Passports Were Never Supposed to be Forever

Posted by Stephen Petrey on Sunday, September 1, 2019

Unpslash: @nicolegeri

Once upon a time, it was once the opinion of world leaders that passports should be abolished. Nearly a century ago, passports were a framework established to identify citizenship during times of war. It served a specific purpose, to install restrictions on freedom of movement. The consensus after the Great War, was to abolish passports and return back to pre-war conditions:

During the conferences that followed, several resolutions again highlighted the goal of abolishing passports, but concluded that the time was not yet right. In 1924, the International Conference of Emigration and Immigration in Rome maintained that “the necessity of obtaining passports should be abolished as soon as possible” but in the meantime advocated other measures to facilitate travel. These measures included an increase in the number of offices delivering passports, allowing emigrants to save time and money.

In Geneva in 1926, Polish delegate, Franciszek Sokal, opened proceedings by bluntly asking the parties to adopt “as a general rule that all States Members of the League of Nations should abolish passports”.

Obviously, that never happened, as Word War II began to take shape and changed world history forever. Now, sadly we all have to keep papers to maintain our “freedom of movement.”


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