Human rights are for everyone:
political or other
opinion, national or
property, birth or
Young, old, women,
men, LGBTQ, poor,
minority, & all kinds
• Cannot be taken away
1. right to life,
2. right to be free from torture and
other inhumane or degrading
treatment or punishment,
3. right to be free from slavery or
4. right to be free from retroactive
application of penal laws.
• AKA peremptory norms of
international law or jus cogens
norms (Art. 53 Vienna Convention).
Principles & Norms of
Human Rights Applicable
in Emergency Situation:
Catastrophes, & Armed Conflict
1. In General
2. Force Majeure: Natural Catastrophe
3. Internal Disturbances & Armed
4. Conflict Situation & Jus Cogens
still entitled to
International Humanitarian Law
Laws of Armed Conflict;
Laws of War
1. GC 1: In the Field
2. GC 2: At Sea
3. GC 3: POWs
4. GC 4: Civilian Persons
5. Protocol 1 (1977): Victims
of International Armed
6. P 2 (1977): Non-
7. P 3 (2005): Additional
Common Article 2
• GCs apply to
1. All declared
2. All undeclared
3. All signatories.
4. All non-
Common Art. 3 Geneva Conventions
• Persons taking no active part in
hostilities, including military persons who
have ceased to be active as a result of
sickness, injury, or detention, should be
treated humanely and that the following
acts are prohibited:
1. violence to life and person, in particular
murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel
treatment and torture;
2. taking of hostages;
3. outrages upon personal dignity, in
particular humiliating and degrading
4. the passing of sentences and the carrying
out of executions without previous
judgment pronounced by a regularly
constituted court, affording all the judicial
guarantees which are recognized as
indispensable by civilized peoples.
• The wounded and sick shall be collected
and cared for.
1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
• Article 53: “Treaties conflicting with a
peremptory norm of international law (‘jus
•“A treaty is void, if at the time of its conclusion, it conflicts
with a peremptory norm of general international law. For the
purpose of the present Convention, a peremptory norm of
general international law is a norm accepted & recognized by
the international community of States as a whole as a norm
from which no derogation is permitted & which can be
modified only by a subsequent norm of general international
law having the same character.”
Isolated acts of violence Civil War International war
Conspiracy War of liberationPEACE WAR
Jus Cogens & Article 3 Geneva Conventions
Source: S. Marks in Vasak, Paris: UNESCO.
“If you want peace,
work for justice.”
P. Paul VI
(1972 World Day of Peace)
•Karel Vasak & Philip Alston.
The International Dimensions
of Human Rights. Paris:
UNESCO & Westport, CT:
Greenwood Press. 1982.
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