Strasbourg Observers

New book: Integrated Human Rights in Practice. Rewriting Human Rights Decisions

November 02, 2017

We are glad to present you the recent volume Integrated Human Rights in Practice. Rewriting Human Rights Decisions, with Edward Elgar Publishing (Eva Brems and Ellen Desmet, eds.). The book is the result of a collaborative effort of the Human Rights Integration network with international human rights experts Martin Scheinin, Rhona Smith, Gerald L Neuman, Malcolm Langford and Magnus Killander.

This is the book’s blurb:

This book aims to introduce concrete and innovative proposals for a holistic approach to supranational human rights justice through a hands-on legal exercise: the rewriting of decisions of supranational human rights monitoring bodies. The contributing scholars have thus redrafted crucial passages of landmark human rights judgments and decisions, ‘as if human rights law were really one’, borrowing or taking inspiration from developments and interpretations throughout the whole multi-layered human rights protection system. In addition to the rewriting exercise, the contributors have outlined the methodology and/or theoretical framework that guided their approaches and explain how human rights monitoring bodies may adopt an integrated approach to human rights law.

Integrated Human Rights in Practice shows that even within the current fragmented landscape of international human rights law, it is possible to integrate human rights to a significantly higher degree than is generally the case. Redrafted opinions deal with major contemporary issues such as conscientious objection by health service providers, intersectional discrimination of minority women, the rights of persons with disabilities, the rights of indigenous peoples against powerful economic interests, and the human rights impact of austerity measures.

The first chapter “Introduction: rewriting decisions from a perspective of human rights integration” (by Eva Brems), is free to access here.

It will be of particular interest to the readership of Strasbourg Observers that the following judgments of the European Court of Human Rights are now available in ‘version 2.0’: National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers v. the United Kingdom (by Sébastien Vandrooghenbroeck, Frédéric Krenc and Olivier Van der Noot), RMS v. Spain (by Valeska David), Centre for Legal Resources on behalf of Valentin Câmpeanu v. Romania (by Helena De Vylder) and McDonald v. The United Kingdom (by Marijke De Pauw and Paul De Hert).

At the European level, also rewritten are the Glatzel case from the Court of Justice of the European Union (by Antoine Bailleux and Isabelle Hachez) as well as Federation of employed pensioners of Greece (IKA-ETAM) v. Greece (by Wouter Vandenhole) and International Planned Parenthood Federation – European Network (IPPF-EN) v. Italy (by Emmanuelle Bribosia, Ivana Isailovic and Isabelle Rorive), two decisions delivered by the European Committee of Social Rights.

Turning to the UN human rights treaty bodies, three decisions of the Human Rights Committee have been looked afresh at: AP v. Russian Federation (by Gerald L Neuman), Joslin et al. v New Zealand (by Malcolm Langford) and Paadar et al. v. Finland (by Martin Scheinin). Also Yilmaz-Dogan v. The Netherlands of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) (by Rhona Smith) and A.S. v. Hungary of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (by Eva Brems) were redrafted.

Finally, three decisions from the African and Inter-American human rights systems were rewritten from an integrated perspective on human rights. These are Zongo v. Burkina Faso of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (by Magnus Killander), Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC) and Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) v. Nigeria (the Ogoni case) of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (by Stefaan Smis and Derek Inman), and the case of the Indigenous People of Sarayaku v. Ecuador of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (by Lieselot Verdonck and Ellen Desmet).

The present book does not aim to offer a comprehensive theory on human rights integration. It does indicate some reasons why and does show concrete ways in which an integrated approach to human rights could work for a supranational human rights body. In this way, we hope that the volume will contribute to a constructive dialogue on the issues of integration and fragmentation of human rights among practitioners and academics.

Another way to study human rights integration, at a more conceptual level, has been explored in the volume Children’s Rights Law in the Global Human Rights Landscape: Isolation, Inspiration, Integration, also of 2017, with Routledge (Eva Brems, Ellen Desmet and Wouter Vandenhole, eds):

Children’s rights law is often studied and perceived in isolation from the broader field of human rights law. This volume explores the inter-relationship between children’s rights law and more general human rights law in order to see whether elements from each could successfully inform the other. Children’s rights law has a number of distinctive characteristics, such as the emphasis on the ‘best interests of the child’, the use of general principles, and the inclusion of ‘third parties’ (e.g. parents and other care-takers) in treaty provisions. The first part of this book questions whether these features could be a source of inspiration for general human rights law. In part two, the reverse question is asked: could children’s rights law draw inspiration from developments in other branches of human rights law that focus on other specific categories of rights holders, such as women, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, or older persons? Finally, the interaction between children’s rights law and human rights law – and the potential for their isolation, inspiration or integration – may be coloured or determined by the thematic issue under consideration. Therefore the third part of the book studies the interplay between children’s rights law and human rights law in the context of specific topics: intra-family relations, LGBTQI marginalization, migration, media, the environment and transnational human rights obligations.

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