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86 Nordic J. Int'l L. 1 (2017)

handle is hein.journals/nordic86 and id is 1 raw text is: 

                  NORDIC JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW                  OURNAL
 BRILL                          86 (2017) 1-29                          LAW
NIJHOFF                                                              brili.corn/nord

Wasted Lives. Borders and the Right to Life of

People Crossing Them

         Thomas Spijkerboer
      Professor of Migration Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam,
      The Netherlands


States are obliged to protect the right to life by law. This article analyses the way in
which states do this in the field of aviation law, maritime law and the law on migrant
smuggling. A comparative description of these fields shows that states differentiate in
protecting the right to life. Regular travellers benefit from extensive positive obliga-
tions to safeguard their right to life, whereas the lives of irregularised travellers are
protected first and foremost by combating irregularised migration and, if the worst
comes to pass, by search and rescue. The right of states to exclude aliens from their
territories leads to exclusion of irregularised travellers from their main positive obli-
gations under the right to life. This situation is analysed through Zygmunt Bauman's
notion of 'wasted lives'. The contrast with aviation and maritime law makes clear that
this situation is the outcome of human choice, which can be changed.


border deaths - migration - right to life - aviation law - maritime law - migrant

i This article has been made possible by the dedicated research assistance of Anne de Hingh,
   Banafsheh Mogadassi Mahalatti and Judith Verbeek. It was inspired by critical feedback to
   the Human Costs of Border Control project by Marc Schuilenburg on 29 October 2013. Pieter
   Boeles has been crucial in overcoming blockades during the writing process. The draft has
   further benefited from the perceptive comments of an anonymous reviewer, and of Paolo
   Cuttitta, Marieke de Hoon, Lisa Komp, Pablo Mendes De Leon, as well as from the feedback
   during the Seventh Bergen aan Zee seminar on 2-3 June 2015, and during a seminar at the
   Law Faculty in Lund on 13 November 2015. Research for this article was conducted as part of
   the project 'Border Policies and Sovereignty: Human Rights and the Right to Life of Irregular
   Migrants; supported by Dutch NWO Vici grant number 453-12-004.

KONINKLIJKE BRILL NV, LEIDEN, 2017 1 DOI 10.1163/15718107-08601004

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