CYIL vol. 11 (2020)

BIRUTĖ PRANEVIČIENĖ – VIOLETA VASILIAUSKIENĖ CYIL 11 (2020) the availability of the education for socially challenged families who did not have computers or other devices for their children to connect to the activities of the schools. 4) The freedom of movement is established in Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 of ECHR. It states that “1. Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence. 2. Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own. 3. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are in accordance with law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the maintenance of ordre public, for the prevention of crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. 4. The rights set forth in paragraph 1 may also be subject, in particular areas, to restrictions imposed in accordance with law and justified by the public interest in a democratic society.” The criteria chosen from the search were “(P4-2) Freedom of movement-{general}”; subcategory “(P4-2-3) Necessary in a democratic society”, subcategory “(P4-2-3) Protection of health”. The result yielded zero cases. Thus, there were so far in the practice of ECHR no cases related to the restrictions of freedom of movement in order to protect public health. This right, along with the right to peaceful assembly, might be called the most affected, especially taking into account the previous free movement of persons in the EU, which at the moment is almost totally restricted, and depends on the epidemic situation in a particular country. The limitations to the right of movement, to the present knowledge and facts, seem to be the main measures to fight the spread of coronavirus and thus most likely should be justified as proper means to achieve the aim of stopping the pandemic, but we will see the evaluation of the international human rights bodies if the questions and cases arise in the future. In evaluating whether the restrictions posed by the states affected by COVID-19 to certain rights were valid and proportionate, the governments and other actors may use the general criteria for the restrictions on human rights, as there are no specific cases in this field which could give particular guidance in the case of worldwide pandemic. The governments and other bodies deciding on the restrictions have to consider whether the restrictions are directed at achieving proper aims listed in the articles of ECHR, in this case, whether a particular action is aimed at protecting the health and lives of other people; secondly, whether the action taken, to their best knowledge, is necessary to attain this aim; and thirdly, whether it is proportionate and whether the said aim could not be attained by less restricting means. 5. Limitation of the human rights in the case of national emergency As we have already mentioned, temporary limitations of human rights are possible in times of emergency. Besides the limitations set out in the particular descriptions of treaties, human rights treaties have established a system of derogations allowing “states parties to adjust their obligations temporarily under the treaty in exceptional circumstances, i.e. in times of public emergency threatening the life of the nation. Examples of emergency situations include, but are not limited to, armed conflicts, civil and violent unrest, environmental and natural disasters, etc.” 37 Article 15 of ECHR provides that “In time of war or other public emergency 37 KARIMOVA, Tahmina, ‘Derogation from human rights treaties in situations of emergency.’ RULAC Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project. accessed 31 May 2020.


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