A blind eye turned to the invisible ones : irregular migrants and human rights in Europe

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Wan, Hau-Yan
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Since their entry and residence are not authorised by the State, irregular migrants languish in an invisible existence and are exposed to various forms of human rights abuses. Their plight raises questions on the receiving state’s human rights obligations towards them. By circumventing state’s immigration regulations, the presence of irregular migrants are considered as a threat to the state’s sovereign control over its borders and individuals’ access to national membership. The issue concerning irregular migrants, thus, manifests a heightened tension between human rights protection and state’s sovereignty. While irregular migration is heavily embedded in the process of globalisation, it is a highly complex and multi-faceted phenomenon that involves different level of actors (civil society, state and transnational organisations). This is particularly the case in Europe where states’ immigration policies are increasingly influenced by the two existing regional regimes, the European Union and the Council of Europe. The intention of this study is to explore the possibility of furthering human rights protections for irregular migrants through a well-rounded comprehension of the tension between state’s sovereignty and human rights protection. In order to facilitate such comprehension, the issue will be investigated simultaneously from the perspectives of irregular migrants and the state.
Second semester University: University of Thessaloniki.
human rights, Europe, irregular migrations, migrants, sovereignty