15: Migration, citizenship, and human rights
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The human rights framework has the potential to challenge the boundaries of exclusion defined and implemented through citizenship regimes. In many countries around the world, migration politics constitutes a testing ground for a political regime’s commitment to respecting human rights for all, regardless of citizenship status. The treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees discloses the limits of belonging and “otherness” in the polity. Asylum-seekers and other displaced people are often constructed as potential risks. These racialized images are employed to legitimate the use of practices that violate international treaties and introduce regulations that subvert human rights principles. This chapter explains how the enduring sovereignty of nation-states over issues of membership, belonging, and rights has prevented the human rights regime from making significant improvements in the living conditions of marginalized citizens within these states, and also failing to extend its protections to non-citizens.

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