The Emigrants' Charter

Advocated by the Bureau of Xeno Relations and brought into law in 2316, the Emigrants' Charter is seen as one of the most significant achievements of the 2nd dynasty of the Resource Management World Government. The Charter enshrined a set of rights which human colonists should expect if they chose to live on one of the newly discovered extra-solar planets that were being opened up for mass migration. These rights included limited voting privileges which were more liberal than those allowed on Earth at the time, a guaranteed proportionate share of a class of seed materials the World Government promised to provide to kick start the colonies and an option to return to Earth after ten years if desired. The right of return was a controversial policy, which some claimed would undermine the resolve of colonists if times were tough, as well as adding extra expense to the already economically draining projects of establishing human homes in new planetary systems. The counter argument was that some kind of fallback was needed to encourage sufficient volunteers to take the known and unknown risks of living on these alien worlds.   The early colonies grew rapidly after the symbolic signing of the Emigrants' Charter and in practice the right of return was not invoked to any significant degree. During the Golden Age Of Adventure, Blue Home, Unity, S'arys and Escaloda were all established under the Charter's auspices.   It is worth remembering that not all of the migrants on the new worlds were covered by the Charter. Convicts and dissidents were shipped off Earth in large numbers, and could not claim any of its rights. Nevertheless without the significant numbers of volunteers the Charter undoubtedly encouraged it is likely that the early colonies would have at the very least grown much more slowly and probably failed.   The Charter survived unaltered into the 3rd dynasty where it promoted continued colonisation within the Bubble but was redrafted in 2473 by the 4th dynasty despite objections from within the Solar Group. The new version weakened the promises from Earth to new colonists. Amongst other things, the right of return became a right that could only be exercised after death. Those who chose to return their bodies to Earth for burial, under this privilege became known as C-Cases, technically Charter Cases but more familiarly Coffin Cases.

Cover image: Keldarchon by DMFW


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