Is owning a passport a right or a privilege? An analysis of the different meanings behind the notion of a passport in light of the right to freedom of movement

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Bashour, Tarek
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The implications of WW I can still be seen in the current time. One of these is the passport system which was implemented as a temporary measure after the outbreak of the war. This outdated system is still applicable today with no mentionable changes. Passports play a major role in international mobility, surveillance and state monopolisation. But there is no international definition of the passport and its functions. In this research, the author analysed the passport in its historical context, tracing the important stages this document has undergone. An understanding of the notion of the passport in its historical context was essential for determining its current situation. In this thesis, the notion of the passport is analysed in light of the right to freedom of movement, to provide a legal understanding of passports and their position in international law. This work provides a comparative study of the legal framework regarding passports in Germany and Syria, taking into account their obligations according to the regional and international conventions these states have ratified. It is argued in this thesis that passports are still a privilege in many countries in the world in which people do not have access to them. States should not arbitrarily deprive their subjects of owning a passport. Passports are an official document for international travel issued by the respective authority, indicating the nationality of the bearer, serving as an identification document, and entitling the bearer to leave, to return and to claim the diplomatic protection of the issuing state. The abolition of the passport system is impossible. However, the conditions for admitting or excluding travellers into and from foreign territories should be more individual than collective and not depend only on the document which travellers possess. INDEX WORDS: passport, travel document, freedom of movement, right to leave, right to enter, Germany, Syria, safe conduct, international mobility, ICCPR, UDHR, identification, diplomatic protection, discrimination, human rights, citizenship, nationality.
Second semester University: University of Tartu
citizenship, nationality, freedom of movement, Germany, Syria, international obligations, national state, human rights, international law