Human Rights and Immigration at Sea

In Rubio-Marín R. (ed), Human Rights and Immigration, Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 212-260.
Tullio Scovazzi
Publication Year
Thematic Area
Law & Policies
Human Rights / Law – International / Migration / Refugee
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According to customary international law and the relevant treaties, illegal migrants have the right to be treated humanely and not as criminals. If they are in distress at sea, they have the right to be rescued and brought to safety. If they are also refugees, they have the right not to be returned to a place where they will be persecuted, to be allowed to apply for asylum, and the right not to be sent to a place where they could be tortured. But illegal migrants are the victims not only of smugglers, but also of a number of states which try to evade their legal and moral duties. If the rules in force do not offer sufficient protection for the weak, the only conclusion to be drawn is that the present regime should be improved.