Krise, 2021, Heft 3, S. 386 - 394, thema

The COVID-19 Pandemic as “Public Emergency”

Health Emergencies as Triggers for Derogation Clauses in International Human Rights Treaties

States have deviated from human rights obligations by taking legal measures to combat the pandemic spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19), raising a wide range of challenges with respect to necessity and proportionality considerations. Within this broad spectrum, the present paper focuses on derogation clauses in international human rights treaties. It notably seeks to answer the questions of whether, taken in abstract terms, a pandemic qualifies as a (health) emergency for the purposes of triggering the derogation clauses in such treaties and whether this holds true for the COVID-19 pandemic more specifically.