The exclusion on the basis of “foreignness” occurs in a variety of ways. This website explores these themes. We also explore ideas, stories and issues relevant to the abolition of foreignness. Some of our themes are described below.
There is no more profound exclusion. Global wealth is distributed unequally across the world, excluding billions from a life of dignity. This exclusion is reinforced by social structures including borders which the poor are generally unable to cross.
Racism operates directly and indirectly to exclude people from real access to equality. Racism feeds unjust policies which deny people categorised as “other”: their human rights. Racism can feed social exclusion within communities and in turn breed cycles of hostility and violence. Treating “non-citizens” differently to “citizens”, apart from what else it amounts to – amounts to discrimination on the basis of race.
Much of what is published on this site relates directly to the question of foreigness: or thinking of people as being “foreigners”. Because of its pervasiveness it is important to challenge the assumption that it is OK to treat non-citizens differently – that they are somehow less entitled to human rights. Many articles explore how we unconsciously think in this way.
The work on this site seeks to learn from the human rights struggles of the past. How was legal slavery abolished? How has the emancipation of women been advanced? How did apartheid come to an end? Learning about these profound human rights achievements can help us better understand how to overcome human rights violations against non-citizens.
Inspirational men and women from the history of human rights whose lives and stories help us with the human rights challenges of today.
One of the most direct ways that exclusion on the basis of citizenship occurs is by denial of access to territory. Denial of freedom of movement. What this can mean to the potential immigrant is denial of the right to work, the right to safety and to education. Thousands of irregular migrants have lost their lives seeking to cross international borders.
Migrant workers are “foreigners” who have been allowed to enter the territory – typically because they are thought to perform an economically valuable role in the receiving countries. They may have skills that are in short supply in the receiving country, or be prepared to do work that others will not do. Despite their contribution migrant workers face profound discrimination. Most countries that are net migrant receiving countries have refused to ratify the treaty that protects the human rights of migrant workers: the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.
The way in which refugees are excluded is one of the most serious human rights issues facing non-citizens. Refugees may find themselves denied a wide range of human rights including such basic rights as freedom, the right to work, the right to education and the right to safety. Thousands of asylum seekers have lost their lives seeking to cross international borders.
The emancipation of women is one of the most insiprational movements for human equality. Women continue to struggle for equality. Women and children are disproportionally represented among the poor and the excluded.
The movement to abolish slavery is in at the very roots of modern human rights. The work of the abolitionists continues to be a source of learning. Modern day slavery and the denial of equal rights to non-citizens are deeply linked.