The past few decades the movement of people across borders has increased significantly. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more and more people are on the move today than at any other point in human history. According to the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, a migrant worker can be described as a 'person who is to be engaged, is engaged or has been engaged in a remunerated activity in a State of which he or she is not a national'. According to the working group of intergovernmental experts on the human rights of migrants only those people who freely take the decision to migrate are considered migrants: the notion 'migrant' "should be understood as covering all cases where the decision to migrate is taken freely by the individual concerned, for reasons of 'personal convenience' and without intervention of an external compelling factor. Thus, the definition of migrant does not refer to individuals who have been forced or compelled to leave their home or country, such as refugees and internally displaced persons. Various aspects of migration include: labour migration (not forced), family reunification, migration and security, migration and trade, migrant rights, health and migration, integration, migration and development.
This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on Migration. It provides the basic materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library's subject heading (keyword) Migration is instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.
Sources of international law
- International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families entered into force in July 2003. Its primary objective is to protect migrant workers and their families, a particularly vulnerable population, from exploitation and the violation of their human rights. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights monitors the implementation of the convention and works to further its ratification.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has adopted three legally-binding instruments that are relevant for the protection of migrant workers:
- Convention concerning Migration for Employment (Revised 1949) (No. 97)
- Convention concerning Migrations in Abusive Conditions and the Promotion of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) 1975 (No. 143)
- Convention concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers (No. 189)
All three conventions have been complemented by non-binding recommendation.
UN Declarations and Resolutions
The resolutions and decisions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council may provide valuable information on migration issues. Although they cannot themselves constitute international law or serve as conclusive evidence of a rule of customary law, such resolutions do have value in providing evidence of existing or emerging law. This point of view has been acknowledged by the International Law Commission.
As every Member State has been recognized and has a vote in the UN General Assembly, finding General Assembly resolutions that passed unanimously or near-unanimously may serve as an excellent starting point in the legal research process. Pay attention to the language of the resolution. Those with firm obligations versus those that are merely aspirational or advisory in nature are more likely to be considered valuable as evidence of customary international law.
→ Official Document System Search. ODS is the UN's Official Document System. You can search for UN declarations, resolutions and other documents by keywords, then narrow your search.
- Boeles, P.(et al.)(eds.), European Migration Law, Cambridge/Antwerp/Portland, Intersentia, 2014.
- Chetail, V. and C. Bauloz (eds.), Research Handbook on International Law and Migration, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2014.
- Guild, E. and P.E. Minderhoud (eds.), The First Decade of EU Migration and Asylum Law, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2012.
- Maloney, T.N. and K. Korinek, Migration in the 21st Century: Rights, Outcomes, and Policy, London, Routledge, 2011.
- Opeskin, B. (et al.) (eds.), Foundations of International Migration Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
- Perruchoud, R. and K. Tömölová (eds.), Compendium of International Migration Law Instruments, The Hague, T.M.C. Asser Press, 2007.
- Perruchoud, R. (ed.), Glossaire de la Migration, Genève, OIM, 2007.
- Rosenblum, M.R. and D.J. Tichenor (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Politics of International Migration, Oxford University Press, 2012.
Selected books and articles
- Acosta Arcarazo,D., "Civic Citizenship Reintroduced? The Long-Term Residence Directive as a Post-National Form of Membership", European Law Journal, 21 (2015), No. 2, pp. 200-219.
- Carrera, S, Hertog, L. den, Panizzon, M. and Kostakopoulou, D. (eds.), EU External Migration Policies in an Era of Global Mobilities: Intersecting Policy Universes, Leiden, Brill Nijhoff, 2019.
- Chassin, C-A., "Dealing with International Vulnerability: European Law and Climate-Induced Migrants", in F. Ippolito and S.I. Sánchez (eds.), Protecting Vulnerable Groups: The European Human Rights Framework, Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2015, pp. 271-290.
- Geiger, M. and Pécoud, A. (eds.), The International Organization for Migration: the new 'UN Migration Agency' in critical perspective, Cham, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.
- Goldenziel, J.I., "Checking Rights at the Border: Migrant Detention in International and Comparative Law", Virginia Journal of International Law; 60 (2019), No. 1, pp. 159-221.
- Omata, N. and N. Takahashi, Economic Reintegration of Returnees in Liberia," Forced Migration Review, no. 51 (Jan. 2016)
- Sozanski, A., K. Sarmiento and C. Reyes, Challenges to the Right to Work in Ecuador," Forced Migration Review, no. 51 (Jan. 2016)
- Tungohan, E., "International Approaches to Governing Temporary Labour Migrants : a Critical Assessment of the UN Committee on Migrant Workers, the ILO Conventions on Labour Migration, and the International Migrants Alliance", in J. Boulden and W. Kymlicka (eds.), International Approaches to Governing Ethnic Diversity, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 102-127.
- UN General Assembly, International migration and development. Report of the Secretary-General, 18 May 2006, UN Doc A/60/871.
- United Nations Convention on Migrants’ Rights, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
- Weiss, A., "Family Reunification at the Interface of EU Law and the European Convention on Human Rights", in sir R. Plender (ed.), Issues in International Migration Law, Leiden, Brill/Nijhoff, 2015, pp. 119-141.
Periodicals, serial publications
- European Journal of Migration and Law
- Georgetown immigration law journal
- Online Journal on Free Movement of Workers
- International Journal of Refugee Law
- Immigration and Nationality Law Review