State of emergency
A state of emergency or emergency powers is a situation in which a government is empowered to be able to put through policies that it would normally not be permitted to do, for the safety and protection of their citizens. A government can declare such a state during a natural disaster, civil unrest, armed conflict, medical pandemic or epidemic or other biosecurity risk. Justitium is its equivalent in Roman law—a concept in which the Roman Senate could put forward a final decree (senatus consultum ultimum) that was not subject to dispute yet helped save lives in times of strife.
States of emergency can also be used as a rationale or pretext for suspending rights and freedoms guaranteed under a country's constitution or basic law, sometimes through martial law or revoking habeas corpus. The procedure for and legality of doing so vary by country.
Relationship with international law
Under international law, rights and freedoms may be suspended during a state of emergency, depending on the severity of the emergency and a government's policies.
Use and viewpoints
Though fairly uncommon in democracies, dictatorial regimes often declare a state of emergency that is prolonged indefinitely for the life of the regime, or for extended periods of time so that derogations can be used to override human rights of their citizens usually protected by the International Covenant on Civil and political rights. In some situations, martial law is also declared, allowing the military greater authority to act. In other situations, emergency is not declared and de facto measures taken or decree-law adopted by the government. Ms. Nicole Questiaux (France) and Mr. Leandro Despouy (Argentina), two consecutive United Nations Special Rapporteurs, have recommended to the international community to adopt the following "principles" to be observed during a state or de facto situation of emergency : Principles of Legality, Proclamation, Notification, Time Limitation, Exceptional Threat, Proportionality, Non-Discrimination, Compatibility, Concordance and Complementarity of the Various Norms of International Law (cf. "Question of Human Rights and State of Emergency", E/CN.4/Sub.2/1997/19, at Chapter II; see also état d'exception).
Article 4 to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), permits states to derogate from certain rights guaranteed by the ICCPR in "time of public emergency". Any measures derogating from obligations under the Covenant, however, must be to only the extent required by the exigencies of the situation, and must be announced by the State Party to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The European Convention on Human Rights and American Convention on Human Rights have similar derogatory provisions. No derogation is permitted to the International Labour Conventions.
Some political theorists, such as Carl Schmitt, have argued that the power to decide the initiation of the state of emergency defines sovereignty itself. In State of Exception (2005), Giorgio Agamben criticized this idea, arguing that the mechanism of the state of emergency deprives certain people of their civil and political rights, producing his interpretation of homo sacer.
In many democratic states there are a selection of legal definitions for specific states of emergency, when the constitution of the State is partially in abeyance depending on the nature of the perceived threat to the general public. In order of severity these may include:
- Martial law when civil rights are severely restricted by the imposition of military force within a Sovereign state, for example during a period of extreme threat of invasion or actual hostilities by foreign forces
- state of siege when the civil rights of specified persons or groups such as political activists are likely to be curtailed, for example to prevent an insurrection or organised acts of treason by suspected agents provocateurs
- civil emergency dealing with disaster areas and requiring the deployment of extraordinary resources to contain dangerous situations such as natural disasters or extensive malicious property damage such as may occur during rioting or by arson. As well as regular emergency services, sometimes military forces may be assigned to deliver aid under especially dangerous conditions or to prevent looting
The state of emergency can be abused by being invoked. An example would be to allow a state to suppress internal opposition without having to respect human rights. An example was the August 1991 attempted coup in the Soviet Union (USSR) where the coup leaders invoked a state of emergency; the failure of the coup led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Derogations by states having ratified or acceded to binding international agreements such as the ICCPR, the American and European Conventions on Human Rights and the International Labour Conventions are monitored by independent expert committees, regional Courts and other State Parties.
Law in selected countries
The Constitution, which has been amended several times, has always allowed for a state of emergency (literally estado de sitio, "state of siege"), to be declared if the constitution or the authorities it creates are endangered by internal unrest or foreign attack. This provision was much abused during dictatorships, with long-lasting states of siege giving the government a free hand to suppress opposition. The American Convention on Human Rights (Pacto de San José de Costa Rica), adopted in 1969 but ratified by Argentina only in 1984 immediately after the end of the National Reorganization Process, restricts abuse of the state of emergency by requiring any signatory nation declaring such a state to inform the other signatories of its circumstances and duration, and what rights are affected.
State-of-emergency legislation differs in each state of Australia. With regard to emergency management, regions (usually on a local government area basis) that have been affected by a natural disaster are the responsibility of the state, until that state declares a State of Emergency where access to the Federal Emergency Fund becomes available to help respond to and recover from natural disasters. A State of Emergency does not apply to the whole state, but rather districts or shires, where essential services may have been disrupted.
On 18 March 2020, a nationwide human biosecurity emergency was declared in Australia owing to the risks to human health posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, after the National Security Committee met the previous day. The Biosecurity Act 2015 specifies that the Governor-General of Australia may declare such an emergency if the Health Minister (currently Greg Hunt) is satisfied that "a listed human disease is posing a severe and immediate threat, or is causing harm, to human health on a nationally significant scale". This gives the Minister sweeping powers, including imposing restrictions or preventing the movement of people and goods between specified places, and evacuations. The Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) Declaration 2020 was declared by the Governor-General, David Hurley, under Section 475 of the Act.
New South Wales
In New South Wales, the NSW Premier can, pursuant to the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989, declare a state of emergency due to an actual or imminent occurrence (such as fire, flood, storm, earthquake, explosion, terrorist act, accident, epidemic or warlike action) which endangers, or threatens to endanger, the safety or health of persons or animals in the State, or destroys or damages, or threatens to destroy or damage, property in the State, or causes a failure of, or a significant disruption to, an essential service or infrastructure. The Premier declared a state of emergency on 11 November 2019 in response to the 2019–2020 New South Wales bushfires. It was the fifth time that a state of emergency had been declared in that state since 2006 and it lasted for seven days. Subsequent declarations were made on 19 December for a further seven days, and again on 2 January 2020. In NSW, the 2019–2020 bushfire season resulted in 26 deaths, destroyed 2,448 homes, and burnt 5.5 million hectares (14 million acres).
In Victoria, the Victorian Premier can declare a state of emergency under the Public Safety Preservation Act 1958 if there is a threat to employment, safety or public order. A declared state of emergency allows the Premier to immediately make any desired regulations to secure public order and safety. The declaration expires after 30 days, and a resolution of either the upper or lower House of Parliament may revoke it earlier. However, these regulations expire if Parliament does not agree to continue them within seven days.
If there is an emergency which the Premier, after considering the advice of the relevant Minister and the Emergency Management Commissioner, is satisfied constitutes or is likely to constitute a significant and widespread danger to life or property in Victoria, the Premier, pursuant to the Emergency Management Act 1986, may declare a state of disaster to exist in the whole or in any part or parts of the State. The state of disaster addresses matters beyond public health issues and is intended to deal with emergencies such as natural disasters, explosions, terrorism or sieges, and it can also be used to deal with 'a plague or an epidemic'.
The Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 gives the Chief Health Officer extensive powers to take action ‘to investigate, eliminate or reduce public health risks’, including power to detain, restrict the movement of or prevent entry of any person in the emergency area, "and to give any other direction that the authorised officer considers is reasonably necessary to protect public health."
The current constitution of Brazil allows the President to declare two states, in order to "preserve or establish peace and order, threatened by grave and imminent institutional instability or severe natural disasters".
The first, and less severe state is the state of defense (estado de defesa, in Portuguese), while a more severe form is the state of siege (estado de sítio).
In a state of defense, the federal government can occupy and use any public building or demand any service as it sees fit. It may suppress Secrecy of correspondence and Freedom of assembly as necessary, as long as it specifies a defined region and time period.
If president finds the state of defense insufficient, it might decree a state of siege. This state further reduces Civil liberties, removing Freedom of movement, allowing for search without consent or warrant, and seizure of any assets the government deems necessary. The government may also intervene and direct the function of any company.
To balance this far-reaching powers, the Congress has to convene and approve the state in ten days or it is automatically cancelled. Further, the state of siege has to be revised by the congress every 30 days, unless it was raised as response to a war, in which case the government is free to set it to last until the end of the war.
Since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985, and the formation of the sixth Brazilian Republic, neither state has ever been raised.
The federal government of Canada can use the Emergencies Act to invoke a state of emergency. A national state of emergency automatically expires after 90 days, unless extended by the Governor-in-Council. There are different levels of emergencies: Public Welfare Emergency, Public Order Emergency, International Emergency, and War Emergency.
The Emergencies Act replaced the War Measures Act in 1988. The War Measures Act was invoked three times in Canadian history, most controversially during the 1970 October Crisis, and also during World War I (from 1914 to 1920, against threat of Communism) and World War II (from 1942 to 1945, against perceived threat from Japanese Canadians following Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor).
Under the current Emergency Act a state of emergency can also be declared by provincial, territorial, and municipal governments. In addition Canada's federal government and any of its provincial governments can suspend, for five years at a time, Charter rights to fundamental freedoms in section 2, to legal rights in sections 7 through 14, and to equality rights in section 15 by legislation which invokes the notwithstanding clause, section 33, and therefore emergency powers can effectively be created even without using the Emergency Act.
Provincial governments can also invoke states of emergency, and have done to respond to at least 12 incidents during the 21st century.
The police chief in a district can impose a zone in which people can be body searched without a specific suspicion. Such an order must be issued in writing, published, and imposed for a limited period. The police law (article 6) regulates this area. The normal procedure calls for assisting the suspect to a private area and stripping them. The police can also impose a zone in which specific crimes such as violence, threats, blackmailing and vandalism can be punished with a double penalty length. The zone can only be imposed if there is an extraordinary crime development and the zone can only last up to three months unless the extraordinary crime development still applies after that period of time.
If the police feel that a situation involving a crowd of people can get out of hand, they can order the assembly to be dissolved and "pass the street" in the name of the king. People that after three such warnings are still part of the crowd can then without further warning be subjugated to mass arrest. All people arrested can then be detained for 24 hours without charging them or taking them for a judge. This is called a precluding arrest.
Egyptians lived under an Emergency Law (Law No. 162 of 1958) from 1967 to 2012, except for an 18-month break in 1980 and 1981. The emergency was imposed during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, and reimposed following the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. The law continuously extended every three years since 1981. Under the law, police powers were extended, constitutional rights suspended and censorship was legalized. The law sharply circumscribed any non-governmental political activity: street demonstrations, non-approved political organizations, and unregistered financial donations were formally banned. Some 17,000 people were detained under the law, and estimates of political prisoners run as high as 30,000. The emergency rule expired on 31 May 2012, and was put back in place in January 2013. Egypt declared a month-long national emergency on 14 August 2013.
The Egyptian president announced a one-month state of emergency across the country on 14 August 2013 and ordered the armed forces to help the Interior Ministry enforce security. The announcement made on state TV followed deadly countrywide clashes between supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi and the security forces.
Three main provisions concern various kind of "state of emergency" in France: Article 16 of the Constitution of 1958 allows, in time of crisis, "extraordinary powers" to the president. Article 36 of the same constitution regulates "state of siege" (état de siège). Finally, the Act of 3 April 1955 allows the proclamation, by the Council of Ministers, of the "state of emergency" (état d'urgence). The distinction between article 16 and the 1955 Act concerns mainly the distribution of powers: whereas in article 16, the executive power basically suspend the regular procedures of the Republic, the 1955 Act permits a twelve-day state of emergency, after which a new law extending the emergency must be voted by the Parliament. These dispositions have been used at various times, in 1955, 1958, 1961, 1988, 2005, and 2015.
The Weimar Republic constitution (1919–1933) allowed states of emergency under Article 48 to deal with rebellions. Article 48 was often invoked during the 14-year life of the Republic, sometimes for no reason other than to allow the government to act when it was unable to obtain a parliamentary majority.
After 27 February 1933, Reichstag fire, an attack blamed on the communists, Adolf Hitler declared a state of emergency using Article 48, and then had President von Hindenburg sign the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended some of the basic civil liberties provided by the Weimar Constitution (such as habeas corpus, freedom of expression, freedom of the speech, the freedom to assemble or the privacy of communications) for the whole duration of the Third Reich. On 23 March, the Reichstag enacted the Enabling Act of 1933 with the required two-thirds majority, which enabled Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his cabinet to enact laws without legislative participation. The Weimar Constitution was never actually repealed by Nazi Germany, but it effectively became inoperable after the passage of the Enabling Act. These two laws implemented the Gleichschaltung, the Nazis' institution of totalitarianism.
In the postwar Federal Republic of Germany the Emergency Acts state that some of the basic constitutional rights of the Basic Law may be limited in case of a state of defence, a state of tension, or an internal state of emergency or disaster (catastrophe). These amendments to the constitution were passed on 30 May 1968, despite fierce opposition by the so-called extra-parliamentary opposition (see German student movement for details).
Hong Kong SAR (China)
During a state of war or turmoil which threatens national security or unity, and which the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress believes is beyond the control of the local government, the Standing Committee can invoke Article 18 of the Hong Kong Basic Law and declare a "State of Emergency" in Hong Kong; thus, the Central People's Government can selectively implement national laws not normally allowed in Hong Kong. Deployment of troops from the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison under the "Law of the People's Republic of China on Garrisoning the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region" can happen.
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong along with the Executive Council can prohibit public gatherings, issue curfew orders, prohibit the movement of vessels or aircraft, delegate authority, and other listed powers, under "Cap. 245 Public Order Ordinance".
