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Freedom of Religion or Belief - An International Law Commentary by Bielefeldt, Prof Heiner; Ghanea, Nazila, Dr; Wiener, Michael, Dr (21st January 2016)

Part 5 Cross-Cutting Issues, 5.1 Derogation

Heiner Bielefeldt, Nazila Ghanea, Michael Wiener

From: Freedom of Religion or Belief: An International Law Commentary

Prof Heiner Bielefeldt, Nazila Ghanea, Michael Wiener

Subject(s):
Religion — Freedom of association — Freedom of expression — Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion — Human rights remedies

This chapter explains the international law provision which allows the State to derogate from certain human rights. The possibility for States to derogate from certain rights ‘in time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation’ may be considered as an unfavourable risk by human rights defenders. The Human Rights Committee, however, recognizes the derogation provision of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (article 4) as being of paramount importance for the system of protection for human rights under the Covenant. It should be noted that not every disturbance or catastrophe qualifies as ‘a public emergency’ for the purposes of article 4(1) and such measures should be of an exceptional and temporary nature, only imposed to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, subject to a regime of international notification, and should not involve discrimination.

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