The right to have rights as a right to enter: addressing a lacuna in the International Refugee Protection Regime

Asher Lazarus Hirsch, Nathan David Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This paper draws upon Hannah Arendt's idea of the 'right to have rights' to critique the current protection gap faced by refugees today. While refugees are protected from refoulement once they make it to the jurisdiction or territory of a state, they face an ever-increasing array of non-entrée policies designed to stymie access to state territory. Without being able to enter a state capable of securing their claims to safety and dignity, refugees cannot achieve the rights which ought to be afforded to them under international law. Drawing upon both legal theory and political philosophy, this paper argues that refugees today, just as the stateless in Arendt’s time, must be afforded the ‘right to have rights’, understood as a right to enter state territory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-437
Number of pages21
JournalHuman Rights Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Asylum
  • Hannah Arendt
  • International law
  • Refugees
  • Right to enter

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