Aleksandr Skvoznikov

Limitation of Human Rights and Freedoms in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: International Legal Aspects

2022. No. 3. P. 222–240 [issue contents]
The aim of the work is to study the institution of restriction of human rights and freedoms in the face of an emergency danger to human health, the legal grounds and limits of such restrictions in the doctrine of international law. The empirical basis of the study was the norms of international treaties and other legal acts, as well as materials from foreign periodicals. In the course of the study, the corresponding special-legal methods were applied: formal-legal, comparative-legal, hermeneutic. The author came to the conclusion that international law allows in some cases the restriction of human rights and freedoms, including in the presence of a serious threat to public health. The institution of human rights and freedoms in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is undergoing a major transformation, which may result in the emergence of a new paradigm of human rights. Many states that are the founders of the European humanism, which appeared to be a fundament of modern international law, but, under the influence of the pandemic, they are gradually moving away from its basic principle of recognizing a person as the highest value, implemented through the idea of autonomy and universality of the individual. Some modern states are actively cultivating other values and principles compared to European humanism, in which the public (collective) good, in particular, the health of the whole society, is a priority, while limiting the autonomy of human person and individual rights. Arbitrary introduction by states of restrictions on human rights and freedoms, bypassing international law, and in particular ignoring the recommendations of the World Health Organization, a specialized international body authorized to ensure public health at the global level, undermines the international legal order and creates additional difficulties in the fight against the pandemic. The scientific novelty lies in the fact that the study substantiated the criteria for restricting human rights and freedoms in the face of a global threat to public health in a pandemic. Such restrictions must be proportionate to the threat and scientifically justified. When introducing restrictions, arbitrariness or discrimination is excluded; restrictions must be limited in time and must not prejudice the democratic functioning of society. The practical significance of the study is that significant contradictions were identified between the proper (formal) procedure for restricting human rights and freedoms established by international law and the actual practice of subjects of international law. Overcoming these contradictions is possible only through strict observance of the norms and principles of international law. Significant changes in the political and legal essence of the modern state are revealed. The model of the state that developed in the Modern Times is undergoing a major transformation: the concept of a social contract based on the limitation of state power in the interests of the individual is increasingly giving way to the unlimited right of state intervention in private life.
For citation: Skvoznikov A.N. (2022) Limitation of Human Rights and Freedoms in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: International Legal Aspects. Law. Journal of the Higher School of Economics, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 222–240 (in Russ.). DOI:10.17323/2072-8166.2022.3.222.240.
Citation: Skvoznikov A. (2022) Ogranichenie prav i svobod cheloveka v usloviyakh pandemii COVID-19: mezhdunarodno-pravovye aspekty [Limitation of Human Rights and Freedoms in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: International Legal Aspects]. Pravo. Zhurnal Vysshey shkoly ekonomiki, no 3, pp. 222-240 (in Russian)
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