Restrictions to Human Rights

Well, welcome to section three
of the course, in which we will examine very important
issue, quite central, really, to the understanding
of international human rights. And that is the issue of when human
rights may be subject to restrictions, to limitations, for whatever
reasons governments want to restrict their reach. Essentially, it’s important to emphasize
that some human rights may never be restricted. They are considered absolute. And even if the government comes
forward with very strong reasons to impose limitations,
that will not be allowed. This is the case for the right to
life or the prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment, and for other very core rights in
international human rights law, such as the prohibition
of arbitrary detention. Most rights, however, may be restricted. But when a state wishes to impose
limitations on the individuals’ rights, the state must put forward
convincing reasons. And the usual regime of
human rights restrictions is that three conditions
are to be satisfied. First, the restriction must
correspond to a legitimate objective. In other terms, there must
be a very strong reason to impose restrictions on
the right of the individual. Secondly, the restriction must
be in accordance with the law. It must be imposed transparently,
and the legal safeguards must be such as to avoid any risk
of arbitrary limitations being imposed on the rights of the individual. And thirdly, the restriction
must be proportionate. It must be one that is necessary for the
fulfillment of the objectives pursued, and it should not go beyond what
is necessary for that objective to be realized. So these conditions of legitimacy,
of legality and of proportionality usually define the regime under
which the restrictions imposed on the right of the
individual shall be examined. And it is to these issues that
this section is dedicated, a very important section. And I wish you the very best in
conducting the exercises here. Thank you.

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