Although the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison may not interfere in internal Hong Kong affairs, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government may invoke Article 14 of the Hong Kong Basic Law and request permission of the Central People's Government to have the garrison assist in "maintenance of public order or disaster relief".
Since 1997, a State of Emergency has never been declared. However, emergency measures have been used in varying degrees over the years during British rule and after the establishment of the Special Administrative Region. A few notable mentions are as follow:
- Seamen's strike of 1922 – Enactment of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, 1922 within one day on 28 February 1922
- Canton-Hong Kong strike 1925 – with involvement of police and soldiers from multiple nations
- Anti-Japanese riot of 1931 – with involvement of Hong Kong Police and British Armed Forces
- Hong Kong 1956 riots – with involvement of British Armed Forces and Hong Kong Police
- Hong Kong 1966 riots – with involvement of British Armed Forces and Hong Kong Police
- Hong Kong 1967 Leftist Riots – with involvement of British Armed Forces and Hong Kong Police
- Hong Kong 1981 riots – with involvement of Hong Kong Police
- 2005 WTO Conference Protests – with involvement of Hong Kong Police and anti-globalization protesters led by Hong Kong People's Alliance on WTO from 148 countries
- 2014 Hong Kong protests – with involvement of Hong Kong Police
- 2016 Mong Kok civil unrest – with involvement of Hong Kong Police
- 2019–20 Hong Kong protests – with involvement of Hong Kong Police
On 4 October 2019, Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong S.A.R., invoked Section 2(1) within "Cap. 241 Emergency Regulations Ordinance" implemented since 1922 and last amended by the Legislative Council in 1999, which allow the government to implement the new, "Cap. 241K Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation". The new regulation forbid public assembly participants from wearing masks or obscure faces during such events without reasonable excuses. The permitted excuses are: pre-existing medical or health reasons, religious reasons, and if the person uses the face covering for physical safety while performing an activity connected with their profession or employment. Any person defying the new regulation face possible criminal prosecution. The government's motive in doing so is to end months of social unrest and riots, however, did not declare a "State of Emergency". The new regulation took effect at 00:00 HKT on 5 October 2019. Offenders risked a maximum of one-year imprisonment or a fine of HK$25,000 (US$3,200).
The High Court of Hong Kong denied an application for a judicial injunction of the anti-mask law, on the same night shortly before the new regulation took effect. A subsequent attempt by pro-democrats to halt the new regulation also failed, however, the court recommended a judicial review at a later date.
On 18 November 2019, the High Court ruled the "Cap. 241 Emergency Regulations Ordinance" is "incompatible with the Basic Law", however, the court "leaves open the question of the constitutionality of the ERO insofar as it relates to any occasion of emergency." The court also held the ordinance meets the "prescribed by law" requirement. However, the court deemed s3(1)(b), (c), (d) and s5 of the regulation do not meet the proportionality test as they impose restrictions on fundamental rights that goes beyond what is necessary in furthering its intended goals.
On 22 November 2019, the High Court made the following remark:
"Nevertheless, we recognise that our Judgment is only a judgment at first instance, and will soon be subject to an appeal to the Court of Appeal. In view of the great public importance of the issues raised in this case, and the highly exceptional circumstances that Hong Kong is currently facing, we consider it right that we should grant a short interim suspension order so that the respondents may have an opportunity to apply to the Court of Appeal, if so advised, for such interim relief as may be appropriate. Accordingly, we shall grant an interim temporary suspension order to postpone the coming into operation of the declarations of invalidity for a period of 7 days up to the end of 29 November 2019, with liberty to apply."
On 10 December 2019, the Court of Appeal refused to suspend the "unconstitutional" ruling by the Court of First Instance on the anti-mask regulation. As scheduled, a full hearing will commence on 9 January 2020.
According to the Hungarian Constitution, the National Assembly of Hungary can declare state of emergency in case of armed rebellion or natural or industrial disaster. It expires after 30 days, but can be extended. Most civil rights can be suspended, but basic human rights (such as the right to life, the ban of torture, and freedom of religion) cannot.
During state of emergency, the Parliament cannot be disbanded.
The Icelandic constitution provides no mechanism for the declaration of war, martial law nor state of emergency.
The State of Emergency can be proclaimed by the President of India, when he/she perceives grave threats to the nation, albeit through the advice of the cabinet of ministers. Part XVIII of the Constitution of India gives the President the power to overrule many provisions, including the ones guaranteeing fundamental rights to the citizens of India
In India, a state of emergency was declared twice:
- Between 26 October 1962 to 10 January 1968 during the India-China war — "the security of India" having been declared "threatened by external aggression".
- Between 3 December 1971 to 21 March 1977 originally proclaimed during the Indo Pakistan war, and later extended on 25 June 1975, along with the third proclamation — "the security of India" having been declared "threatened by external aggression" and by "internal disturbances"
The first internal Emergency was declared by the president, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed on advice of the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi The provisions of the Constitution allows the Prime Minister to rule by decree.
In Ireland declaring a state of "national emergency" involves Article 28.3.3° of the 1937 Constitution of Ireland, which states that:
Nothing in this Constitution [...] shall be invoked to invalidate any law enacted by the Oireachtas [parliament] which is expressed to be for the purpose of securing the public safety and the preservation of the State in time of war or armed rebellion, or to nullify any act done or purporting to be done in time of war or armed rebellion in pursuance of any such law.
In addition, during a "war or armed rebellion", military tribunals may try civilians, and the Defence Forces are not bound by habeas corpus.
The First Amendment of the Constitution of 1939 allows an emergency to be declared during wars in which the state is a non-belligerent, subject to resolutions by the houses of the Oireachtas. By the 2nd Amendment of 1941, an emergency ends, not automatically when the war does, but only by Oireachtas resolutions. The 21st Amendment of 2002 prevents the reintroduction of capital punishment during an emergency.
The first amendment was rushed through the Oireachtas after the outbreak of the Second World War, in which the state remained neutral. Immediately after, the required resolution was passed, in turn enabling the passage of the Emergency Powers Act 1939 (EPA), which granted the government and its ministers sweeping powers to issue statutory orders termed "Emergency Powers Orders" (EPOs). (The period in Ireland was and is referred to as "The Emergency".) The EPA expired in 1946, although some EPOs were continued under the Supplies and Services (Temporary Provisions) Act 1946 until as late as 1957. Rationing continued until 1951.
