1st Edition

Can Human Rights and National Sovereignty Coexist?

Edited By Tetsu Sakurai, Mauro Zamboni Copyright 2023

    Looking at two of the key paradigms of the post-Cold War era–national sovereignty, and human rights – this book examines the possibilities for their reconciliation from a global perspective.

    The real or imagined fear of a flood of immigrants has caused and fuelled the surge of an amalgam of populist political forces, anti-immigrant movements, and exclusionist nationalism in many developed countries. In the last decade, we have witnessed the emergence of two phenomena in the political and legal spheres. On the one hand, there are liberal globalists asking for respect and the protection of the basic human rights of migrants and asylum seekers and arguing for their civic and social integration into host societies. On the other hand, there are growing calls for a tougher stance on immigration, and powerful populist politicians and governments have emerged in many developed countries. How can the idea of universal human rights survive exclusionist nationalism that uses a populist, unscrupulous approach to its advantage? The contributors to this book explore the meaning of, and possible solutions to, this dilemma using a wide range of approaches and seek appropriate ways of dealing with these normative predicaments shared by many developed societies.

    Scholars and students of human rights, migration, nationalism and multiculturalism will find this a very valuable resource.


    Tetsu Sakurai

    Part 1 Tension between National Sovereignty and Rights of Immigrants

    1. Human Rights to Asylum and Non-Refoulement: Rights of Expulsi and Suppliants in the System of Natural and Volitional Law Formulated by Hugo Grotius

    Rainer Keil

    2. Self-determination and Immigration Control: A Critique

    Kevin Ip

    3. International Borders, Immigration and Nondomination

    Joshua Kassner

    Part 2 State Legislation and the Statuses of Immigrants

    4. Law-Making to Face the Migration Crisis: Developing Legislative Policy (Analysing the Swedish Case)

    Mauro Zamboni

    5. Can the Law Create Discrimination? Migration, Territorial Sovereignty and the Search for Equality

    Valeria Marzocco

    6. The Gap between Constitutional Rights and Human Rights: The Status of ‘Foreigners’ in Constitutional Law and International Human Rights Law

    Akiko Ejima

    Part 3 Human Rights and Border Control

    7. From Formalist Circumvention to Substantive Fulfilment: Taking Human and Fundamental Rights Seriously in European Migration Policy

    Frederik von Harbou

    8. Does International Human Rights Protection Trigger a Copernican Revolution for Immigration Law?

    Stefan Schlegel

    9. Migration, Neighbourliness, and Belonging

    Steven Scalet

    10. Reflective Inclusiveness as a Bridge between Human Rights and Nationalistic Attachment

    Tetsu Sakurai


    Mauro Zamboni


    Tetsu Sakurai is Professor of Contemporary Jurisprudence in the Graduate School of Intercultural Studies at Kobe University, Japan.

    Mauro Zamboni is Professor in Legal Theory at the Faculty of Law, Stockholm University, Sweden.

    This volume addresses one of the most vital questions of modern law and justice: How can we reconcile the universal and transcendent value of human rights with the more local national communities that bring so much meaning and security to our lives? Tetsu Sakurai and Mauro Zamboni have gathered the most thoughtful and learned scholars from Asia, Europe, and America to consider these important questions from slightly different perspectives, yielding a subtle and valuable consensus on many points, while indicating interesting paths for future reflection. This study will be of great value to anyone who seeks global justice in our necessarily diverse and multipolar world.

    Mortimer Sellers, Regents Professor of the University System of Maryland and Former President of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR)


    Migration and integration are very topical global challenges that raise a multitude of pressing legal and ethical questions. The anthology brings together ten essays by leading international scholars who explore the tension between human rights and national sovereignty from different perspectives. The combination of theoretical analysis and case studies makes reading extremely worthwhile for anyone interested in global migration issues.

    Frank Dietrich, Professor of Political Philosophy and Ethics, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf