Unequal access to human rights: the categories of noncitizenship

David Weissbrodt, Michael Divine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


International human rights law consists of a body of basic rights and principles that States are to enforce with respect to every person within their borders. The unfortunate reality, however, is that many States are incapable of ensuring the rights of everyone, and in some instances simply do not wish to do so. Accordingly, citizenship serves as an acknowledgment by a State that the status holder is entitled to a higher degree of protection. Conversely, noncitizens may enjoy less rights than citizens, and certain categories of noncitizens frequently find themselves outside of the State’s protection entirely. This article outlines many of the rights that international law directs should be enjoyed by every human being, the factors that contribute to unequal enjoyment of these rights, and the categories of noncitizen associated with the mediated allocation of basic human rights.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)870-891
Number of pages22
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 17 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.


  • Human rights
  • citizenship
  • international law
  • noncitizenship


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