This interdisciplinary study engages law, history, and political theory in a first attempt to crystallize the lessons the global 'refugee crisis' can teach us about the nature of international law. It connects the dots between the actions of Jewish migrants to Palestine after WWII, Vietnamese 'boatpeople', Haitian refugees seeking to reach Florida, Middle Eastern migrants and refugees bound to Australia, and Syrian refugees currently crossing the Mediterranean, and then legal responses by states and international organizations to these movements. Through its account of maritime migration, the book proposes a theory of human rights modelled around an encounter between individuals in which one of the parties is at great risk. It weaves together primary sources, insights from the work of twentieth-century thinkers such as Hannah Arendt and Emmanuel Levinas, and other legal materials to form a rich account of an issue of increasing global concern.
Itamar Mann is a legal scholar currently based at the University of Haifa Faculty of Law, Israel. His work focuses on international law and political theory. He has published in the areas of human rights, refugee and migration law, political theory, and international criminal law. He has also acted as an advocate on behalf of migrants and refugees as a lawyer in Tel Aviv. During 2009-10 he held a fellowship during which he reported for Human Rights Watch from Greece and Turkey.
Introduction. Humanity washed ashore; 1. Flagless vessel; 2. What is a human rights claim?; 3. What is a human rights commitment?; 4. Between moral blackmail and moral risk; 5. The place where we stand; 6. Imagination and the human rights encounter; Conclusion. The dual foundation of international law; Postscript.