Levels of Citizenship The Case of Refugee PolicyVolker von PrittwitzHow to understand the current crisis of refugee policy better? A basic, hitherto seldom perceived, issue regards levels of citizenship. A conclusion goes to think and to practically proceed in terms of multi-level citizenship.
NationalityCitizenship is prevailingly conceived of and institutionalized as nationality. A rigorous definition in this sense is given in the English Wikipedia version:Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the custom or law as being a member of a country. … A person who does not have citizenship of any state is said to be stateless. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CitizenshipNational citizenship (nationality) is primarily a juridical claim on regular rights of living in a nation-state according to the general juridicial standards of this country. Since only humans born in a nation-states’ territory and persons whose’ access has been explicitely accepted are told to be full citizens, all other humans staying in a country are discriminated as illegal, asylum-seeking, or something like that. Also the regular civil and political rights in nation-states, indeed, are often low:Even in a democratic state such as Germany national citizenship opens up only the participative right to take part in national elections - usually in a four-year cycle and as one voter amongst more than 40 millions in the country. In autocracies, this status is even much lower; basic human rights and political rights are usually only partly guaranteed or completely missing.On the other side, national autocracies often proclaim far-reaching claims of rule beyond the own borders - a unilateral program of expansion that easily passes into aggression. Possible forms of unilaterialism are nationalism, ethnical expansion, racist, religious-cultural, or otherwise ideological expansion. Also some forms of economic expansion can be interpreted as expressions of national predominance.Local citizenshipIn contrast to the opinion of a natural coincidence of citizenship with nationality, the concept of citizenship has historically developed from cities, that is urban local areas. Etymologically the term of citizenship refers to accepted individuals who live and politically participate in a city. A citizen in that sense is endowed with all basic rights - not only to live and work, but also to participate in a certain area; hence citizens usually feel committed to behave in a responsible way not only in their individual (vested) interests, but also regarding the public interest. That kind of citizenship implies the acceptance and practical use of procedures of political decision-making that require plurality, freedom of the other. Hence it is a deeply reciprocal and pluralistic institution.Citizenship in that sense obviously goes together best with the local level; since problems and chances of communal development can be immediately discussed, and citizen efforts and movements can influence political processes to the highest degree. Consequently, the most developed models of citizenship are so far local ones.Supra-national citizenship A particular type of citizenship results from tries to establish a supranational union such as the European Union. Differing from traditional international treaties and organizations such as WTO oder UNO, a supranational organisation operates based on an autonomous legal system. On the other side, supranational organizations do not dispose at genuine sovereign power; they, rather, are based on the transmission of power from their member-states - so-called derivated sovereignty.Indeed supranational law does exert immediate legal effects - another formulation for the priority of supranational law towards national law of the involved member-states. Differing from international law, supranational law can be enforced towards member-states who injure their legal obligations.The European Union is the only entity to provide for international popular elections, going beyond the level of political integration normally afforded by international treaty. Insofar, there is a specific participatory element of EU citizenship.Since basic preconditions of a vital citizenship such as a common public and a widespread attitude of joint commitment are existing only to a low degree, hitherto we cannot speak of a developed EU citizenship. Nevertheless such as citizenship does exist at least theoretically. Global (Earth) citizenshipThe idea of global citizenship goes back to ancient times - see the Greek philosopher Antisthenes, later in the era of enlightenment Hugo Grotius and Immanuel Kant. In the 20th century particularly after World War 1 and World War 2, many people confessed to being citizens of the Earth, and political movements for establishing a formal world citizenship emerged (with the print of world passes and things like that - see some practices also nowadays.) The concept mainly implies a basically humanitarian attitude: Any human is respected in the principally same way, endowed with basic dignity and all human rights. That’s why it appears to be consequential to establish Earth-wide civil and political rights. That principal idea can and should lead to develop a system of effectively protected human rights within and beyond nation-states and procedures of global participation. Aside of the value-based humanitarian approach, there is a second rational of global citizenship: Its ability and necessity to manage global challenges such as global peace, global welfare, and climate protection. Only if the humankind becomes aware of its collective challenges, it can survive and live in peace and welfare. Hence the humanitarian approach finds a functional establishment - best expressed in the term of Earth Citizenship (Earth Citizen). RelationsDifferent levels of citizenship can relate diversely - dependent on how far certain levels have developed and how exclusively they are exerted. Those relations, in turn, mainly correspond with leading ideas of unilaterality or multilateralily:•Unilateral citizenship is inspired by the idea of power to enforce and to expand the own sphere of dominance - in tendency the program of a one-level citizenship.
