The situation of aliens or foreigners seems . . . to be one of the most serious, and at the same time most widespread, departures from the principle of the universality of human rights and one of the most manifest signs of intolerance and discrimination in our age.1
The position of migrant workers and their families in international law is inextricably connected to their status as aliens. Any established international legal rules concerned with the protection of aliens are therefore relevant when endeavouring to gauge the degree of protection migrants may expect to receive. Rudimentary standards regarding the treatment of aliens have developed over time and have become part of the international law of state responsibility. More recently, these standards have been reinforced, elaborated, and effectively superseded by the international community's recognition of rights pertaining to all human beings.
Throughout history aliens have always been treated differently from citizens. Traditional deprivations upon aliens have their roots 'deep in primitive suspicions and fears of the outsider'.2 Indeed, 'stranger' and 'enemy' were once labelled by the same word in a number of ancient languages, including Latin.3 The first historical records concerning differences in treatment between aliens and citizens may be traced to Ancient Greece and Rome.____________________