- States are permitted to derogate from international human rights commitments only in cases of public emergency which threaten the life of the nation; any such derogations must be officially and lawfully proclaimed
in accordance with both national and international law. Hence, states should not resort to declaring a state of emergency in order to limit protests, being cognisant that protests extremely rarely, if ever, give rise to the circumstances meeting the threshold for derogation.
- Any restrictions on protests in emergency situations should be of an exceptional and temporary nature and limited to those strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, and only when, and as long as, they are not inconsistent with the government’s other obligations under international law. Even where other circumstances do permit emergency derogations, such as cases of natural disaster or armed conflict, the possibility of restricting the right to protest in accordance with the test set out in Principle 4 should be generally sufficient and no derogations should be justified by the exigencies of the situation.
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