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Article

Access_open Can Non-discrimination Law Change Hearts and Minds?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords law and society, social change, discrimination, non-discrimination law, positive action
Authors Anita Böcker
AbstractAuthor's information

    A question that has preoccupied sociolegal scholars for ages is whether law can change ‘hearts and minds’. This article explores whether non-discrimination law can create social change, and, more particularly, whether it can change attitudes and beliefs as well as external behaviour. The first part examines how sociolegal scholars have theorised about the possibility and desirability of using law as an instrument of social change. The second part discusses the findings of empirical research on the social working of various types of non-discrimination law. What conclusions can be drawn about the ability of non-discrimination law to create social change? What factors influence this ability? And can non-discrimination law change people’s hearts and minds as well as their behaviour? The research literature does not provide an unequivocal answer to the latter question. However, the overall picture emerging from the sociolegal literature is that law is generally more likely to bring about changes in external behaviour and that it can influence attitudes and beliefs only indirectly, by altering the situations in which attitudes and opinions are formed.


Anita Böcker
Anita Böcker is associate professor of Sociology of Law at Radboud University, Nijmegen.
Article

Access_open Positive State Obligations under European Law: A Tool for Achieving Substantive Equality for Sexual Minorities in Europe

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Positive obligations, sexual minorities, sexual orientation, European law, human rights
Authors Alina Tryfonidou
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article seeks to examine the development of positive obligations under European law in the specific context of the rights of sexual minorities. It is clear that the law should respect and protect all sexualities and diverse intimate relationships without discrimination, and for this purpose it needs to ensure that sexual minorities can not only be free from state interference when expressing their sexuality in private, but that they should be given the right to express their sexuality in public and to have their intimate relationships legally recognised. In addition, sexual minorities should be protected from the actions of other individuals, when these violate their legal and fundamental human rights. Accordingly, in addition to negative obligations, European law must impose positive obligations towards sexual minorities in order to achieve substantive equality for them. The article explains that, to date, European law has imposed a number of such positive obligations; nonetheless, there is definitely scope for more. It is suggested that European law should not wait for hearts and minds to change before imposing additional positive obligations, especially since this gives the impression that the EU and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) are condoning or disregarding persistent discrimination against sexual minorities.


Alina Tryfonidou
Professor of Law, University of Reading.
Article

Access_open A Positive State Obligation to Counter Dehumanisation under International Human Rights Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Dehumanisation, International Human Rights Law, Positive State obligations, Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination
Authors Stephanie Eleanor Berry
AbstractAuthor's information

    International human rights law (IHRL) was established in the aftermath of the Second World War to prevent a reoccurrence of the atrocities committed in the name of fascism. Central to this aim was the recognition that out-groups are particularly vulnerable to rights violations committed by the in-group. Yet, it is increasingly apparent that out-groups are still subject to a wide range of rights violations, including those associated with mass atrocities. These rights violations are facilitated by the dehumanisation of the out-group by the in-group. Consequently, this article argues that the creation of IHRL treaties and corresponding monitoring mechanisms should be viewed as the first step towards protecting out-groups from human rights violations. By adopting the lens of dehumanisation, this article demonstrates that if IHRL is to achieve its purpose, IHRL monitoring mechanisms must recognise the connection between dehumanisation and rights violations and develop a positive State obligation to counter dehumanisation. The four treaties explored in this article, the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, all establish positive State obligations to prevent hate speech and to foster tolerant societies. These obligations should, in theory, allow IHRL monitoring mechanisms to address dehumanisation. However, their interpretation of the positive State obligation to foster tolerant societies does not go far enough to counter unconscious dehumanisation and requires more detailed elaboration.


