The Cornell International Law Journal Forum publishes essays, blog posts, and featured online content series covering current international law issues. Born out of the Journal’s desire to establish a repository for timely transnational law thought leadership during the pandemic, the Forum features contributions from the Journal’s Online Associates and guest authors from across the globe. We welcome submissions from all who seek to add to the contemporary conversation for the benefit of the international law community. If you with to cite one of our articles, please use “[volume #] Cornell Int’l L.J. F. [page #] (year).
* * *
Natural disasters may have devastating impacts on human life, economy and the environment of affected states. During the last World Trade Organization’s Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires (10-13 December 2017), several states stressed the impact of disasters on their economies. The governmental representative of Saint Lucia (speaking on behalf of CARICOM), pointed out that “[m]any small and vulnerable economies in the Caribbean . . . suffered massive devastation and absolute destruction of critical infrastructure from . . .
Human Mobility and Human Rights in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Revisiting the 14 Principles of Protection for Migrants, Refugees, and Other Displaced Persons, Vol. 54
T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Joanne Csete, Guy S. Goodwin-Gill, Ian M. Kysel, Petra Molnar, Kristin Bergtora Sandvik, Monette Zard
Building upon the 14 Principles – which set out how international law should protect migrants, refugees, and other displaced persons during the COVID-19 pandemic and have been endorsed by more than 1,000 scholars worldwide – a group of international law scholars have collaborated to create a series of short essays looking at a set of pressing legal and policy issues relevant to this and future pandemics and the rights of migrants under international law.…
Among the “14 Principles” for protection of migrants, refugees and displaced persons in the COVID-19 pandemic is that all persons have a right to health, which, in essence, means an equal right to basic health services. In more than a year of COVID-19 challenges, it has become clear that migrants, refugees and displaced persons are easily left behind in access to basic health services. Stigma and entrenched discrimination, regulatory exclusions from health services based on immigration status, and lack of access to user-friendly information about COVID-19 services have impeded migrants’ ability to enjoy health rights in the current emergency. States must make special efforts to overcome these barriers…
The international legal framework mandates that everybody, including all people on the move, should enjoy their right to health without discrimination. However, the reality for refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants during the last 12 months of the pandemic has been very different. This is explored below through discussion of the lived experience of millions of people on the move with respect to their right to health, highlighting the neglected issue of mental health and access to vaccination. …
Technological experimentation at the border is being given free rein, knit together into what amounts to a tapestry of an increasingly powerful global border industrial complex. This experimentation legitimizes techno-solutionism at the expense of human rights and dignity and has only been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Powerful actors—often in the private sector—increasingly dictate what technology should be developed and deployed, while communities experiencing the sharp edges of this innovation—including refugees and others on the move—are consistently left out of the discussion. Unfortunately, despite the key State obligations reflected in the 14 Principles, rights abuses are rampant when it comes to COVID-19, surveillance, and border control. . . .
Concluding Comments: (A) Few Promising Avenues for Promoting the Rights of Migrants in the Post-Pandemic, Vol. 54
Ian M. Kysel
More than eighteen months on, the COVID-19 pandemic may have unraveled the idea of human mobility—at least through regular channels—as an inexorable constant of life in the twenty-first century. Thankfully, it has nonetheless made it dramatically clear that the world’s hundreds of millions of migrants are essential members of our communities, particularly as the health of those on the move is as vital to the safety of our communities as anyone else’s…
Concluding Comments: Revisiting the Principles of Protection for Migrants, Refugees and Other Displaced Persons, One Year On, Vol. 54
Guy S. Goodwin-Gill
Within the context of the 14 Principles and to conclude this symposium, I provide a few reflections below on the greatest human rights challenges faced by migrants, refugees, and the displaced in the last year.
As expected, things have gotten worse, and it will take time to re-establish—or even to establish for the first time—protection on a sure footing…