Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Reimagining International Law for Global Migration: Migration as Decolonization?

  • E. Tendayi Achiume (a1)
Extract

The European colonial project involved the out-migration of at least sixty-two million Europeans to colonies across the world between the Nineteenth and first half of the Twentieth Century alone. It also involved movement in the reverse direction of human and natural resources, overwhelmingly for the benefit of Europe and Europeans. By connecting certain forms of migration in the present century to this mobility of people and goods in prior centuries, I seek to shift some of the fundamental commitments at the core of the international law, norms and discourse around global migration.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Reimagining International Law for Global Migration: Migration as Decolonization?
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Reimagining International Law for Global Migration: Migration as Decolonization?
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Reimagining International Law for Global Migration: Migration as Decolonization?
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
Hide All

1 J.L. Miège, Migration and Decolonization, 1 Eur. Rev. 81, 85–86 (1993). Chantal Thomas, What Does the Emerging International Law of Migration Mean for Sovereignty?, 14 Melb. J. Int'l L. 392, 439 (2013) (noting that “[m]easured either as a percentage of the total population, or in terms of economic significance, the impact of the earlier wave of [colonial and New World] immigration was much greater than the [contemporary] one.”).

2 Jaya Ramji-Nogales & Peter J. Spiro, Introduction to Symposium on Framing Global Migration Law, 111 AJIL Unbound 1 (2017).

3 See Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Migration Emergencies, 68 Hastings L.J. (forthcoming 2017). With respect to international legal failures in the management of labor migration, see Thomas, supra note 1, at 441. I use “outside the law” in Hiroshi Motomura's dual sense of both unlawful and within the sovereign's extensive discretion. Hiroshi Motomura, Immigration Outside the Law 4 (2014).

4 I aim to elaborate this idea in future work.

5 I view my proposal as kindred in spirit to Chantal Thomas's recent call for a new ethics of international migration that pursues the value of a historicized approach to the conditions of this migration. Thomas, supra note 1, at 439. Thomas analyzes how different political theory traditions have constructed state sovereignty, and the limitations of these constructions for explaining or reforming international law. She concludes this insightful analysis by advocating an ethics that takes as its starting point interconnectedness rather than individualism: “If sovereignty is premised upon an atomistic conception of the state of nature, then surely a more interconnected understanding of nature raises the question whether the basic presumption of autonomy that undergirds sovereignty should shift in favour of a politics of interdependence.” Id. at 448.

6 My approach to decolonization seeks to avoid an overly formal or legalistic conception of decolonization. See Miège, supra note 1, at 85–86 (“Political decolonization focused on the search for symbolic dates does not depict the boundary between two worlds. It is very often the legal aspect which is only the most visible part of a complex ensemble of elements. The ‘Year’ of political independence of French-speaking black Africa was, in practice, the beginning of a long period of rapid growth in the European population of black Africa.”).

7 See, e.g., Marie-Laurence Flahaux & Hein De Haas, African Migration: Trends, Patterns, Drivers, 4 Comp. Migration Stud. 1, 4–5 (2016) (“colonial occupation and concomitant practices of the slave trade and the systematic use of forced labour and recruitment have in many ways shaped contemporary migration patterns within and from [Africa] … . ‘[P]ush-pull’ views, however, ignore that people will only migrate if they have the ambitions and resources to make this happen. We can see migration as a function of people's aspirations and capabilities to migrate.”).

8 Even though international human rights law has qualified the sovereign's prerogative, Vattel's absolutist conception of sovereignty is still applicable to many individuals who move due to economic conditions. See Thomas, supra note 1, at 404 (quoting Vattel).

9 This capricious discretion remains the case even when the receiving state both benefits and relies upon this unauthorized migration. See, e.g., Motomura, supra note 4, at 107 (“U.S. immigration law has tolerated significant unauthorized migration to assure a supply of flexible, cheap labor, subject to discretionary, unpredictable, and inconsistent enforcement.”).

10 See generally, Antony Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law (2004).

11 Id. at 196–244.

12 See, e.g., Antony Anghie & B.S. Chimni, Third World Approaches to International Law and Individual Responsibility in Internal Conflicts, 2 Chinese J. Int'l L. 77, 82 (2003).

13 Citing Mohammed Bedjaoui, Antony Anghie notes, for example, how trading companies acquired “rights” alongside colonial powers to third-world resources “through duress and deception, and concessions [that] had often never been the subject of meaningful consent on the part of Third World peoples.” Anghie, supra note 10, at 213. Anghie argues that multinational companies in as late as the 1960s “were in many respects successors to entities such as the Dutch and British East India Companies, which after all, had been central to the whole imperial project.” Id. at 224.

14 “‘Colonialism' refers, generally to the practice of settling territories, while ‘imperialism’ refers to the practices of an empire.” Id. at 11.

15 Scholars have made the compelling case that the geopolitical and economic relations initiated by the European colonial project persist alongside other forces in today's era of globalization and that they inform movement across borders today. See, e.g., Thomas, supra note 1, at 442.

16 See id. at 439.

17 Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Locating the Third World in Cultural Geography, 15 Third World Legal Stud. 1 (1999).

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

AJIL Unbound
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2398-7723
  • URL: /core/journals/american-journal-of-international-law
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 97
Total number of PDF views: 413 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 670 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 17th July 2017 - 19th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.