HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH; Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law, HLS


Large numbers of child migrants today—here referred to as "Arendt's children"—are functionally stateless, whether or not they have a legal nationality. The fundamental rights to protection, family life, education, and health care that these children have, in theory, under international law are unenforceable in practice. Moreover, their access to state entities willing and able to protect them is tenuous at best. This article surveys the obstacles to rights enforcement across a range of jurisdictions and contexts. It argues that, given their disenfranchised and precarious situation, these children have a stronger claim than has so far been acknowledged to effective advocacy and enforcement of their human rights within the states where they live.


Bhabha, Jacqueline. "Arendt's Children: Do Today's Migrant Children Have a Right to Have Rights?" Human Rights Quarterly 31.2 (May 2009): 410-451.