The 1939 state of emergency was not formally ended until a 1976 resolution, which also declared a new state of emergency in relation to the Troubles in Northern Ireland and in particular the recent assassination of the British ambassador to Ireland, Christopher Ewart Biggs. The Emergency Powers Act 1976 was then passed to increase the Garda Síochána powers to arrest, detain, and question those suspected of offences against the state. President Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh referred the bill under Article 26 of the Constitution to the Supreme Court, which upheld its constitutionality. The referral was condemned by minister Paddy Donegan as a "thundering disgrace", causing Ó Dálaigh to resign in protest. The 1976 EPA expired after one year, but the state of emergency persisted until 1995, when as part of the Northern Ireland peace process it was rescinded as a "confidence building measure" to satisfy physical force republicans after the Provisional IRA's 1994 ceasefire.
The Offences against the State Act does not require a state of emergency under Article 28.3.3°. Part V of the Act, which provides for a non-jury Special Criminal Court (SCC), is permitted under Article 38.3.1°. Part V is activated by a declaration from the government that it is "necessary to secure the preservation of public peace and order", and it can be rescinded by vote of Dáil Éireann. Provision for internment is similarly activated and rescinded (originally by Part VI of the 1939 act, later by Part II of a 1940 amending act). Parts V and VI were both activated during the Second World War and the IRA's late 1950s Border Campaign; Part V has been continually active since 1972.
Several official reviews of the Constitution and the Offences Against the State Acts have recommended a time limit within which the operation of Article 28.3.3° or Article 38.3.1° must either be explicitly renewed by resolution or else lapse.
Israel's Emergency Defence Regulations are older than the state itself, having been passed under the British Mandate for Palestine in 1945. A repeal was briefly considered in 1967 but cancelled following the Six-Day War. The regulations allow Israel, through its military, to control movements and prosecute suspected terrorists in occupied territories, and to censor publications that are deemed prejudicial to national defense.
In Italy, the state of emergency planned by the legal system is implemented by the Council of Ministers, without the need of a parliamentary vote, due to the Law n. 225 of 1992 on Civil Protection. Moreover, the Article 120 of the Constitution provides that the government can exercise "substitute powers" of local authorities in typically situations: to protect the legal or economic unity of the state, in case of violation of supranational laws and to face a serious danger for safety and public safety. For other emergency, such as a war, a parliamentary vote is required to give extraordinary powers to the government.
The Parliament can also give extraordinary powers to the government in case of health emergency, as it occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when the Parliament approved a state of emergency from 31 January 2020 to 30 April 2021, thanks to what the government can implement administrative acts, without the approval of the Parliament.
Macau SAR (China)
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress can declare a state of emergency and deploy troops from the People's Liberation Army Macau Garrison under the Article 14 of Macau's Basic Law on the defence of the Macau Special Administrative Region.
Since 1999 no emergency measure have been enacted. Prior to 1999 emergency measures have been used for 1 major incident:
- 12-3 incident (1966) – with martial law invoked and involvement of Portuguese troops
In Malaysia, if the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Monarch) is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security, or the economic life, or public order in the Federation or any part thereof is threatened, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency making therein a declaration to that effect.
In the history of Malaysia, a state of emergency was declared by the then-colonial government of Britain. The state of emergency lasted from 1948 until 1960 to deal with the communists led by Chin Peng.
States of emergency were also declared during the Konfrontasi in 1962, the 1966 Sarawak constitutional crisis and the 1977 Kelantan Emergency.
When a race riot broke out on 13 May 1969, a state of emergency was declared.
On 11 August 2005, a state of emergency was announced for the world's 13th-largest port, Port Klang and the district of Kuala Selangor after air pollution there reached dangerous levels (defined as a value greater than 500 on the Air Pollution Index or API).
Thierry Rommel, the European Commission's envoy to Malaysia, told Reuters by telephone on 13 November 2007 (the last day of his mission) that, "Today, this country still lives under (a state of) emergency." Although not officially proclaimed as a state of emergency, the Emergency Ordinance and the Internal Security Act had allowed detention for years without trial.
On 23 June 2013, a state of emergency was declared by Prime Minister Najib Razak for Muar and Ledang, Johor as smoke from land-clearing fires in Indonesia pushed the air pollution index to above 750. This was the first time in years that air quality had dipped to a hazardous level with conditions worsening as dry weather persisted and fires raged in Sumatra.
On 12 January 2021, a nationwide state of emergency was declared by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Monarch) to curb the spread of COVID-19. The state of emergency is planned to be ended on 1 August 2021. However, most of the Pakatan MPs condemned the state of emergency as it failed to contain the spread of COVID-19. Some of the Pakatan MPs plea to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to end the emergency immediately. On 25 February 2021, Yang di-Pertuan Agong announced that the parliament can be convened during the state of emergency, but this didn't stop the critics from Pakatan MPs. On 30 April 2021, a group of youth protesters were having demonstrations in front of the parliament building, denouncing the state of emergency.
A state of emergency was declared on 26 December 2004, following the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami. The resulting tsunamis caused extensive damage to the country's infrastructure, cutting off communications from large swathes of the nation, decimating islands and forcing the closure of a number of resorts due to the damage.
On 5 February 2018, a state of emergency was declared by Maldives's President Abdulla Yameen for 15 days and ordered security forces into the Supreme Court of the Maldives and arrested former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the Chief Justice of the Maldives.
The Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 gives the Government of New Zealand and local-body councils the power to issue a state of emergency, either over the entire country or within a specific region. This may suspend ordinary work and essential services if need be. States of emergency in New Zealand expire on the commencement of the seventh day after the date of a declaration unless extended. However, the Minister of Civil Defence or a local mayor may lift a state of emergency after an initial review of a region's status.
- On 25 March 2020 at 12.21 pm, the Minister for Civil Defence Peeni Henare declared a state of national emergency in response to the total cases of COVID-19 reaching 205. Combined with an epidemic notice issued under the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006, the state of emergency declaration enabled authorities to close most premises in New Zealand and enforce a nationwide lockdown. This also provided access to special powers to combat COVID-19, including powers of requisition and closing roads and restricting movement. Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black said these powers sat alongside other powers to ensure essential services could stay up and running. The state of national emergency was renewed four times, to last for a total of five weeks.
- On 23 February 2011 at 11.28 am the Minister of Civil Defence John Carter declared the first state of national emergency (for a civil-defence emergency) in New Zealand's history in response to the 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. A local state of emergency was declared by mayors of Christchurch City, Selwyn District and Waimakariri District following the 4 September 2010 Canterbury earthquake.
- In 1951, the Holland government issued emergency regulations in response to that year's waterfront dispute.
In Nigeria, a state of emergency is usually declared in times of great civil unrest. In recent years, it has specifically been implemented in reaction to terrorist attacks on Nigerians by the Islamic jihadist group Boko Haram.
On 14 May 2013, Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency for the entire northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. A more limited state of emergency had been declared on 31 December 2011 in parts of Yobe, Borno, Plateau and Niger states. This earlier declaration included the temporary shutdown of the international borders in those regions.
