Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights publishes Issue Paper: "The right to leave a country"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The right to leave a country, including one’s own, without unjustified restrictions, is enshrined in Article 2 of Protocol 4 to the ECHR. The paper considers challenges to this right, such as restrictive exit measures or travel bans imposed by states at the instigation of other states in pursuance of the latter’s immigration and border control policies. It also explores the correlative right to seek and enjoy asylum, protected under the Universal Declaration, which is reportedly restricted on the grounds that the prospective asylum claim is either unjustified or damaging to the reputation of the country of origin. The paper also criticises the restrictive exit measures of Western Balkan governments, which particularly discriminate against the Roma, aimed at stemming migration flows following EU visa liberalisation. The impact of EU externalisation of various border control policies (such as mandatory visa requirements and readmission agreements), aimed at combating irregular EU entry, is also a cause for concern for the right to leave a country. The paper concludes by recommending states to ensure that their travel document policies and border and immigration controls are compliant with the right to leave and non-discriminatory.

Read the October 2013 Issue Paper in full.

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Freedom of movement (right to)
Council of Europe
Commissioner for Human Rights
international asylum law
border management