Global Citizenship


A global citizen is an individual who identifies with an emerging world community and his actions shapes the values of that particular community. Historically, people have always continued to form communities on the basis of shared identity. Thus such identities are intertwined in such a way that they respond to a host of human needs, for instance economic, religious, political or social needs. As a group grows larger and stronger it tends to organize itself into a community and strive to build structures that govern them. Recently, global forces are helping some individuals to identify themselves as global citizens who acquire a sense of belonging to a global community.

Recently, technological improvements in modern information, transportation and communications technologies have increased the trend for global identity. Further, it has facilitated the movement of people from one geographical region to another either to look for employment opportunities, trade, refugees, migrants or asylum seekers. Citizenship is defined as a set of entitlements that provides an individual with an opportunity to acquire full membership of the community. When individuals become global citizens they are entitled to certain duties and rights as per the provisions of Human Rights Act.  Membership in a global community gives global citizens the right to collective exercise in relation to self-governance. Global citizens are entitled to enjoy similar rights and privileges as national citizens as per the provisions of contemporary constitutions (Hans, 2007).

Human rights are fundamental freedoms and rights to which humans are entitled regardless of whether they are global citizens or national citizens. The 1948 UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) establishes basic human rights. These rights are universal and therefore they are conditioned on citizens from a particular geographical region or citizenship. For example, in the United States, the constitution gives all individuals certain rights and protection as per the provisions of the US laws. International law recognizes that global citizens are usually exposed to human right abuses since they are usually removed from their own community. Hence, human rights seek to protect immigrants from any form of abuse in foreign countries (Marchetti, 2006).

In most cases, refugees and asylees are particularly the most vulnerable groups. In order to protect global citizens, the international law on human rights stipulates that immigrants must be granted equal rights in relation to life, justice, security, freedom of religion, as well as the right from arbitrary arrest of detention. However, the United States law on immigration always do not support human rights especially for non-citizens. Certain federal, as well as state laws discriminate between global citizens and national citizens (Hans, 2007).

Freedom of movement forms one of the most fundamental of human right. In most countries, the right to travel has been recognised by the constitution. For example, in the US, the freedom of movement has its provisions from the Immunities and Privileges Clause, as well as in the 14th amendment. Emblematic laws requires that citizens of particular state has the freedom to travel to any destination and are free to return to the country any time they wish provided they have proper documentation. Equally significantly, citizens should have the right to travel, work or reside in any part of the country without being interfered with by the government (Hans 2007).

Conventionally, global citizens are provided with three sets of rights and they are distinguished in the context of civil, socio-economic, as well as political rights. Further, these rights are integrated with the practices of naturalization. The fundamental human rights defined by individual country’s constitution define fundamental duties, responsibilities and privileges that a citizen may enjoy within and across the territorial boundaries. This forms the foundation for allegiance where citizens are required to be loyal to their own country and extend this loyalty beyond boarders. However, there has been an increasing pressure from a normative point of view as most countries try to amend their constitutions to ensure that global citizens almost enjoy similar rights with the national citizens. However, due to current trends of migration, many states are modifying their constitution to allow for double or multiple nationalities (Juss 2006).

In sociological perspective, migration occurs when people move from one community or geographical region to another. Local migration is not a new phenomenon since people have been migrating from historical times for various reasons. Migration has been identified as one of the major reasons that contribute to global citizenship due to socio-economic factors that facilitates movement of people from one region to another. In most cases, people will normally migrate to another geographical region as scientists, traders, refugees or as artists (Hans 2007).

Nonetheless, in this context, international law plays a significant role in defining the rights, responsibilities and privileges of global citizens. The law provides migratory policies that ensure that immigrants are protected by the constitution against any form of discrimination in foreign countries. Although human rights have been recognized across the globe, it has become challenging to national sovereignty in diverse aspects. The rights of an immigrant to admission are usually defined by individual country’s constitution. Traditionally each country’s immigration laws were accepted as standard where the freedom of movement was faced with numerous restrictions. However, as countries accommodate the changes that have occurred across the globe as a result of globalization minimal limits to freedom of movement are being considered (Hakan 2010).


Different countries have dissimilar rules of migration as guided by their constitution; moreover, once the migrants are forced to move out of their own country for whatever reason, they have to consider the rules of admission.  If a country has stringent admission rules, then the rest of the countries will receive increasing immigration requests. In terms of basic regulation of political justice, the freedom of choice for a global citizen has been viewed by constitution of most countries as tool for social welfare maximization. Therefore, based on this universalistic nature of normative politics immigrants enjoys similar rights with national citizens.