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Lawful Restrictions on Civil and Political Rights

Democracy Reporting International 20714Lawful Restrictions on Civil and Political Rights
Publié le 01-10-2012. Ajoutée le 11 November 2016

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In view of a history of human rights abuses by authoritarian regimes, many constitution-makers in the Arab world are seeking to enshrine ironclad human right guarantees into the new constitutions. When considering the protection of human rights, it is important to also discuss their limitations. This may seem counter-intuitive in a context of widespread human rights abuses by the recent authoritarian regimes, but only few rights have no limits. Therefore a precise, rights-friendly system of limitations is preferable to an absence of constitutional text on such limitations, which would create a legal grey zone where rights protection could erode once more. International human-rights law includes a number of key elements that ensure that limitations of rights do not undermine these rights altogether.

These key elements are:

  • Reasons for limitations shall be clearly defined
  • Limitations generally must have a legal basis
  • Limitations must be proportional to the objective they pursue and they shall not affect the essence of a right
  • There should be an effective legal remedy against potential human-rights violations.


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