The representatives of the participating States of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, the German Democratic Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, the Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Yugoslavia, met in Copenhagen from 5 to 29 June 1990, in accordance with the provisions relating to the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE contained in the Concluding Document of the Vienna Follow-up Meeting of the CSCE.
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In order to strengthen respect for, and enjoyment of, human rights and fundamental freedoms, to develop human contacts and to resolve issues of a related humanitarian character, the participating States agree on the following:
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(5) They solemnly declare that among those elements of justice which are essential to the full expression of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all human beings are the following:
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(5.9) all persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law will prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground;
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(9) The participating States reaffirm that
(9.1) everyone will have the right to freedom of expression including the right to communication. This right will include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. The exercise of this right may be subject only to such restrictions as are prescribed by law and are consistent with international standards. In particular, no limitation will be imposed on access to, and use of, means of reproducing documents of any kind, while respecting, however, rights relating to intellectual property, including copyright;
(9.2) everyone will have the right of peaceful assembly and demonstration. Any restrictions which may be placed on the exercise of these rights will be prescribed by law and consistent with international standards;
(9.3) the right of association will be guaranteed. The right to form and -- subject to the general right of a trade union to determine its own membership -- freely to join a trade union will be guaranteed. These rights will exclude any prior control. Freedom of association for workers, including the freedom to strike, will be guaranteed, subject to limitations prescribed by law and consistent with international standards;
(9.4) everyone will have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change one’s religion or belief and freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief, either alone or in community with others, in public or in private, through worship, teaching, practice and observance. The exercise of these rights may be subject only to such restrictions as are prescribed by law and are consistent with international standards;
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(18) The participating States
(18.1) note that the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has recognized the right of everyone to have conscientious objections to military service;
(18.2) note recent measures taken by a number of participating States to permit exemption from compulsory military service on the basis of conscientious objections;
(18.3) note the activities of several non-governmental organizations on the question of conscientious objections to compulsory military service;
(18.4) agree to consider introducing, where this has not yet been done, various forms of alternative service, which are compatible with the reasons for conscientious objection, such forms of alternative service being in principle of a non-combatant or civilian nature, in the public interest and of a non-punitive nature;
(18.5) will make available to the public information on this issue;
(18.6) will keep under consideration, within the framework of the Conference on the Human Dimension, the relevant questions related to the exemption from compulsory military service, where it exists, of individuals on the basis of conscientious objections to armed service, and will exchange information on these questions.
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(24) The participating States will ensure that
the exercise of all the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out above
will not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided
by law and are consistent with their obligations under international law,
in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
and with their international commitments, in particular the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights. These restrictions have the character of exceptions. The
participating States will ensure that these restrictions are not abused
and are not applied in an arbitrary manner, but in such a way that the
effective exercise of these rights is ensured.
Any restriction on rights and freedoms must, in a democratic society, relate to one of the objectives of the applicable law and be strictly proportionate to the aim of that law.
(25) The participating States confirm that any
derogations from obligations relating to human rights and fundamental freedoms
during a state of public emergency must remain strictly within the limits
provided for by international law, in particular the relevant international
instruments by which they are bound, especially with respect to rights
from which there can be no derogation. They also reaffirm that
(25.1) measures derogating from such obligations must be taken in strict conformity with the procedural requirements laid down in those instruments;
(25.2) the imposition of a state of public emergency must be proclaimed officially, publicly, and in accordance with the provisions laid down by law;
(25.3) measures derogating from obligations will be limited to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation;
(25.4) such measures will not discriminate solely on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, social origin or of belonging to a minority.
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(40) The participating States clearly and unequivocally
condemn totalitarianism, racial and ethnic hatred, anti-Semitism, xenophobia
and discrimination against anyone as well as persecution on religious and
ideological grounds. In this context, they also recognize the particular
problems of Roma (gypsies).
They declare their firm intention to intensify the efforts to combat these phenomena in all their forms and therefore will
(40.1) take effective measures, including the adoption, in conformity with their constitutional systems and their international obligations, of such laws as may be necessary, to provide protection against any acts that constitute incitement to violence against persons or groups based on national, racial, ethnic or religious discrimination, hostility or hatred, including anti-Semitism;
(40.2) commit themselves to take appropriate and proportionate measures to protect persons or groups who may be subject to threats or acts of discrimination, hostility or violence as a result of their racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity, and to protect their property;
(40.3) take effective measures, in conformity with their constitutional systems, at the national, regional and local levels to promote understanding and tolerance, particularly in the fields of education, culture and information;
(40.4) endeavour to ensure that the objectives of education include special attention to the problem of racial prejudice and hatred and to the development of respect for different civilizations and cultures;
(40.5) recognize the right of the individual to effective remedies and endeavour to recognize, in conformity with national legislation, the right of interested persons and groups to initiate and support complaints against acts of discrimination, including racist and xenophobic acts;
(40.6) consider adhering, if they have not yet done so, to the international instruments which address the problem of discrimination and ensure full compliance with the obligations therein, including those relating to the submission of periodic reports;
(40.7) consider, also, accepting those international mechanisms which allow States and individuals to bring communications relating to discrimination before international bodies.