The 8th Training Session in International Migration & Human Rights - West Africa
The human being has always been exemplified by an ardent desire to move freely. This right to leave a point A and to choose a point B as a destination in all tranquility is governed by international law and the law of States. Migration is a universal historical phenomenon. Although Europe is now the place of attraction for migration, it has long been the cradle of many migratory flows.
Over the last few decades, the management of international migration flows and the issue of migration in general have become issues of strategic, economic, social and even security interest for States and are high on the agenda several regional bodies and the international community.
The analysis of this complex phenomenon calls for a multidimensional approach, a global approach, and a real will of countries which have the formidable obligation to ensure that migration takes place in a fair, mutually beneficial and dignified context for people. In a context of globalization, migration offers opportunities in that it is an economic and social phenomenon, but it also poses challenges related to the vulnerability of migrants and the complexity of the legal framework that governs the field. It creates a frontal opposition between two fundamental principles: the sovereignty of States and the protection of the rights of migrants. Even though international law recognizes the right of every individual to leave a country, including his or her own, and to return to his or her country of origin, he or she however is not freely grant the right to enter another country. This right is still an area reserved for States which have the sovereign power to decide on the criteria for the admission and expulsion of people who do not fall under their jurisdiction.
However, this prerogative falls within the limits of their obligations to respect human rights and any other commitment that limits their sovereignty in this area. The principle of sovereignty of States is a product of history, which made international law until 1945, a field reserved exclusively and exclusively for cooperation between States. It was an inter-State law with a single subject of law, the State itself. Following the atrocities of the Second World War, the international community decided, through the adoption of the Charter of the United Nations (called the San Francisco Charter of June 26, 1945), to oppose the sovereignty of the State in favour of ensuring dignity for human beings. International law thus evolves in favour of the consideration of the interests of the individual as a subject of law. This action of the international community results from the need and the need to put man at the center of all concerns by redefining his relations with a country. As a result, no country could treat its own nationals or those of other countries more at its will without the intervention of the international community. The absolute exercise of State sovereignty is thus limited by the interests of the international community, whose protection of human rights is one of its most important pillars.
In the face of this evolution of international law from an interstate law (elaborated according to the interests of States) towards a supra-state right in the name of values common to all mankind and superior to states (protection of the individual), the international community is challenged on the need for coherent governance of international migration, characterized by a common, comprehensive and concerted management of migration, based on the protection of the dignity of the human being. A joint framework should therefore be established to formulate the response that countries can make to international migration, taking into account the rights and responsibilities of migrants. It is important to entrench the human rights framework and a human rights-based approach in the international institutional architecture on migration.