Reconstructing the Notion of State of Emergency

Forthcoming, The George Washington International Law Review

Faculty of Law, Stockholm University Research Paper No. 66

30 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2016 Last revised: 21 Feb 2019

See all articles by Mark Klamberg

Mark Klamberg

Stockholm University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 14, 2016

Abstract

Public unrest, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and events of equal severity have in recent years prompted states to declare state of emergency. Sometimes, the proclamation of a public emergency is necessary or at least defendable, for example a natural disaster may call for special measures which could not be taken with full respect to the rights for all the obligations under human rights treaties. In other cases, public emergencies can be used as a smokescreen for repressive government policies. Once the necessity for derogation is conceded, it becomes difficult to control whether the suspension of rights amounts to abuse use of power. Serious violations of human rights often accompany emergency situations.

This study first sets out an analytical framework which seeks to answer two questions: what is the role of the sovereign, i.e. the legislative and executive branches of Government? What do states perceive as threats and what consequences will that have for their policies. Next the legislative framework as provided for in human rights regimes is described. The analytical and legal framework is applied to five recent cases and phenomena: counterterrorism; Arab Spring; migration; Ebola outbreak in Western Africa and economic crises.

Keywords: State of Emergency; Arab Spring, Ebola; Terrorism; Securitization

Suggested Citation

Klamberg, Mark, Reconstructing the Notion of State of Emergency (April 14, 2016). Forthcoming, The George Washington International Law Review; Faculty of Law, Stockholm University Research Paper No. 66. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2812635 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2812635

Mark Klamberg (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Faculty of Law ( email )

S-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden
+46 8 16 11 90 (Phone)
+46 8 612 41 09 (Fax)

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