Freedom of Movement
The legal framework
2014-12-18

Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • 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.

and Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

  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 which are 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.

states the population of an occupied territory the right, to move freely inside their territory as well as to move and return to their country freely.

Furthermore, international humanitarian law requires from the occupying power, to ensure the safety and well-being of the local residents, and to maintain, to the extent possible, normal living conditions.

If a Palestinian applies for a permit, first a security check and clearance must occur. As security clearance is a confidential process there has to be no reason mentioned by the Israeli authorities for denying the clearance certificate. If the permit is for a landowner who wants to reach his land through one of the gates of the Israeli separation boarder, he has first to proof his landownership. Then each person of the family, who wants to have access to the land, has to apply separately, even if it is members of the same family trying to gain access to the same land. If the person applying for the permit is an employee of a land owner, he must present a job contract, a document from the employer and an attorney’s declaration. A separate permit is required for tractors and other farming vehicles, which makes it impossible to cultivate the land if the land owner does not receive a permit for the vehicles.

Exit permits to Israel have similar procedure. After passing the security check, applicants have to give in several documents which prove their willingness to return to the occupied territories. In many cases the application is rejected, if it is approved the permit is mostly valid for just one day.

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