The Right to Liberty and Security, Public Health and Disease Control

Publikation: Arbeits- oder Diskussionspapiere und BerichteArbeits- oder Diskussionspapiere


The right to ‘security of person’ is well recognised under Human Rights Law, e.g. Art. 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 (UDHR), Art. 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 (ICCPR) and under Art. 2, 3 and 5(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950 (ECHR). The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg recognised a right to be protected by the state against violations by third parties (Enhorn v. Sweden [2005] E.C.H.R. 56529/00). Therefore, the obligation of the state (and the corresponding right of the citizen) to secure an individual’s personal integrity is wider than traditionally thought. Does this right translate into a (positive) right against the state (vertical effect) to protect the citizen’s health against potential attacks by third (private) parties? Consequently, a State would have to provide a certain level of protection against risks to the individual, from another private party (horizontal effect).

Using the examples of the Escherichia coli (E. coli O157) outbreak in Surrey in August 2009 and the EHEC-O104:H4 outbreak 2011 in Germany by Fenugreek Sprouting seeds, this presentation discusses potential human rights implications of food safety hazards across the food chain (see the European crisis management according to Art. 10 of EC regulation 178/2002 and the U.K. Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, the Public Health (Infectious Disease) Regulations 1988 and the Food Safety Act 1990). We will also touch upon potential legal vacuums and loopholes around public and civil safety and security when dealing with new health and environmental threats such as Avian or Swine influenza (flu), which can lead – especially if used as a potential means of bioterrorism – to a national health and security crisis and even mutate into an international pandemic. Consequently, any emergency responses by a state can also directly affect human rights.
VerlagSSRN Social Science Research Network
Anzahl der Seiten28
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 22.05.2014