The principal connection between unilaterality and one-level systemsbecomes clear by looking at national unilaterality: A nation-state mainly motivated by strengthening its power (such as the USA or China) tends to focus on its national interests; it tends to take part in international politics sofar this realm of politics is usable for own national interests. International institutions such as the United Nations, indeed, are only welcome sofar they can be used for national interests; any strengthening of those institutions of their own, in contrast, is hampered or even obstructed…Also within their territories, unilaterally operating countries tend to strengthen national demands - based on a strictly national concept of citizenship; only clearly autocratic countries (like China), indeed, suppress internal multi-level structures of participation, while hybrids with democratic elements (see the USA) can afford and tolerate some internal multi-level structures (federalism).Specific patterns of uni-laterality are showed by totalitarian movements and organizations: They usually start operating from certain regional units and are lead in an autocratic way - leading to practical elevating and strengthening given power structures (see the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq). In principle, yet, they proclaim an expansion all over the Earth without sub-levels of their own. Hence aggressive uni-laterality operates with contradictory one-level programs. Less powerful countries usually take functional advantages of multilateral institutions more into consideration: Since they are not able to benefit from any unilateral exertion of power, they rely on fair general agreements and functional benefits of global institutions. Hence not big powers, but less powerful countries are likely the main actors to strive at effective global institutions - requiring comprehensive alliances and vivid communication.Multilateral patterns, it is true, can also play a role at single levels such as the (inter)national one - see multilateral negotations amongst nation-states. In tendency however, multilateralism implies the acceptance of overarching norms and institutions since free and fair practical procedures of pluralistic decision-making are possible only based on those norms and institutions. That’s why, in tendency, multilaterility and multi-level citizenship are congruent. In detail, indeed there is a certain spectrum of variance - see for instance more or less federal structures in Great Britan (developing federalism), Germany (developed federalism), or Finland (low federalism).Starting from the outlined typology, we can better understand diverse refugee policies. National refugee policyAccording to the national (one-level) concept, refugees are external applicants for living in another territory; the state of immigration is entitled to and is to controll the access of refugees completely - usually commented with formulas such as border guard or border security. If any, usually only immigrants who are considered useful or immigrants who are particularly legitimated get access. This type of refugee policy corresponds with the concept of absolute state sovereignty; it makes it possible to steer the access to a nation-state according to its basic capacities and declared will. Thus countries with a certain religious structure - for instance a distinct Catholic state like Poland or Saudi Arabia, a Wahhabi Sunni state, are free to block immigration by people with other religions; states with a certain ethnical structure may avoid any access of other ethnics, and so forth. Finally economic weak countries may allow the entrance only for relatively rich and economically useful persons, while economically strong countries can afford to let come in much more immigrants; vice versa countries with a distinct lack of population may even canvass immigration.Challenges of globalizationEarth CitizenshipAlthough national citizenship seems to be natural in a world of nation-states, it conflicts with some developments and challenges in the 21st century: •National spheres of regulation have lost power in an increasingly globalized economy. Thus transnational corporations can make pressure on national refugee policies by using or proclaiming national exit-options (going into another country if there are not enough fit and cheep workers in a country - usually resulting in an influence pro immigration). •Through the Internet and other recently developed techniques of communication the notion of absolute national sovereignty increasingly fails - see fast operating communication streams amongst refugees in diverse areas of their emigration path (home country - neighborhood - transition countries - country of immigration). •Lasting violent conflicts up to wars tend to spread beyond national borders - see on the one side the spreading of barbary up to terrorism, on the other side overregional streams of refugees (example Syria). •With increasing capacities of mobility international and intercultural migration streams tend to grow additionally. That’s why tendentially the immigration pressure on relative rich countries in peace does rise.
IPAInstitute for Political AnalysisProf. Dr. Volker von Prittwitz
•Wars like the Syrian War emerge not only because of intraregional processes; they rather develop in complex linkages between regional and international processes - see the impacts of the US-led military intervention in Iraq 2003, the disastrous US policy in Iraq after, and the so-called Arab Spring 2011/2012 based on superficial ideas of a democratic revolution by resistance and violence - ideas that have been fostered by US and European media. •Meanwhile principles of international law and humanitarian ethics conflict with national refugee policies. Representatives of these principles such as the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations like Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and Transparency International cannot completely shut down any longer. Against this background, a conflict between national citizenship and humanitarian principles is emerging. That conflict implies - at least latently - a conflict about different levels of citizenship: While refugees are practically stateless and without rights according to the view of national citizenship, they have basic human rights as every other citizen on this Earth according to the view of Earth Citizenship. In this view, it is deeply illegitimate and illegal to kill off refugees and to let them suffer from thirst, hunger, coldness, or criminality. Hence any person and organization responsible for killing of refugees, has to be arraigned - a conclusion that may entail some fuss in light of the existing power and functions of nation-states. Multi-level citizenshipSince nation-states hitherto fulfill significant functions such as political identification, integration, and coordination, the national level of citizenship must not be excluded of any realistic concept of citizenship. On the other side, the mentioned processes of globalization and resulting global challenges are real and consequential, too. That’s why reasonable policy-making and governance more and more requires to be based on principles of multi-level citizenship.These principles comprise:•Any human being, living on Earth, is citizen of this Earth. He or she is entitled to assume all human rights such as the rights to life and health, the right to be respected as equal and free, the rights to free thinking, believing, and opinion, as well as the right to free mobility. These rights have to be respected by everybody towards everybody.•On the other side, humans can organize freely such as in local and other sub-national units, in nation-states, international and suprational organizations, and finally in global institutions such as UN units. Any organization on any institutional level may coordinate its area of responsibility (in accord with the described human rights).•As long as childs are not able to understand and to decide what is going on, they are in a peculiar relationship to their parents; indeed, even in this phase basic human rights of protection such as the rights to life, health, best possible nutrition and accomodation have to be respected.•Any injury against human rights may be punished according to officially legitimated and legalized procedures.Conclusion for refugee policyNation-states are free to regulate the access and the treating of refugees in the framework of human rights.Refugee policy deals not only with issues of national access; at least implicitly, it refers also to given problems and policy options in diverse, sometimes distant, areas. Hence It should reflect given problem relations (causal factors) in an international cohesion.