Your right to move

We live in a globalized world where borders of nations are being exchanged by a broader vision of the world, at least this is how our global civil society perceives it. We are all connected to each other, either through the coffee I drink, the clothes you produce or the internet we use. Protesters in Egypt or Syria write their banners in English, because they know foreign media is watching. Skype allows separated families to feel closer.

But the way the world works clashes with a prevailing strong attachment to the idea of nation-states. The rise of far right extremism in many countries in Europe, conflicts between the US and Iran or North Korea or the Arab Spring with countries “reinventing” themselves show us that globalization doesn’t undermine nation-states.

However it is also clear that nation-states are transforming themselves in response to the complexities of globalization. The question is: how are they doing this? Are they creating international business incentives? Are they making it easier for foreign academics to work in their country? Are they shutting borders or making traveling easier?

The latter question is of great interest. Freedom of movement is a basic human right. If you don’t get a visa to travel to a certain country, you won’t be able to visit the conference you were invited to, you won’t be able to see the sister living elsewhere, you won’t be able to get to know the traditions of another country. If you are denied a visa, you are being deprived of your rights. This is not obvious to many people. Denial of your freedom of movement is a clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 13 says: “Everyone has the right to leave any country (…) and return to his country”.

Author: Josephine Landertinger Forero

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