You have the right to leave your country of origin. However, whether you are allowed to enter another country depends on various circumstances, such as your reasons for leaving your home country or the country you are from.

Migration encompasses all kinds of movement of people, it may be voluntary or forced. The reasons why people leave their home are usually called push and pull factors – some people are pushed to leave their countries because of conflict, natural disasters or persecution. Others are pulled to countries for reasons such as better economic prospects, education or climate. 

There is no universally accepted definition for “migrant”. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) uses “migrant” as an umbrella term for a person who moves away from his or her place of usual residence, whether within a country or across an international border, temporarily or permanently, and for a variety of reasons. The term includes a number of categories of people, such as migrant workers, international students, asylum-seekers, and more.

Migration, asylum & Human rights

It is important to make a distinction between different categories of migrants, as they are entitled to different rights and protections. International human rights instruments provide that all persons, including migrants, are entitled to fundamental human rights, such as right to life, freedom from torture, right to liberty and security, among others. However, refugees are entitled to wider rights than other types of migrants, since they are not protected by their own country of origin.

About this Guide

This Guide will explain the difference between general migration and seeking asylum. It explains in which cases you have the right to enter another country, what are the consequences of entering without a legal ground, and what are your rights as an asylum-seeker or a refugee.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education