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Document Details :

Title: Zwischen Gastfreundschaft und gleichem Recht
Subtitle: Ethische Überlegungen zur Migrationspolitik
Author(s): MERKS, Karl Wilhelm
Journal: Bijdragen
Volume: 64    Issue: 2   Date: 2003   
Pages: 144-164
DOI: 10.2143/BIJ.64.2.837

Abstract :
The contribution discusses one of the most severe social problems of today: the fair treatment of aliens and immigrants. In a long tradition, the rights, but also the duties of the alien were determined by the principle and practice of hospitality. In modern society, the principle of hospitality no longer has this traditional importance. This should, however, not at all costs be seen as moral decay. First of all, it is the result of changing social structures. The immediate relations between people have in part been replaced by institutional regulations, for example, charity by social insurances. Through this, our concept of self is changing as well: legal claims, and the corresponding duties, have replaced the dependence on the clemency of others. Next to the continuing value of the virtue of hospitality, another type of ethics becomes important. This is a type which is oriented towards the care for just structures and institutions, and which tries to realise this in the refractory complexity of social processes. After all, social patterns are not inevitable, nor is social justice automatically created: accordingly, they need social and political guidance. In the first section, such a modern social ethics is briefly discussed, starting from the definition that it is a theory of boundary changes of the feasible from the perspective of greater justice. After this methodical introduction, the tendency in our societies towards migration-unfriendly laws is discussed (“The limits of hospitality: guests who are welcome and those who are not”). The following section discusses the central aspects of hospitality and the changes “from hospitality to human rights”. From a consistent ethos of human rights, the question arises to what extent the position of migrants should more explicitly be filled in from the point of view of human rights, instead of being based on charitable dependency, and what that should mean for the legal order. The last section discusses the difficult process of the tangible realization of human rights within society (“Human rights and their tangible realization”).

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