Article 21: Right to life and personal liberty.

Article 21 is a fundamental provision that appears in several international and national legal instruments and constitutions around the world. It safeguards two fundamental rights: the right to life and personal liberty. Let’s explore each of these rights:

**1. Right to Life:** The right to life is a fundamental and universal human right that protects individuals from arbitrary deprivation of their lives by state authorities or others. This means that no one shall be arbitrarily killed or subjected to unlawful execution. The right to life is regarded as the most basic of all human rights, and it is often considered a prerequisite for the enjoyment of all other rights. It implies that the state has an obligation to protect the lives of its citizens and to investigate and prosecute any unlawful killings.

**2. Personal Liberty:** The right to personal liberty encompasses several related rights, including the right to be free from arbitrary arrest or detention. It means that individuals cannot be arrested or detained by state authorities without proper legal procedures and justification. It also includes the right to habeas corpus, which allows individuals to challenge the lawfulness of their detention before a court of law.

Article 21 reflects a core principle of human rights and the rule of law: that individuals have a fundamental right to live in dignity and freedom, free from the threat of arbitrary violence, and that their liberty cannot be taken away arbitrarily by the state. This article is often invoked in cases involving unlawful arrests, torture, extrajudicial killings, and other human rights violations.

It’s important to note that the right to life and personal liberty can be limited in certain circumstances, such as for the protection of national security or public safety. However, any limitations must be prescribed by law, necessary, proportionate, and consistent with international human rights standards.

Article 21, along with other provisions of human rights law, is essential for the protection of individuals’ fundamental rights and the promotion of justice and equality within society. It provides a foundation for ensuring that individuals are not arbitrarily deprived of their lives or liberty and that the rule of law prevails in the protection of these rights.

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