A number of human rights instruments contain provisions which allow States to adopt measures suspending the enjoyment of these rights to the extent strictly required by situations of emergency, for instance in the event of an armed conflict, internal or international, or following a natural disaster (see S. R. Chowdhury, Rule of Law in a State of Emergency: the Paris Minimum Standards of Human Rights Norms in a State of Emergency (London: Pinter Publishers, 1989); J. Fitzpatrick, Human Rights in Crisis: the International System for Protecting Rights During States of Emergency (Philadelphia, Penn.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994); J. Oraá, Human Rights in States of Emergency in International Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992); R. Higgins, ‘Derogations under Human Rights Treaties', British Yearbook of International Law, 48 (1976–77), 281; T. Buergenthal, ‘To Respect and Ensure: State Obligations and Permissible Derogations' in L. Henkin (ed.), The International Bill of Rights: the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981) 72–91; C. Schreuer, ‘Derogation of Human Rights in Situations of Public Emergency’, Yale Journal of World Public Order, 9 (1982), 113; A.-L. Svensson-McCarthy, The International Law of Human Rights and States of Exception (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1998)).
The relevant provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (Art. 4), the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR) (Art. 27) and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (Art. 15), present clear similarities (for convenience, these clauses are reproduced in box 6.1.).