Freedom of movement  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Freedom of movement, mobility rights or the right to travel is a human right concept that the constitutions of numerous states respect. It asserts that a citizen of a state in which that citizen is present has the liberty to travel, reside in, and/or work in any part of the state where one pleases within the limits of respect for the liberty and rights of others, and to leave that state and return at any time.

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History

Europe

When Augustus established the Roman Empire in 27 BC, he assumed monarchical powers over the new Roman province of Egypt and was able to prohibit senators from traveling there without his permission. However, Augustus would also allow more liberty to travel at times. During a famine in 6 AD, he attempted to relieve strain on the food supply by granting senators the liberty to leave Rome and to travel to wherever they wished.

In England, in 1215, the right to travel was enshrined in Article 42 of the Magna Carta:

It shall be lawful to any person, for the future, to go out of our kingdom, and to return, safely and securely, by land or by water, saving his allegiance to us, unless it be in time of war, for some short space, for the common good of the kingdom: excepting prisoners and outlaws, according to the laws of the land, and of the people of the nation at war against us, and Merchants who shall be treated as it is said above.

In the Holy Roman Empire, a measure instituted by Joseph II in 1781 had permitted serfs freedom of movement. The serfs of Russia were not given their personal freedom until Alexander II's Edict of Emancipation of 1861. At the time, most of the inhabitants of Russia, not only the serfs but also townsmen and merchants, were deprived of freedom of movement and confined to their places of residence.

United Nations Declaration

After the end of hostilities in World War II, the United Nations was established on October 24, 1945. The new international organization recognized the importance of freedom of movement through documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966). Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly, reads,

The text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.]](1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights incorporates this right into treaty law:

(1) Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.
(2) Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.
(3) The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.
(4) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.

The ICCPR entered into force for the initial ratifying states on 23 March 1976, and for additional states following their ratification. In 1999, the U.N. Human Rights Committee, which is charged with interpreting the treaty, issued its guidelines for Article 12 of the ICCPR in its "General Comment No. 27: Freedom of Movement".

While the treaty sets out the freedom of movement in broad and absolute terms, part four of Article 12 of the ICCPR admits that these freedoms may be restricted for a variety of reasons in the public interest. This clause is often cited to justify a wide variety of movement restrictions by almost every country that is party to it.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Freedom of movement" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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