In Pakistan, a state of emergency was declared five times in its history:
- In 1958 by President Iskander Mirza
- In 1969 by President General Yahya Khan
- In 1977 by President General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
- In 1998 by President Muhammad Rafiq Tarar
- In 2007 by President General Pervez Musharraf
The first three were regarded as the imposition of direct martial law.
There are several situations that calls for various levels of government action in the Philippines. The constitution alludes to these:
- State of war: Declared by Manuel L. Quezon in 1941 after the United States' entry during World War II and lead to its occupation by Japanese forces.
- State of martial law: Six declarations in history (1896, 1898, 1944–45, 1972–1981, 2009 and 2017–2019)
These are not specified in the constitution, but were nevertheless declared at least once:
- State of rebellion: Last declared in 2003 due to the Oakwood mutiny
- State of emergency: Last two declarations were in 2006 and 2016–present.
- State of public health emergency: Last declared in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines.
- State of calamity: Last national declaration was in 2020–21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines. Local governments are also permitted to declare local states of calamity in their areas hit by natural and man-made disasters.
The current Constitution of Portugal empowers the President of the Republic to declare a state of siege (Portuguese: estado de sítio) or a state of emergency (Portuguese: estado de emergência) in part or the entirety of the Portuguese territory, only in cases of actual or imminent aggression by foreign forces, serious threats to or disturbances of the democratic constitutional order, or public disasters.
Such declarations allow the entities that exercise sovereignty from suspending the exercise of some of the constitutionally defined rights, freedoms and guarantees, so that the public authorities can take the appropriate and strictly necessary measures for the prompt restoration of constitutional normality; the Constitution, however, sets a temporal limit for these states of emergency (no more than fifteen days, even though renewal is possible) and forbids any suspension of the right to life, to personal integrity, to personal identity, to civil capacity and citizenship, the non-retroactivity of criminal law, the right to a fair trial, or the freedom of conscience and religion. They also may not affect the constitutionally-defined competences and mode of operation of the entities that exercise sovereignty. The Assembly of the Republic may not be dissolved while a state of siege or a state of emergency is in force, nor can the Constitution itself be subject to amendment.
During the Third Portuguese Republic, the only two times such states of exceptional suppression of constitutional provisions were declared were during the failed left-wing coup d'état of 25 November 1975 (state of siege, within the confines of the Lisbon Military Region), and during the COVID-19 pandemic (state of emergency, in the entirety of the Portuguese territory).
Within the remit of the basic law of civil protection services (Portuguese: Lei de Bases da Protecção Civil), the Prime Minister can, through a Resolution of the Council of Ministers and without the need of parliamentary approval or presidential promulgation, decree a situation of calamity (Portuguese: situação de calamidade). Lesser exceptional statuses, the situation of contingency (Portuguese: situação de contingência) and the situation of alert (Portuguese: situação de alerta) in descending order of importance, can also be set in motion by other civil protection authorities or Mayors. These three situations allow for some extraordinary measures and special restrictions, but not the suspension of constitutional rights and freedoms.
In Romania, there are two types of states of emergency, each designed for a different type of situation.
- State of alert (Stare de alertă in Romanian): Non-military, can be enforced by a prefect. Roadblocks are enforced. Any utilitarian vehicle or equipment can be temporarily used by the state, without any restriction. Evacuation is not mandatory, unless extreme circumstances apply. Only EMS, Police and firefighting personnel are required to intervene. This situation can be enforced in case of natural disasters or civil unrest.
- State of emergency (stare de urgentă in Romanian): Can only be enforced by the President of Romania with approval from Parliament. The military becomes the upper form of control in the country (under the rule of the president). The civilian population is subject to strict regulations, imposed by the type of emergency. All private and public non-crucial activities are suspended. Essential services might be disrupted. This situation can be enforced in case of extreme circumstances, such as a war.
- Special zone of public safety (Zonă specială de siguranță publică in Romanian): Administrative, can be enforced by local police. This implies installation of road check-points and higher numbers in police and gendarmes/ riot police presence, patrolling the area. There is also a ban that restricts the right to travel for people in the area; any vehicle and individual transiting the zone are subject to screening.
The most well-known event in which the state of emergency has been enforced was because of 1977 Vrancea earthquake.
The last instance in which the special zone of public safety was enforced was on 8 December 2013-ongoing, in Pungești, Vaslui following civil unrest in Pungești from Chevron's plans to begin exploring shale-gas in the village. According to police officials, the special security zone will be maintained as long as there is conflict in the area that poses a threat to Chevron's operations. This special security zone has faced domestic and international criticism for alleged human-rights abuses.
Sierra Leone declared, on 7 February 2019, a State of Emergency due to ongoing rape and sexual violence in the country. On 24 March 2020, a state of emergency was declared by His Excellency (Rtd) Brigadier Julius Madaa Bio due to global pandemic of the coronavirus.
States of emergency in South Africa are governed by section 37 of the Constitution and by the State of Emergency Act, 1997. The President may declare a state of emergency only when "the life of the nation is threatened by war, invasion, general insurrection, disorder, natural disaster or other public emergency" and if the ordinary laws and government powers are not sufficient to restore peace and order. The declaration is made by proclamation in the Government Gazette and may only apply from the time of publication, not retroactively. It can only continue for 21 days unless the National Assembly grants an extension, which may be for at most three months at a time. The High Courts have the power, subject to confirmation by the Constitutional Court, to determine the validity of the declaration of a state of emergency.
During a state of emergency the President has the power to make emergency regulations "necessary or expedient" to restore peace and order and end the emergency. This power can be delegated to other authorities. Emergency measures can violate the Bill of Rights, but only to a limited extent. Some rights are inviolable, including amongst others the rights to life and to human dignity; the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of race, sex or religion; the prohibition of torture or inhumane punishment; and the right of accused people to a fair trial. Any violation of a constitutional right must be strictly required by the emergency. Emergency measures may not indemnify the government or individuals for illegal actions. They may impose criminal penalties, but not exceeding three years' imprisonment. They may not require military service beyond that required by the ordinary laws governing the defence force. An emergency measure may be disapproved by the National Assembly, in which case it lapses, and no emergency measure may interfere with the elections, powers or sittings of Parliament or the provincial legislatures. The courts have the power to determine the validity of any emergency measure.
The constitution places strict limits on any detention without trial during a state of emergency. A friend or family member of the detainee must be informed, and the name and place of detention must be published in the Government Gazette. The detainee must have access to a doctor and a legal representative. He or she must be brought before a court within at most ten days, for the court to determine whether the detention is necessary, and if not released may demand repeated review every ten days. At the court review the detainee must be allowed legal representation and must be allowed to appear in person. The provisions on detention without trial do not apply to prisoners of war in an international conflict; instead they must be treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and other international law.
