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International Human Rights Law

International Human Rights Law (10th edn)

Rhona K. M. Smith
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date: 22 March 2023

p. 26714. The right to liberty of personlocked

p. 26714. The right to liberty of personlocked

  • Rhona K. M. SmithRhona K. M. SmithProfessor of International Human Rights, Newcastle University


This chapter examines international human rights laws on the right to liberty. It first considers slavery, the most serious threat to an individual’s right to liberty, and then discusses the application of the general rights of liberty and security of person, including the detention of individuals. For many people, liberty is regarded as one of the central tenets of personal freedom; hence slavery and practices analogous to slavery are viewed as morally repugnant and usually legally indefensible. Nevertheless, there are circumstances in which States can restrict liberty, for legitimate purposes, without infringing human rights. This has been demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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