When humans become migrants

A blog containing Marie-Bénédicte Dembour's 30 episode podcast to support her book.

Episode six: The different approach of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

In this episode, we turn to another system of human rights protection and see that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has made pronouncements which are intended to give rights to migrants.


I examine what happened more than thirty years ago, when Costa Rica was facing an influx of refugees from war-thorn neighbouring Nicaragua. This led the Inter-American Court seeming to distance itself from states subjecting naturalisation process to e.g. citizenship tests.

In contrast, the European Court of Human Rights keeps away from pronouncing on matters of nationality, even though these are issues that are of particular importance to migrants and refugees.

So why did the European Convention end up saying nothing about nationality? Could it be that this is because the authors of the Convention perceived the migrant as a threat who needed to be controlled by the state?

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american convention on human rightseuropean convention on human rightsinter-american court of human rightsmigrant as threatnationality laws

Marie-Benedicte Dembour • February 16, 2015

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