In Spain, there are three degrees of state of emergency (estado de emergencia in Spanish): alarma (alarm or alert), excepción (exception[al circumstance]) and sitio (siege). They are named by the constitution, which limits which rights may be suspended, but regulated by the "Ley Orgánica 4/1981" (Organic Law).
On 4 December 2010, the first state of alert was declared following the air traffic controllers strike. It was the first time since the Francisco Franco's regime that a state of emergency was declared. The second state of alert was declared on 14 March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The third state of alert was declared before the end of October 2020 given the difficulties to control the spread of said pandemic.
In Sri Lanka, the President is able to proclaim emergency regulations under the Public Security Ordinance in the constitution in order to preserve public security and public order; suppression of mutiny, riot or civil commotion; or maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community. These regulations last for one month unless confirmed otherwise by Parliament.
According to Art. 185 of the Swiss Federal Constitution The Federal Council (Bundesrat) can call up in their own competence military personnel of maximum 4000 militia for three weeks to safeguard inner or outer security (called Federal Intervention or Federal Execution, respectively). A larger number of soldiers or of a longer duration is subject to parliamentary decision. For deployments within Switzerland the principle of subsidiarity rules: as a first step, unrest has to be overcome with the aid of cantonal police units.
An emergency prevailed in Syria from 1962 to 2011. Originally predicated on the conflict with Israel, the emergency acted to centralize authority in the presidency and the national security apparatus while silencing public dissent. The emergency was terminated in response to protests that preceded the Syrian Civil War. Under the 2012 constitution, the president may pass an emergency decree with a 2/3 concurrence of his ministers, provided that he presents it to the legislature for constitutional review.
Trinidad and Tobago
A state of emergency was declared in 1990 during the Black Power Revolution by then Prime Minister Eric Williams. During the attempted state coup by the Jamaat al Muslimeen against the NAR government of the then Prime Minister A. N. R. Robinson, a state of emergency was declared during the coup attempt and for a period after the coup.
On 4 August 1995, a state of emergency was declared to remove the Speaker of the House Occah Seepaul by Prime Minister Patrick Manning during a constitutional crisis. The government had attempted to remove the speaker via a no-confidence motion, which failed. The state of emergency was used to remove the speaker using the emergency powers granted.
The Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced a state of emergency on 22 August 2011 at 8:00 pm in an attempt to crack down on the trafficking of illegal drugs and firearms, in addition to gangs. The decision of the President, George Maxwell Richards, to issue the proclamation for the state of emergency was debated in the country's Parliament as required by the Constitution on 2 September 2011 and passed by the required simple majority of the House of Representatives. On 4 September the Parliament extended the state of emergency for a further 3 months. It ended in December 2011.
On 15 May 2021 at 2:50pm, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Keith Rowley, declared a state of emergency following a mass surge in the number of deaths and COVID-19 infections, no hospital beds being available and a lack of COVID‑19 vaccines in dealing with a rapid and deadly spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Trinidad and Tobago, noted as being one of the worst in the world.
Since the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 the military conducted three coups d'état and announced martial law. Martial law between 1978 and 1983 was replaced by a state of emergency that lasted until November 2002. The latest state of emergency was declared by President Erdoğan on 20 July 2016 following a failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016 by a faction of the country's armed forces. It was lifted on 18 July 2018.
In the United Kingdom, only the British Sovereign, on the advice of the Privy Council, or a Minister of the Crown in exceptional circumstances, has the power to introduce emergency regulations under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, in case of an emergency, broadly defined as war or attack by a foreign power, terrorism which poses a threat of serious damage to the security of the UK, or events which threaten serious damage to human welfare or the environment of a place in the UK. The duration of these regulations is limited to thirty days, but may be extended by Parliament. A state of emergency was last invoked in 1974 by Prime Minister Edward Heath in response to increasing industrial action.
The act grants wide-ranging powers to central and local government in the event of an emergency. It allows the modification of primary legislation by emergency regulation, with the exception of the Human Rights Act 1998 and Part 2 of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.
The United States Constitution implicitly provides some emergency powers in the article about the executive power :
- Congress may authorize the government to call forth the militia to execute the laws, suppress an insurrection or repel an invasion.
- Congress may authorize the government to suspend consideration of writs of habeas corpus "when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."
- Felony charges may be brought without presentment or grand jury indictment in cases arising "in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger."
- A state government may engage in war without Congress's approval if "actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay."
Aside from these, many provisions of law exist in various jurisdictions, which take effect only upon an executive declaration of emergency; some 500 federal laws take effect upon a presidential declaration of emergency. The National Emergencies Act regulates this process at the federal level. It requires the President to specifically identify the provisions activated and to renew the declaration annually so as to prevent an arbitrarily broad or open-ended emergency. Presidents have occasionally taken action justified as necessary or prudent because of a state of emergency, only to have the action struck down in court as unconstitutional.
A state governor or local mayor may declare a state of emergency within his or her jurisdiction. This is common at the state level in response to natural disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency maintains a system of assets, personnel and training to respond to such incidents. For example, on 10 December 2015, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency due to flooding and landslides caused by heavy rains.
The 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act allows the government to freeze assets, limit trade and confiscate property in response to an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to the United States that originates substantially outside of it. As of 2015 more than twenty emergencies under the IEEPA remain active regarding various subjects, the oldest of which was declared in 1979 with regard to the government of Iran. Another ongoing national emergency, declared after the September 11 attacks, authorizes the president to retain or reactivate military personnel beyond their normal term of service.
Active in 2021
- On 15 May 2021, following a mass surge in the number of deaths and COVID-19 infections, no hospital beds being available and a lack of COVID‑19 vaccines, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Keith Rowley, declared a state of emergency due to the rapid and deadly spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Trinidad and Tobago, noted as being one of the worst in the world.
- On 1 February 2021, following a Military coup in Myanmar, Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces of Myanmar and its new State Leader, declared a state of emergency lasting one year.
- On 12 January 2021, a national state of emergency was declared by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia Al-Sultan Abdullah to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Active in 2020
- On 9 October 2020, Kyrgyzstan's President Sooronbay Jeenbekov declared a state of emergency due to the 2020 Kyrgyzstan protests.
- On 25 August 2020, Wisconsin's Governor Tony Evers declared a state of emergency due to Kenosha unrest.
- On 18 August 2020, California's Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency because of the multiple wildfires being battled across the state.
- On 5 August 2020, Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab declared a state of emergency after the 2020 Beirut explosion.
- On 6 July 2020, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for the George Floyd protests.
- On 31 May 2020, Missouri Governor Mike Parson declared a state of emergency for the George Floyd protests.
- On 31 May 2020, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for the George Floyd protests.
- On 31 May 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of emergency for the George Floyd protests.
- On 31 May 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency for the George Floyd protests.
- On 31 May 2020, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency for the George Floyd protests.
