Rethinking Derogations from Human Rights Treaties

115(1) American Journal of International Law 20-40 (2021)

Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Series No. 2020-53

23 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2020 Last revised: 11 Feb 2021

See all articles by Laurence R. Helfer

Laurence R. Helfer

Duke University School of Law; University of Copenhagen - iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts

Date Written: September 12, 2020

Abstract

Numerous governments have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by declaring states of
emergency and restricting individual liberties protected by international law. However, many
more states have adopted emergency measures than have formally derogated from human rights
conventions. This Editorial Comment critically evaluates the existing system of human rights
treaty derogations. It analyzes the system’s problems, identifies recent developments that have
exacerbated these problems, and proposes a range of reforms in five areas—embeddedness,
engagement, information, timing, and scope.

Keywords: Human Rights, Derogation, Suspension, Emergency, COVID, Treaties, International Law

Suggested Citation

Helfer, Laurence R., Rethinking Derogations from Human Rights Treaties (September 12, 2020). 115(1) American Journal of International Law 20-40 (2021), Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Series No. 2020-53, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3691630 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3691630

Laurence R. Helfer (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Dr.
Box 90360
Durham, NC 27708
United States
+1-919-613-8573 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.duke.edu/fac/helfer/

University of Copenhagen - iCourts - Centre of Excellence for International Courts ( email )

University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law
Karen Blixens Plads 16
Copenhagen S, DK-2300
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://jura.ku.dk/icourts/

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