Enfranchising the disenfranchised: should refugees receive political rights in liberal democracies?

Felix Bender*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Should refugees receive political rights in liberal democracies? I argue that they should. Refugees are special – at least when it comes to claims towards democratic inclusion. They lack exit options and are significantly impacted by decisions made in liberal democracies. Enfranchisement is a matter of urgency to them and should occur on a national level. But what justifies the democratic inclusion of refugees? I draw on the all-subjected principle in arguing that all those subjected to rule in a political unit should have a say in such rule. I show that refugees cannot be denied democratic inclusion based on the argument that transients should be excluded from participation. Refugees are not transients. Finally, I show that naturalization is not a prerequisite for enfranchisement. Political rights and citizenship can be had independently of each other. Refugees, then, should be nationally enfranchised as soon as they receive refugee status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-71
JournalCitizenship Studies
Early online date20 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

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