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Part II Specific Issues and Regimes, C Geneva Convention IV, 2 Civilians in the Hands of the Enemy: General Protection, Ch.57 The Right to Leave »

Pamela Anne Hylton
From: The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary
Edited By: Andrew Clapham, Paola Gaeta, Marco Sassòli
This chapter discusses the civilian’s right to leave a territory under Geneva Convention (GC) IV. The right to leave is not an absolute right, and limitations apply especially during armed conflicts. Under Article 35 GC IV, all protected persons are entitled to leave the territory at the outset of or during a conflict, unless their departure is ‘contrary to the national interests of the State’. State practice also demonstrates broader limitations on the right to leave, which arguably go beyond the circumstances envisioned in GC IV: as a matter of national sovereignty, states are adamant about maintaining control over the entry, exit, and free movement of people within their borders, as ‘no state will accept another’s dictate as to what constitutes national interest, especially in time of war’.