- On 28 May 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared a state of emergency for the George Floyd protests.
- On 9 April 2020, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- On 7 April 2020, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a national emergency for the COVID-19.
- On 25 March 2020, New Zealand Minister for Civil Defence Peeni Henare declared a National State Of Emergency for COVID-19.
- On 25 March 2020, Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 22 March 2020, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 21 March 2020, Kyrgyzstan Prime Minister Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 18 March 2020, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 18 March 2020, Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa declared a state of emergency for COVID-19. It was renewed twice (2 April and 17 April) in the constitutionally-mandated 15-day periods, lasting until 1 minute before midnight on 2 May 2020. Beginning midnight, 3 May 2020, the country is now in a "situation of calamity" (Portuguese: situação de calamidade), a different status enshrined in the Basic Law of Civil Protection, which allows for restrictions on circulation or conditioning in the operation of certain establishments, but not the suspension of constitutional rights and freedoms as with the state of emergency.
- On 18 March 2020, North Macedonia President Stevo Pendarovski declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 17 March 2020, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney declares public health emergency for COVID-19.
- On 17 March 2020, Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 17 March 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared all of the Philippines to be in a state of calamity following a dramatic rise in cases of COVID-19.
- On 16 March 2020, Government of Armenia declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 15 March 2020, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 15 March 2020, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 14 March 2020, Quebec Premier Francois Legault declares public health emergency for COVID-19.
- On 13 March 2020, Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sánchez announced the declaration of the state of emergency in the nation for a period of 15 days, to become effective next day after the approval of the Council of Ministers for the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain.
- On 13 March 2020, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
- On 13 March 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 13 March 2020, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 13 March 2020, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey declared a state of public health emergency for COVID-19.
- On 12 March 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 12 March 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 12 March 2020, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 11 March 2020, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 11 March 2020, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 10 March 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 10 March 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 10 March 2020, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 10 March 2020, Colorado Governor Jared Polis declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 9 March 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 9 March 2020, Ohio Governor Mike Dewine declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 8 March 2020, Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 7 March 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 6 March 2020, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 6 March 2020, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 5 March 2020, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 4 March 2020. California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 29 February 2020, Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 29 February 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 11 March 2020, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declared a state of emergency for COVID-19.
- On 3 March 2020, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee declared a state of emergency for the whole state, following the tornado outbreak of March 2–3, 2020.
Past states of emergency
- On 7 January 2021, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared the second state of emergency for the COVID-19 in several prefectures. It was lifted on 22 March.
- On 14 January 2021, New Mexico's Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a state of emergency in preparation of Inauguration of Joe Biden.
- On 15 January 2021, Maryland's Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in preparation of Inauguration of Joe Biden.
- On 6 January 2021, Virginia's Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency due to 2021 storming of the United States Capitol.
- On 11 January 2021, outgoing President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for two weeks in Washington DC in preparation of Inauguration of Joe Biden.
- On 15 October 2020, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha declared a state of extreme emergency in Bangkok due to 2020 Thai protests. and was lifted on 22 October.
- On 7 April 2020, Japan Prime Minister Shinzō Abe declared a national emergency for the COVID-19.
- On 21 March 2020, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili declared a state of emergency for COVID-19. State of emergency was prolonged for one month on 22 April 2020 and expired on 23 May 2020.
- In November 2019, New South Wales, Australia declared a seven-day state of emergency granting "emergency powers" to fire-fighting agencies due to major bushfires occurring in the state.
- In October 2019, Ecuador declared a 60-day state of emergency after violent protests following the ending of fuel subsidies.
- On 18 October 2019, a state of emergency was declared in the capital of Chile, Santiago, after violent protests broke out in response to the rising cost of living. This state of emergency was later extended to other cities in the country. The state of emergency was lifted on 27 October 2019.
- At midnight on 23 April 2019, a state of emergency was declared across Sri Lanka following multiple bomb attacks on churches, luxury hotels and other locations across the country in which 253 people were killed and more than 500 injured. After being extended three times, the state of emergency was lifted on 25 August 2019.
- On 15 February 2019, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on the U.S. border with Mexico to allocate funds towards a border wall.
- In March 2018 a state of emergency was imposed in Sri Lanka in Kandy for 10 days following clashes between Sinhalese and Muslims.
- In February 2018, Ethiopia declared a 6-month long state of emergency following the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
- Following the 2017 Palm Sunday church bombings in Egypt, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared a nationwide three-month-long state of emergency.
- On 12 August 2017, a state of emergency was declared in the U.S. state of Virginia due to escalating tensions amid protesters and counter-protesters in Charlottesville.
- On 21 September 2016, a state of emergency was declared in the U.S. state of North Carolina for riots in Charlotte after a police shooting of a black male.
- On 4 September 2016, a state of emergency was declared in the Philippines by President Rodrigo Duterte following 2 September bombings in Davao City that killed 14 people and seriously wounded at least 60 others.
- On 12 June 2016, following the Orlando nightclub shooting in which at least 50 people were killed (including the shooter), the Governor of Florida declared a state of emergency in the immediate Orlando area.
- In May 2016, Venezuela declared a 60-day state of emergency due to mass protests against the government of President Nicolás Maduro, further fueled by the impeachment process against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, which Maduro believes is the result of an American conspiracy to overthrow him.
- On 22 November 2015, Crimea declared a state of emergency after pylons in Ukraine were blown up leaving 1,896,000 people without power.
- France declared a state of emergency in response to the November 2015 Paris attacks which after five extensions ended in November 2017.
- On 27 April 2015 the U.S. state of Maryland declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard of the United States, as a direct result of the rioting and widespread physical violence during protesting in Baltimore due to the Death of Freddie Gray.
- In March 2013, Myanmar declared a state of emergency in the city of Meiktila due to ongoing sectarian violence.
- Egypt had been under a nearly-continuous state of emergency since 1967 (interrupted for 18 months in 1980–81); the People's Assembly renewed it every two to three years. The state of emergency expired on 31 May 2012.
- Tunisia declared state of emergency January 2011, following unrest from economic issues.
- 28 November 2011 – Slovakia declared a state of emergency for numerous hospitals, due to resignation of many Medicare workers.
- 21 August 2011 – Trinidad and Tobago, in an attempt to crack down on the trafficking of illegal drugs and firearms, in addition to gangs.
- 15 March 2011 – Bahrain declared a state of emergency on 15 March 2011 and asked the military to reassert its control over the capital, Manama, as clashes between Shia and Sunni groups spread across the country. Bahrain has been gripped by deepening political unrest and widespread protests for over a month, with the Shia majority and some Sunni liberals calling for democracy and an end to discrimination.
- 30 September 2010 – A state of emergency was declared in Ecuador due to a coup by armed forces.
