory and practice has been both celebrated and critiqued at the level of theory, the present collection provides, through a series of studies drawn from a variety of contexts in which human rights advocacy and transitional justice initiatives are colliding with development projects, programmes and objectives, a more nuanced and critical account of contemporary developments.

The book includes essays by many of the leading experts writing at the intersection of development, rights and transitional justice studies. Notwithstanding the theoretical and practical challenges presented by the complex interaction of these fields, the premise of the book is that it is only through engagement and dialogue among hitherto distinct fields of scholarship and practice that a better understanding of the institutional and normative issues arising in contemporary law and development and transitional justice contexts will be possible.

The book is designed for research and teaching at both undergraduate and graduate levels.


Ruth Buchanan is an Associate Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto. Peer Zumbansen is Professor of Law and Canada Research Chair at Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto.

June 13, 2014 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)