Main Debates

  • What restrictions may States place on the right to leave one’s country, (if any)?
  • Right to leave vs. right to be admitted to another country

Main Points

  • Legal basis for the right to leave
  • Discriminatory restrictions on the right to leave
  • Interaction with the right to seek and enjoy asylum


  1. United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN General Assembly Resolution, A/RES/217 A (III), 10 December 1948, Art. 13.
  2. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, 999 U.N. T. S. 171, Art. 12.


  1. Council of Europe, European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 4 November 1950 (213 E.T.S. 222), Article 2.2 of Protocol 4.

Soft law

  1. UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment no. 27, CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.9, November 1999.
  2. Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, ‘The Right to Leave One’s Country’, October 2013.


  1. Stamose v. Bulgaria, European Court of Human Rights, Application no. 29713/05, 27 November 2012.



  1. C. Harvey and R. Barnidge, ‘The right to leave one’s country under international law’, Global Commission on International Migration, September 2005.

Editors’ note

See also Section I.4.1 on Internally Displaced Persons.