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Argument: Migrants have a right to family reunification

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Joanna Apap, Nicholas Sitaropoulos. "The right to family unity and reunification of third country migrants in host states: Aspects of international and European law." December 18 organization. June 2001: "One of the fundamental human rights established unconditionally, as will be demonstrated, on the international and national planes, is the right to found a family. However the migrant's living with his/her family in a host state is not merely a human right. It is also a catalyst for the migrant's creative presence and participation in the host society, since the above right is directly liaised with every person's crucial right to human dignity. The vital importance of migrants' family unity is evidenced by the fact that persons admitted in host states internationally on family reunification grounds are estimated to represent approximately 30% of the total international population of migrants, the latter being estimated to be around 150 million in 19997. In many European states the above percentage rises, when the asylum seekers are excluded, to 80-90% of the total migrant population8. Aim of the present paper is the presentation and analysis of the right to family unity and reunification of alien migrants in host states, at the international and European levels. After defining the evolving legal concept of family in contemporary international human rights law and European law, this paper proceeds to the examination of the right to family unity and reunification of alien migrants in the context of international human rights law. The third section of the paper deals with the same right in the framework of the dynamic human rights protection mechanisms of the Council of Europe, especially that of the European Convention on Human Rights. The final section presents the development of the protection of alien migrants' family unity and reunion in the legal order of the EU, currently under a thorough review by the competent EU legislative organs. This section is complemented by a detailed comparison between the legal status of EU nationals and that of third country nationals. It has been a thesis of the writers that the human right to family unity and reunion is now a widely recognized and well-established one, albeit subject to a constant development in the framework of international, of European and consequently of domestic, law. As shown below, it is a widely accepted human right that operates in conjunction with the primal, dynamic human right to found and live with a family.

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