An evolved 'Province of all mankind' for humanity's future migration to outer space
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 20:33 by Andrew James Butler
The eventual migration of humans to outer space appears extremely likely when humanity’s development is viewed through the long‐term lens of the emerging discipline of ‘Big History’. When this future migration occurs, unexamined legal questions will arise at the intersection of international space law and international migration law. One possible governance model assisting such migration to outer space arises from an evolved understanding of the Outer Space Treaty, in particular its statement at Article I that the ‘exploration and use of outer space … shall be the province of all mankind.’ The potential exists, de lege ferenda, to recognise the international legal personality of ‘mankind’ (or humankind), endowing this provision with the important role of investing residual sovereignty and ultimate title over areas of outer space in all of humanity. This thesis advocates such an evolutionary interpretation of the province provision, by recognising that the ordinary meaning of the word ‘province’ and both the activities of ‘exploration’ and ‘use’ all have legal associations with territory. Such a territorial conception can be highly facilitative of future migration to outer space and governance of space communities, by resulting in: 1) freedom of movement in outer space as an individual human right; 2) the bifurcation of sovereignty enabling territorial administration and resource utilisation by other subjects of international law; and 3) the ability for humankind to require acceptance of its compulsory jurisdiction over international disputes arising in outer space. This thesis undertakes a detailed examination of the Treaty’s travaux préparatoires to find a level of support exists within its negotiation history for this bold interpretation. Finally the term ‘the province of all mankind’ is analysed in each of the Treaty’s official languages, with this territorial conception of the province provision offering a unity of meaning between these five equally authentic texts.