Stephanie Eleanor Berry
Senior Lecturer in International Human Rights Law, University of Sussex.
Article

Access_open The Potential of Positive Obligations Against Romaphobic Attitudes and in the Development of ‘Roma Pride’

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Roma, Travellers, positive obligations, segregation, culturally adequate accommodation
Authors Lilla Farkas and Theodoros Alexandridis
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article analyses the jurisprudence of international tribunals on the education and housing of Roma and Travellers to understand whether positive obligations can change the hearts and minds of the majority and promote minority identities. Case law on education deals with integration rather than cultural specificities, while in the context of housing it accommodates minority needs. Positive obligations have achieved a higher level of compliance in the latter context by requiring majorities to tolerate the minority way of life in overwhelmingly segregated settings. Conversely, little seems to have changed in education, where legal and institutional reform, as well as a shift in both majority and minority attitudes, would be necessary to dismantle social distance and generate mutual trust. The interlocking factors of accessibility, judicial activism, European politics, expectations of political allegiance and community resources explain jurisprudential developments. The weak justiciability of minority rights, the lack of resources internal to the community and dual identities among the Eastern Roma impede legal claims for culture-specific accommodation in education. Conversely, the protection of minority identity and community ties is of paramount importance in the housing context, subsumed under the right to private and family life.


Lilla Farkas
Lilla Farkas is a practising lawyer in Hungary and recently earned a PhD from the European University Institute entitled ‘Mobilising for racial equality in Europe: Roma rights and transnational justice’. She is the race ground coordinator of the European Union’s Network of Legal Experts in Gender Equality and Non-discrimination.

Theodoros Alexandridis
Theodoros Alexandridis is a practicing lawyer in Greece.
Article

Access_open Right to Access Information as a Collective-Based Approach to the GDPR’s Right to Explanation in European Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords automated decision-making, right to access information, right to explanation, prohibition on discrimination, public information
Authors Joanna Mazur
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents a perspective which focuses on the right to access information as a mean to ensure a non-discriminatory character of algorithms by providing an alternative to the right to explanation implemented in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). I adopt the evidence-based assumption that automated decision-making technologies have an inherent discriminatory potential. The example of a regulatory means which to a certain extent addresses this problem is the approach based on privacy protection in regard to the right to explanation. The Articles 13-15 and 22 of the GDPR provide individual users with certain rights referring to the automated decision-making technologies. However, the right to explanation not only may have a very limited impact, but it also focuses on individuals thus overlooking potentially discriminated groups. Because of this, the article offers an alternative approach on the basis of the right to access information. It explores the possibility of using this right as a tool to receive information on the algorithms determining automated decision-making solutions. Tracking an evolution of the interpretation of Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Right and Fundamental Freedoms in the relevant case law aims to illustrate how the right to access information may become a collective-based approach towards the right to explanation. I consider both, the potential of this approach, such as its more collective character e.g. due to the unique role played by the media and NGOs in enforcing the right to access information, as well as its limitations.


Joanna Mazur
Joanna Mazur, M.A., PhD student, Faculty of Law and Administration, Uniwersytet Warszawski.

    In the process of adjudication and litigation, indigenous peoples are usually facing a very complex and demanding process to prove their rights to their lands and ancestral territories. Courts and tribunals usually impose a very complex and onerous burden of proof on the indigenous plaintiffs to prove their rights over their ancestral territories. To prove their rights indigenous peoples often have to develop map of their territories to prove their economic, cultural, and spiritual connections to their territories. This article reflects on the role played by the mapping of indigenous territories in supporting indigenous peoples’ land claims. It analyses the importance of mapping within the process of litigation, but also its the impact beyond the courtroom.


Jeremie Gilbert PhD
Jeremie Gilbert is professor of Human Rights Law, University of Roehampton.

Ben Begbie-Clench
Ben Begdie-Clench is a consultant working with San communities in southern Africa.

    The judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of Kaliña and Lokono Peoples v. Suriname is noteworthy for a number of reasons. Particularly important is the Court’s repeated citation and incorporation of various provisions of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into its interpretation of the American Convention on Human Rights. This aids in greater understanding of the normative value of the Declaration’s provisions, particularly when coupled with the dramatic increase in affirmations of that instrument by UN treaty bodies, Special Procedures and others. The Court’s analysis also adds detail and further content to the bare architecture of the Declaration’s general principles and further contributes to the crystallisation of the discrete, although still evolving, body of law upholding indigenous peoples’ rights. Uptake of the Court’s jurisprudence by domestic tribunals further contributes to this state of dynamic interplay between sources and different fields of law.


