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Freedom of Transit

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Document pages: 17 pages

Abstract: Nearly one-fifth of the states of the international community are without access to the sea i.e. they do not possess a coastline. By virtue of their geographical location, these states do not have access to marine resources and encounter severe limitations in their participation in international trade. The states without access to and from the sea are described as land-locked states. For these land-locked nations free access to the sea is linked to the question of transit. Goods originating from these states or entering into these states must pass through the territory of their neighbouring states. The neighbouring states through whose territory these goods pass are known as the transit states.Since the land-locked states have to borrow the territory of their neighbouring states, they are dependent on them for providing them with adequate means of transport facility for transit of their goods. But the land-locked states do not have any control over these transport facilities and transit countries have sometimes used their strategic position as an economic and political lever against the land-locked states. As mentioned above the free access to the sea is linked to the question of transit therefore, freedom of transit should exist for the land-locked states. Freedom of transit in general terms means the freedom to pass through the territory of any other state in order to have an access to the sea or to reach markets. Since, most of the land-locked states are either developing or least developed; freedom of transit is of utmost importance to them as it will help boost their economy.Land-locked states have always demanded an unconditional right of access to the sea and transit states have always countered this with the argument of state sovereignty. The importance of right of access to the sea for the land-locked states cannot be undermined but for their right the transit states cannot be put at stake. So, for the protection of the transit states there are certain situations under which transit can be refused like to protect the sovereignty, maintenance of public order, to protect the animal, plant or human life, etc.

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