- 11 April 2009 – Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared a state of emergency in the areas of Pattaya and Chonburi, in response to anti-government protesters breaking into the conference center of a hotel complex in the seaside resort city of Pattaya, in the then-venue site of the ASEAN was being held, immediately resulting in its cancellation. Another state of emergency on 12 April 2009, was announced in Bangkok and the surrounding areas, due to an heightened escalation of tension between the government and anti-government protesters, but was later lifted.
- January 2009 – Slovakia was in a state of emergency due to natural gas supply shortage.
- 11 January 2007 – Bangladesh was in a state of emergency due to electoral violence. This ended on 16 December 2008, when new parliamentary elections were organized.
- 26 November 2008 – In Maharashtra state, India, Maharashtra Government declared a state of Emergency following the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
- 2 September 2008 – A state of emergency was declared in Bangkok by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej following civil unrest; it was lifted on 14 September 2008.
- 1 July 2008 – Mongolian president Nambaryn Enkhbayar declared a state of emergency in the capital Ulaanbaatar for four days after violent protests against the ex-communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP). The MPRP had claimed a majority of seats in the 2008 parliamentary elections, but was accused of fraud and vote rigging by the less-successful parties.
- March 2008 – Armenia was in a state of emergency from 2 March 2008 to 20 March 2008, declared by President Robert Kocharyan in response to protests over the 2008 Armenian presidential elections.
- 3 November 2007 – Pakistan was in a state of emergency from 3 November 2007 to 15 December 2007. President Pervez Musharraf declared emergency "to stop Pakistan from committing suicide". He lifted the state of emergency after he resigned from the army and took the oath of office as a civilian President of Pakistan.
- 24 February 2006 – the Philippines declared a state of emergency via Philippine Proclamation 1017 for one week until Philippine Proclamation 1021, in response to a supposed coup against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's government in the midst of the 20th anniversary of the 1986 People Power Revolution that toppled the rule of Ferdinand Marcos.
- August 2005 – Portugal declares state of emergency, in response to wildfires.
- Mid-August 2005 – Sucumbios and Orellana, two provinces of Ecuador, because of indigenous protests against oil firms
- 15 April 2005 – Quito, capital of Ecuador due to protests; lifted less than a day later, on 17 April 2005.
- December 2004 – Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Maldives because of the tsunami.
- November 2003 – Georgia, following weeks of civil unrest.
- August 2003 – Michigan, Ohio, New York, United States, and Ontario, Canada, in response to the 2003 North America blackout.
- March 2003 – Serbia after assassination of Zoran Đinđić (vanredno stanje).
- July 2002 – Paraguay, in response to public unrest.
- November 2001 – Nepal, in response to increased guerrilla activity.
- 30 November 1999 – The U.S. city of Seattle, Washington, stemming from protest of the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 and police reaction to it – known as the 1999 Seattle WTO protests.
- May–June 1998 – Indonesia declares state of emergency, due to May 1998 riots of Indonesia.
- 2 March 1997 – The 1997 unrest in Albania, also known as the Lottery Uprising or Anarchy in Albania, was an uprising sparked by Ponzi scheme failures. Albania descended into anarchy and violence in which the government was toppled and some 2,000 people were killed. On 1 March, Prime Minister Aleksandër Meksi resigned and on 2 March President Sali Berisha declared a state of emergency.
- 5 August 1995 – Trinidad and Tobago to remove Speaker of the House Occah Seapaul who refused to resign.
- Winter 1995 – The U.S. city of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan after a severe snowstorm buried the city in 6 feet (1.8 m) of snow.
- April–May 1992 – California, United States. State of Emergency was declared in response of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which were caused by the acquittal of the police officers who had been seen on tape beating Rodney King.
- March 1992 – Republic of Moldova, in response to War of Transnistria
- 1992 to 2011 – Algeria endures a 19-year state of emergency enacted at the beginning of the 1992 coup. The state of emergency, which suspended citizens' rights in lieu of military power, was lifted after the Algerian Government gave in to protester demands during the 2011 Arab Spring.
- August 1991 – Soviet Union, enemies of Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms evoked the state of emergency because Gorbachev, according to them, was destroying both communism and the state itself. The coup was led by the acting president of the Soviet Union, Gennady Yanayev.
- July–August 1990 – Trinidad and Tobago declared a state of emergency when a group stormed Parliament and a TV Station holding government officials, including the Prime Minister at ransom. See Jamaat al Muslimeen coup attempt
- July 1985 to February 1990 – South Africa, in response to increasing civil unrest and township violence opposing apartheid rule.
- 1975 to 1977 – India, Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in 1975 in response to political opposition and her own conviction on charges of electoral fraud. The Emergency lasted for 21 months.
- 1972 to 1976 – Mauritius, due to ethnic and labor-related unrest. Elections were suspended during this period, and political rights were broadly circumscribed.
- 1971 – Queensland, Australia in response to fears over increasing protest over the 1971 Springbok tour
- 1970 to 1972 – Trinidad and Tobago; a state of emergency was declared to deal with the Black Power Revolution which also included a mutiny in the Military.
- 1972 – the United Kingdom in response to increasingly militant industrial action.
- October 1970 – Quebec in response to the October Crisis kidnappings of government officials.
- July 1967 – Detroit, United States in response to the 12th Street riot started on Sunday morning during a blind pig raid.
- October 1962 – United States in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
- 1963 to 2011 – Syria during the Arab–Israeli conflict.
- 1948 to 1960 – Malayan Emergency in Malaysia and Singapore
- 1958 – Malta due to riots against the colonial government following Prime Minister Dom Mintoff's resignation.
- 1950 to 1978 – United States due to the Cold War, specifically the threat of "world conquest by communist imperialism."
- 1948 to 1991 – China declared the state of emergency in response to the communist insurgency during the Chinese Civil War. Martial law was declared in both Mainland China and Taiwan, the latter following the February 28 incident in 1947 but was lifted in 1987. Eventually, Mainland China fell to the victorious Communists led by Mao Zedong who established the People's Republic of China in 1949.
- 1939 to 1952 – United States due to World War II
- 1941 to 1942 – Moscow due to the German advance to within 19 miles (31 km) of the city
- October 1936 – Spain in response to the proclamation of the Catalan State and the ongoing Asturian miners' strike of 1934.
- 18 March 1907 – Moldavia and Wallachia in Romania during the 1907 Romanian Peasants' Revolt.
- Arbitrary arrest and detention
- Article 48 (Weimar Constitution)
- Continuity of Government Plan
- Due process
- International humanitarian law
- Search and seizure
- Senate Report 93-549
- Snow emergency
- State of exception
- Unitary executive theory
- Presidential Emergency Action Documents
- See Judson, 2012, "Where is R2P grounded in international law".
- European Convention on Human Rights, Article 15
- American Convention on Human Rights, Article 27
- Agamben 2005
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