Fergus MacKay JD
Article

Access_open The Peer Review Process of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes

A Critical Assessment on Authority and Legitimacy

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information, exercise of regulatory authority, due process requirements, peer review reports, legitimacy
Authors Leo E.C. Neve
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Global Forum on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes has undertaken peer reviews on the implementation of the global standard of exchange of information on request, both from the perspective of formalities available and from the perspective of actual implementation. In the review reports Global Forum advises jurisdictions on required amendments of regulations and practices. With these advices, the Global Forum exercises regulatory authority. The article assesses the legitimacy of the exercise of such authority by the Global Forum and concludes that the exercise of such authority is not legitimate for the reason that the rule of law is abused by preventing jurisdictions to adhere to due process rules.


Leo E.C. Neve
Leo Neve is a doctoral student at the Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open The Right to Same-Sex Marriage: Assessing the European Court of Human Rights’ Consensus-Based Analysis in Recent Judgments Concerning Equal Marriage Rights

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2017
Keywords same-sex marriage, gay marriage, European consensus, margin of appreciation, consensus-based analysis by the ECtHR
Authors Masuma Shahid
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution assesses the consensus-based analysis and reasoning of the European Court of Human Rights in recent judgments concerning equal marriage rights and compares it to the Court’s past jurisprudence on European consensus and the margin of appreciation awarded to Member States regarding the issue of equal marriage rights. The contribution aims to analyse whether there is a parallel to be seen between the rapid global trend of legalisation of same-sex marriage and the development or evolution of the case law of the ECtHR on the same topic. Furthermore, it demonstrates that the Court’s consensus-based analysis is problematic for several reasons and provides possible alternative approaches to the balancing of the Court between, on the one hand, protecting rights of minorities (in this case same-sex couples invoking equal marriage rights) under the European Convention on Human Rights and, on the other hand, maintaining its credibility, authority and legitimacy towards Member States that might disapprove of the evolving case law in the context of same-sex relationships. It also offers insights as to the future of European consensus in the context of equal marriage rights and ends with some concluding remarks.


Masuma Shahid
Lecturer, Department of International and European Union Law, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Religious Freedom of Members of Old and New Minorities: A Double Comparison

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2017
Keywords ECtHR, UNHRC, religious manifestations, religious minorities, empirical analysis
Authors Fabienne Bretscher
AbstractAuthor's information

    Confronted with cases of restrictions of the right to manifest religious beliefs of new religious minorities formed by recent migration movements, the ECtHR and the UNHRC seem to opt for different interpretations and applications of this right, as recent conflicting decisions show. Based on an empirical legal analysis of the two bodies’ decisions on individual complaints, this article finds that these conflicting decisions are part of a broader divergence: While the UNHRC functions as a protector of new minorities against States’ undue interference in their right to manifest their religion, the ECtHR leaves it up to States how to deal with religious diversity brought by new minorities. In addition, a quantitative analysis of the relevant case law showed that the ECtHR is much less likely to find a violation of the right to freedom of religion in cases brought by new religious minorities as opposed to old religious minorities. Although this could be a hint towards double standards, a closer look at the examined case law reveals that the numerical differences can be explained by the ECtHR’s weaker protection of religious manifestations in the public as opposed to the private sphere. Yet, this rule has an important exception: Conscientious objection to military service. By examining the development of the relevant case law, this article shows that this exception bases on a recent alteration of jurisprudence by the ECtHR and that there are similar prospects for change regarding other religious manifestations in the public sphere.


Fabienne Bretscher
PhD candidate at the University of Zurich.
Article

Access_open The Right to Mental Health in the Digital Era

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2016
Keywords E-health, e-mental health, right to health, right to mental health
Authors Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj
AbstractAuthor's information

    People with mental illness usually experience higher rates of disability and mortality. Often, health care systems do not adequately respond to the burden of mental disorders worldwide. The number of health care providers dealing with mental health care is insufficient in many countries. Equal access to necessary health services should be granted to mentally ill people without any discrimination. E-mental health is expected to enhance the quality of care as well as accessibility, availability and affordability of services. This paper examines under what conditions e-mental health can contribute to realising the right to health by using the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality (AAAQ) framework that is developed by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Research shows e-mental health facilitates dissemination of information, remote consultation and patient monitoring and might increase access to mental health care. Furthermore, patient participation might increase, and stigma and discrimination might be reduced by the use of e-mental health. However, e-mental health might not increase the access to health care for everyone, such as the digitally illiterate or those who do not have access to the Internet. The affordability of this service, when it is not covered by insurance, can be a barrier to access to this service. In addition, not all e-mental health services are acceptable and of good quality. Policy makers should adopt new legal policies to respond to the present and future developments of modern technologies in health, as well as e-Mental health. To analyse the impact of e-mental health on the right to health, additional research is necessary.


