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Part I Origins and Foundations of International Migration Law, 1 History of International Migration Law

From: International Migration Law

Vincent Chetail

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 16 July 2024

Subject(s):
Migration — Immigration — Diplomatic protection — International law and international relations

This chapter sketches the long and turbulent history of international migration law from the 16th to the 20th century. It covers the movement of persons in the doctrine of the Law of Nations (16th–18th century); the rise and fall of free movement (19th–20th century); and the development of human rights of migrants from minimum standards to fundamental rights (20th–21st century). The chapter concludes that, as a result of long-standing evolution, the traditional law of aliens grounded in diplomatic protection and state responsibility has been progressively marginalized and absorbed by human rights law. This process is not confined to the specific situation of migrants, but reflects a broader evolution of general international law during the last century. Migrants’ rights have become the epitome of human rights for better or for worse.

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