Mass Migrations and Public Emergencies: Where do Human Rights Fit In?

In constitutional law, situations of public emergency (PE) relate mostly to war, terrorism, civil unrest and natural disasters of large scale; little attention has been given so far to other phenomena. Despite the fact that migrations historically form a part of human identity, attitudes towards them changed drastically in the last decades, especially in the developed countries to the extent that (il)legal migration policies already play a dominant role in the public discourse. With strong emphasis on intertwining migrations with a threat and, ultimately, to criminalise them, a door opens to apply the same sentiment in scenarios of PE. Drawing on Loevy, author claims that laws of exception clearly show shortfalls of traditional European human rights regimes in time of mass migratory 'crisis' (e.g. PE derogation clauses; balancing tests for limiting rights) and raise fundamental questions on the legitimacy and compliance of national PE-like regulations with international obligations.