Wasted Lives. Borders and the Right to Life of People Crossing Them

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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 obligations
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 obligations
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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalNordic Journal of International Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Wasted Lives. Borders and the Right to Life of People Crossing Them'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this