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Year X Number 38 - October 23, 2012
A crisis in the human rights concept in the begining of the 21st century
Essential human rights principles say that for citizens ‘everything which is not forbidden is allowed’ while for the government ‘everything which is not allowed is forbidden’. But authoritarian states manage to turn these principles upside down both in law and it practice.
By Yevgeniy Zhovtis

We need to start by pointing out that many governments build their entire legal framework, including their constitutions, on perverse and distorted concepts.

Legislation of many post-Soviet states is a case in point, as it clearly favors government’s interests over citizens’ rights and freedoms.

Essential human rights principles say that for citizens ‘everything which is not forbidden is allowed’ while for the government ‘everything which is not allowed is forbidden’.


But authoritarian states manage to turn these principles upside down both in law and it practice.

Ordinary citizen have to prove that they have rights while authorities can take any action in violation of citizens’ rights unless this action is directly prohibited by the law.

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