Fatemeh Kokabisaghi
Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj are Ph.D. candidates at the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. All authors contributed equally.

Iris Bakx
Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj are Ph.D. candidates at the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. All authors contributed equally.

Blerta Zenelaj
Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj are Ph.D. candidates at the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. All authors contributed equally.

    This article sets out to contribute to the special issue devoted to multi-disciplinary legal research by discussing first the limits of purely doctrinal legal research in relation to a particular topic and second the relevant considerations in devising research that (inter alia) draws on non-legal, auxiliary disciplines to ‘fill in’ and guide the legal framework. The topic concerned is the (analysis of the) fundamental rights of minorities.
    The article starts with a long account of the flaws in the current legal analysis of the European Court of Human Rights regarding minorities’ rights, particularly the reduction in its analysis and the related failure to properly identify and weigh all relevant interests and variables. This ‘prelude’ provides crucial insights in the causes of the flaws in the Court’s jurisprudence: lack of knowledge (about the relevant interests and variables) and concerns with the Court’s political legitimacy.
    The article goes on to argue for the need for multi-disciplinary legal research to tackle the lack of knowledge: more particularly by drawing on sociology (and related social sciences) and political philosophy as auxiliary disciplines to identify additional interests and variables for the rights analysis. The ensuing new analytical framework for the analysis of minorities’ rights would benefit international courts (adjudicating on human rights) generally. To operationalise and refine the new analytical framework, the research should furthermore have regard to the practice of (a selection of) international courts and national case studies.


Kristin Henrard
Professor of minorities and fundamental rights at the Erasmus School of Law.
Article

Access_open Global Citizens and Family Relations

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2014
Keywords global governance, family relations, nationality, habitual residence, party autonomy
Authors Professor Yuko Nishitani Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    As globalisation progresses, cross-border movements of people are becoming dynamic and multilateral. The existence of different groups and minorities within the community renders the society multiethnic and multicultural. As individuals acquire new affiliation and belonging, the conventional conflict of laws methods may no longer be viable and should be subject to a thorough re-examination. Against this background, this paper analyses appropriate conflicts rules in international family relations to reflect an individual’s identity. Furthermore, in light of the contemporary law fragmentation, this study also analyses interactions between state law and non-state cultural, religious or customary norms.


Professor Yuko Nishitani Ph.D.
Professor at Kyushu University Faculty of Law, Japan. This work was supported by the JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (Grant Number 26380063). The author sincerely thanks Professor Carol Lawson (Nagoya University) and Ms. Nettie Dekker for their devoted editing work.
Article

Access_open A Turn to Legal Pluralism in Rule of Law Promotion?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords legal pluralism, rule of law promotion, legal reform, customary law, non-state legal systems, donor policy
Authors Dr.mr Ronald Janse
AbstractAuthor's information

    Over the past 25 years, international organizations, NGOs and (mostly Western) states have spent considerable energy and resources on strengthening and reforming legal systems in developing countries. The results of these efforts have generally been disappointing, despite occasional successes. Among donors, one of most popular explanations of this failure in recent years is that rule of law promotion has wrongly focused almost exclusively on strengthening the formal legal system. Donors have therefore decided to 'engage' with informal justice systems. The turn to legal plu‍ra‍lism is to be welcomed for various reasons. But it is also surprising and worrisome. It is surprising because legal pluralism in developing countries was a fact of life before rule of law promotion began. What made donors pursuing legal reform blind to this reality for so long? It is worrisome because it is not self-evident that the factors which have contributed to such cognitive blindness have disappeared overnight. Are donors really ready to refocus their efforts on legal pluralism and 'engage' with informal justice systems? This paper, which is based on a review of the literature on donor engamenet with legal pluralism in so-called conflict affected and fragile states, is about these questions. It argues that 7 factors have been responsible for donor blindness regarding legal pluralism. It questions whether these factors have been addressed.


