Travel Restrictions Violate International Law

Science, 367(6485): 1436 (2020)

1 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2020

See all articles by Benjamin Mason Meier

Benjamin Mason Meier

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Roojin Habibi

University of Ottawa

Y. Tony Yang

George Washington University

Date Written: March 27, 2020

Abstract

From China's lockdown of the city of Wuhan to U.S. restrictions on travelers from Europe to border closures across a widening range of countries, governments are increasingly seeking to limit freedom of movement in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). These travel restrictions have slowed, but not halted, the spread of the pandemic. However, the necessity and benefits of this public health response are outweighed by its violation of international law. Under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR), binding on all World Health Organization (WHO) member states, health measures “shall not be more restrictive of international traffic and not more invasive or intrusive to persons than reasonably available alternatives.” Given the effectiveness of community-based public health measures such as social distancing and contact tracing, the necessity of travel bans must be weighed against less restrictive alternatives, increased global divisions, and violated IHR obligations.

Suggested Citation

Meier, Benjamin Mason and Habibi, Roojin and Yang, Y. Tony, Travel Restrictions Violate International Law (March 27, 2020). Science, 367(6485): 1436 (2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3634290

Benjamin Mason Meier (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ( email )

CB 3435
103 Abernethy Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States
919-962-0542 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://bmeier.web.unc.edu/

Roojin Habibi

University of Ottawa ( email )

2292 Edwin Crescent
Ottawa, Ontario K2C 1H7
Canada

Y. Tony Yang

George Washington University ( email )

1919 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, DC 20006
United States

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