This is a freedom that has been restricted to various degrees by governments around the world and continues to be a hot-button issue.
Most developed countries are signatory to seven international human rights treaties, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 13 of that treaty states that:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
2. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
As we have have painfully discovered, both the freedom to travel within our countrie’s borders, and the freedom to leave the country or return to it are fundamentally not what they used to be. Moreover, governments are providing us with little clarity or guarantee on when this status quo will change.
The question isn’t whether or not the coronavirus is deadly: it clearly is, having taken the lives of some 2.7 million people worldwide. The question is whether or not a respiratory disease that has killed 0.034 percent of the world’s population justifies a year of border closures — and counting.
We must remember that in addition to the emotional and financial costs of these restrictions, we have set a very clear and concerning precedent.
If, on this basis, if governments can remove a fundamental human right like the freedom of movement, what’s to stop them from doing it again for any reason they might choose?
Our media now speaks in apocalyptic terms about the threat of climate change: perhaps we will have our freedom to travel restored for only a few months before it’s decided that, going forward, all international travel will be dictated by a lottery system, or limited to one return trip a year?
If this sounds at all ridiculous, you need to have a conversation with the you of 13 months ago. What was unimaginable then is perfectly normal now. Human rights that we once deemed sacred are now shrugged off like so much piffle.
And the backlash I’ll now get—not for talking down the virus but for talking up our freedoms—will be proof of it.
Come on, tell me how evil I am in the comments section below:
I dare you.