Political and Civil Liberties Elsewhere 3

How are political and civil liberties treated outside of liberal democracies? Here is how one country handles freedom of movement:  According to Human Rights Watch and other sources, Turkmenistan is a presidential republic on paper but functions as a dictatorship.[1] In 2018, Turkmenistan faced a severe economic crisis. The authorities blocked people from the regions most affected by the crisis from traveling: they could not seek work elsewhere in the country.[2] 

By contrast, in the United States, Article IV, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to include the right of all citizens to move from state to state as they please.  In practice, this right was often denied to people of color. They did not have adequate protections against racially motivated harassment and even murder. This defect was corrected when the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Guest, 383 U.S. 745 (1966) that public and private actors cannot conspire to deny citizens of their rights on public roads and bridges or any other interstate commerce facilities.

Image: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Unknown photographer.

Excerpted from Democracy is Precious.

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[1] See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Turkmenistan and https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/turkmenistan

[2] Human Rights Watch 2019. https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/turkmenistan

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