Dr.mr Ronald Janse
Ronald Janse is Associate Professor of Law, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Unity in Multiplicity: Shared Cultural Understandings on Marital Life in a Damascus Catholic and Muslim Court

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3/4 2013
Keywords Syria, personal status law, Eastern Catholic law, patriarchal family, marital obligations
Authors Esther Van Eijk Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Family relations in Syria are governed by a plurality of personal status laws and courts. This plurality manifests itself on a variety of levels, including statutory, communal and individual. In this article, the author argues that, albeit this plurality, Syrian personal status law is also characterised by the prevalence of shared, gendered norms and views on marital life. Based on fieldwork conducted in a Catholic and a shar’iyya personal status courts in Damascus in 2009, the author examines the shared cultural understandings on marital relationships that were found in these courts, and as laid down – most importantly – in the respective Catholic and Muslim family laws. The article maintains that the patriarchal family model is preserved and reinforced by the various personal status laws and by the various actors which operated in the field of personal status law. Finally, two Catholic case studies are presented and analysed to demonstrate the importance and attachment to patriarchal gender norms in the Catholic first instance court of Damascus.


Esther Van Eijk Ph.D.
Esther Van Eijk is a postdoc researcher at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. She recently defended (September 2013) her Ph.D. thesis entitled ‘Family Law in Syria: A Plurality of Laws, Norms, and Legal Practices’ at Leiden University, the Netherlands. This study is based on her PhD fieldwork (including interviews and participant observation) conducted in March-April 2008, and October 2008-July 2009 in Syria.
Article

Access_open Human Rights Courts Interpreting Sustainable Development: Balancing Individual Rights and the Collective Interest

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2013
Keywords Operationalizing sustainable development, human rights, individual rights/interests, collective rights/interests, human rights courts
Authors Emelie Folkesson MA
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article uses a generally accepted conceptualisation of sustainable development that can be operationalized in a judicial context. It focuses on the individual and collective dimensions of the environmental, economic and social pillars, as well as the consideration of inter-generational and intra-generational equity. Case law from the European, African and American systems is analysed to reveal if the elements of sustainable development have been incorporated in their jurisprudence. The analysis reveals that the human rights bodies have used different interpretative methods, some more progressive than others, in order to incorporate the elements of sustainable development in the scope of their mandate, even if they do not mention the concept as such. The overall conclusion is that sustainable development has been operationalized through human rights courts to a certain extent. Sometimes, however, a purely individualised approach to human rights creates a hurdle to further advance sustainable development. The conclusion creates the impression that sustainable development is not just a concept on paper, but that it in fact can be operationalized, also in other courts and quasi-courts. Moreover, it shows that the institutional structure of human rights courts has been used in other areas than pure human rights protection, which means that other areas of law might make use of it to fill the gap of a non-existing court structure.


Emelie Folkesson MA
PhD Candidate in public international law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. The author would like to thank Prof. Ellen Hey, Prof. Klaus Heine and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable insights and constructive comments on the drafts of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.
Artikel

Access_open Through the Looking Glass of Global Constitutionalism and Global Administrative Law

Different Stories About the Crisis in Global Water Governance?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2013
Keywords global water governance, global constitutionalism, global administrative law, water crisis, integrated water resources management
Authors Mónika Ambrus
AbstractAuthor's information

    In addition to (or sometimes rather than primarily) attributing it to water scarcity, water crisis has been described as a ‘crisis of governance’; with the word ‘crisis’ also indicating that water governance lacks (full) legitimacy. The article undertakes the task to analyse the current status of global water governance (GWG) from the perspective of two competing theories relating to the legitimacy of global governance, namely global constitutionalism (GC) and global administrative law (GAL). Having mapped the current legal framework of GWG from these two perspectives, it is discussed how these theories might shape GWG and how this shaping could contribute to solving the water crisis. In addition, it is also explored whether reading one of the most accepted proposals for legitimising global water governance, the concept of ‘integrated water resources management’ (IWRM), through the lenses of either GC or GAL would have an impact on how this concept is interpreted, and whether it can be a useful mechanism to address the water crisis. The use of two theories analysing the same subject matter provides interesting insights into global water governance and the nature of the water crisis as well as the relationship between these two theories.


Mónika Ambrus
Assistant professor of public international law at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Christian Courtis
International Commission of Jurists, Geneva; Universidad de Buenos Aires.
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