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The multifaceted and crucial role played by NGOs at the European Court of Human Rights

August 4, 2014

This guest post was written by Laura Van den Eynde, Doctoral Researcher at Université libre de Bruxelles. (*)

On 17 and 24 July 2014, the European Court of Human Rights decided three cases, one against Romania concerning the death of a mentally disabled and HIV-positive young Roma and two other cases against Poland concerning the detention and transfer of terrorist suspects who were subjected to torture.[1] Beyond the fact that the cases involve particularly shocking human rights violations and that the judgments are quite long, what else would they have in common? As will be demonstrated hereunder, these cases would not have been decided – or decided with that information at hand – if there hadn’t been civil society organizations caring to denounce and document the human rights violations at stake. Read more…

M.E. v. Sweden: Back to The Closet

July 28, 2014

This guest post is written by Sander Steendam.

 

In M.E. v. Sweden, the fifth section of the Strasbourg Court has ruled that requiring aliens to temporarily return to their home country and hide their sexual orientation pending family reunion is not a violation of article 3 of the Convention (prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment).

Read more…

Mennesson v. France and Labassee v. France: Surrogate motherhood across borders

July 16, 2014

This guest post was written by Liesbet Pluym, PhD candidate at Ghent University.

Surrogate motherhood is a complex phenomenon which can lead to many different human right questions: would the absolute prohibition of surrogacy in domestic laws be in accordance with the right to respect for private and family life (art. 8 ECHR)? If it is legally regulated, would e.g. the exclusion of gay couples be in breach with article 8, 14 ECHR? Would denying maternal rights to the surrogate mother and not giving her a right to reconsider her decision once the child is born, be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights?

The application of international private law rules also leads to uncertainty concerning the compatibility with human right treaties en declarations. The cases of Mennesson v. France and Labassee v. France concerned the French refusal to grant legal recognition in France to parent-child relationships that had been legally established in the United States between children born as a result of surrogacy treatment and the couples on whose request the treatment was performed. The European Court of Human Rights held that there had been a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular the children’s right to respect to private life ⎼ but no violation of the right of the children or intented parents to respect of family life.

Read more…

Making subsidiarity work: Struggling with procedural review – A.K. v. Latvia

July 14, 2014

The applicant in AK v Latvia is unhappy with the fact that she gave birth to a daughter with Down’s syndrome. She claims that the she was denied access to important medical information in the form of an antenatal screening test owing to negligence of her gynaecologist, in violation of article 8 ECHR. Read more…

S.A.S. v. France as a problematic precedent

July 9, 2014

As this blog already features an excellent post on SAS v France, this is a brief contribution, with a specific focus, namely SAS v France as a problematic precedent beyond the issue of the face veil and even beyond religious freedom cases. I shall focus on two problematic aspects of the judgment: its acceptance of the promotion of ‘living together’ as a legitimate ground for the restriction of fundamental rights, coupled with a wide margin of appreciation; and the way it assesses the seriousness of the interference. Read more…

The European Court of Human Rights has spoken … again. Does Turkey listen?

July 7, 2014

This guest post was written by Dr Elena Katselli, Senior Lecturer in Law at Newcastle Law School

Thirteen years have elapsed since the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECtHR) judgment in Cyprus v Turkey in which the Court found Turkey responsible for 14 violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and its Protocols. The violations related to 1,485 Greek Cypriots who disappeared during the Turkish military invasion and occupation of Cyprus in 1974; the living conditions of enclaved Greek Cypriots living in the occupied area of Karpas since thereafter; and displacement.[1] Read more…

A Lesson for Applicants: Don’t Agree to a Relinquishment to the Grand Chamber (S.A.S. v. France Part 2)

July 4, 2014

This guest post was written by Ronan Ó Fathaigh* is a PhD researcher at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University.

I have just read the judgment in S.A.S. v. France, where the 17-judge Grand Chamber of the European Court held that the face-veil ban in France does not violate the European Convention.Others have commented on the merits of the case (see Saïla and Lourdes’ post), but one thing struck me that needs to be aired as a lesson for applicants: don’t agree to a relinquishment to the Grand Chamber. Read more…

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