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Restricting Human Rights in a Democratic Society

Adela Buçpapaj


Human rights condition the relations between the individual and the State, delimiting the power of the latter, and simultaneously obliging the State to take the appropriate measures that will make it possible for any person to enjoy and exercise his or her human rights freely. In the last two hundred and fifty years or so, history has witnessed the struggle and continued efforts to translate that into a tangible deed. Since the French and American Revolutions, which took place in the late eighteenth century, the human rights cause has led to several democratic revolutionary movements seeking to achieve individual liberation and establish control over the institutions of power, especially governments. Thus, governments and other power structures are duly obliged to respect, protect, guarantee and implement human rights as a sum of personal and collective rights defined in State Constitutions and other domestic and international laws comprising the reliable foundations for legal entitlements and remedies in case of non-fulfilment. Accordingly, our article focuses mainly on a detailed analysis of the relations between governments and human rights in democratic societies, stressing that guaranteeing them clears the necessary ground for the existence and functioning of the rule of law. More specifically, it aims to provide adequate answers to the following questions: (1) May governments restrict human rights, and what are the relevant clauses? (2) What does the term “derogation” mean in a state of emergency? (3) What are the reservations concerning the international or regional human rights treaties? (4) What do measures against terrorism represent within the framework of human rights?

Keywords: human rights, State, power, government, restriction.

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