Freedom of movement

Freedom of movement, mobility rights, or the right to travel is a human rights concept encompassing the right of individuals to travel from place to place within the territory of a country,[1] and to leave the country and return to it. The right includes not only visiting places, but changing the place where the individual resides or works.[1][2]

Such a right is provided in the constitutions of numerous states, and in documents reflecting norms of international law. For example, Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts that:

  • "Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state."
  • "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."[3]

Some people and organizations advocate an extension of the freedom of movement to include a freedom of movement – or migration – between the countries as well as within the countries.[4][5] The freedom of movement is restricted in a variety of ways by various governments and may even vary within the territory of a single country.[1] Such restrictions are generally based on public health, order, or safety justifications and postulate that the right to these conditions preempts the notion of freedom of movement.[6]