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QLLM177 International Migration Law (Sem 2)

Module Description:

This module examines the regulation in international law of human mobility for economic and other purposes (excluding refuge and forced migration which is studied in depth in a separate 22.5 credit module).

It provides a comprehensive overview of the concepts and workings of several specialized branches of international law in relation to migration in a global context. The module will look at international labour law, international human rights law, international security and anti-terrorism instruments, and international nationality, borders and statelessness measures to provide a comprehensive overview of the different regimes concerned with the regulation of the phenomenon.

The module will start by studying the historical origins and development of international legal tools to regulate human mobility across borders, with a discussion of the available regulatory options and their ethical/philosophical underpinnings (ranging from the 'open borders' formula to 'communitarian' perspectives). The different regimes, actors and institutions playing a role in the legal administration of international migration will be examined next, with particular focus on key inter-governmental institutions (such as the ILO and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants) and non-governmental actors (such as IOM and ICMPD) as norms entrepreneurs in this area. The study of substantive law, including relevant State practice and case law of national and international courts and Treaty bodies, will follow thereafter, following six thematic blocs: 1) labour migration, with particular focus on ILO conventions and the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families; 2) human trafficking, people smuggling and the securitisation of international mobility, with special reference to the 2000 Palermo Protocols to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; 3) IDPs and conflict-related displacement, with reference to international guidelines and regional instruments on the matter (e.g. the 2012 Kampala Convention on Internal Displacement); 4) Statelessness and the regulation of nationality under international law, with special emphasis on the UN Conventions on Statelessness (the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness) and their relationship to security of residence and expulsion; 5) the role of general human rights law, as a residual category, in the regulation and administration of migration and migratory flows, with reference to the major international human rights conventions (specially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights); and 6) the limits of international law, exploring emerging issues at the margins of international regulation, such as climate change, natural disasters, extreme poverty and human displacement, examining the potential of 'survival migration' (A Betts, 2013).

Module Aims:

This module will raise awareness among students of the global and current phenomenon of international migration at large and the problem it poses from a legal perspective (excluding the study of forced migration and refuge, which is the object of a separate 22.5 credit module). The module will equip students with the necessary tools to understand how the international community's concern for human mobility across borders translates into an evolving set of legal norms, governance structures and procedures. The course aims at providing students with a conceptual framework and legal methodology for the analysis of migration under international law and related sub-systems. At the end of the course students will be able to understand the potential and limits of international law, both as an operative and normative system, for the regulation and administration of human mobility in a globalised world. They will be able to analyse and articulate informed legal arguments on international migration and their regulation under international law, making use of the relevant sources.

Applicable Groupings:

Mode of Assessment:

7,500 word course essay


22.5 Credits

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