When humans become migrants

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

Episode seven: Strasbourg wakes up to the predicament of migrants

In this episode I discuss the moment when migrants began to be able to make successful applications to the European Court of Human Rights.


After the Court system was set up in 1959, there were many applications from migrants, but they were either ruled inadmissible or ended on friendly settlements. The Court did not examine the merits of a migrant case until 1985 and this judgment could not even be said to have been favourable to migrants.

Senior people in the Council of Europe started to question in the early 1980s whether migrants had human rights under the Convention. They included Peter Leuprecht, the Director of Human Rights who went on to become the institution’s Deputy Secretary–General.

In 1983, Leuprecht brought together 200 senior figures including judges, politicians and representatives of civil society to discuss the issue.

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abdulaziz cabales balkandalicouncil of europeeuropean court of human rightsmigrant rights in europepeter leuprecht

Marie-Benedicte Dembour • February 23, 2015

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