Front Page Titles (by Subject) Rights and the Brain Drain - Literature of Liberty, October/December 1978, vol. 1, No. 4
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
Rights and the “Brain Drain” - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, October/December 1978, vol. 1, No. 4 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
This work is copyrighted by the Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, and is put online with their permission.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Rights and the “Brain Drain”
“Human Rights and the Brain Drain.” International Migration 15 (1977): 281–287.
National governments and international organizations have exerted increasing pressure to condemn and thereby prevent the so-called “brain drain.” What is really at stake is a question of human rights. The “brain drain” actually describes the free migration of persons with scarce skills or knowledge out of poorer countries to richer ones that can reward them for the use of their special talents.
The present state of international law nominally guarantees the free migration of persons. The right to migrate is guaranteed explicitly and implicitly by a host of international covenants and national constitutions.
Extending the basic rights proclaimed in the French Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789), the United Nations affirmed in Article 13(2) of its Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10, 1948) the right of self-determination: “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” What undercuts this right, however, is a later United Nations restriction [Article 12(2) of the Draft Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of December 17, 1959]: “Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own, except where (3) necessary to protect national security, public order, public health or morals or rights or freedoms of others.”
Likewise guaranteed is the right to live abroad indefinitely and the right to return to one's native place. In the absence of a special treaty, the right to recall a migrant by the native country does not exist, while the right to admit and expel an alien is solely the internal affair of the host country. Unfortunately, enforcement of the right to migrate under international laws is lacking.