In some respects the Brexit referendum itself was a violation of human rights, argues Adrian Low. Three substantial groups were denied the opportunity to vote when inclusion of any two of those groups would almost certainly have reversed the result. Rational democratic decision-making was negated by a campaign of exaggeration and lies and unnecessary poll predictions encouraged complacency in […]
With both the EU and human rights demonised in public discourse, Catherine Dupré sets out to redeem the concepts from their critics. She argues that the EU’s conception of human rights, as codified in its Charter of Fundamental Rights, defines a set of absolute rights borne out of wartime trauma and transcending the limitations of a conception of the human that is […]
Bargaining bodies: The EU’s deal with Turkey has sacrificed Europe’s principles to appease domestic politics
The EU and Turkey have agreed on the broad elements of a deal to help stem the flow of people across the Turkish border into the EU. Assessing the content of the agreement, Rebecca Bryant writes that the EU is on the brink of making a costly mistake for the sake of domestic expediency. She argues that rather than […]
Italy’s double standards: The Regeni and Abu Omar cases reveal a contradictory approach to human rights
The torture and murder of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni in Egypt has reignited deep concerns about the treatment of human rights in the Middle East. Andrea Lorenzo Capussela contrasts the tragic event with another case just considered by the European Court of Human Rights: the abduction in 2003 of the Egyptian Muslim cleric Abu Omar by the CIA […]
Is EU foreign policy genuinely influenced by humanitarian concerns or are such claims merely used to add legitimacy to traditional power politics? Joakim Kreutz uses data on EU foreign policy actions between 1989 and 2008 to assess the extent to which human rights concerns have played a role in decisions to intervene abroad. He finds a correlation between humanitarian […]
The issue of arms exports has caused significant controversy in a number of European countries. Jennifer L. Erickson looks at EU arms transfers and the human rights status of arms recipients between 1990 and 2010, finding that there is often a disconnect between arms trade policy and practice. She argues that in cases where EU foreign policy relies on member […]
The EU requires a new approach at the United Nations if it is to avoid punching below its weight in negotiations.
How successful is the European Union at winning support in the United Nations? Karen E. Smith notes that as a significant voting bloc of 28 states, and as one of the primary contributors to the UN’s budget, the EU should be well placed to gain support within the UN’s decision-making processes. Despite this, EU states have often struggled to gain […]
In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Ireland’s implementation of abortion laws had violated the rights of a woman who was forced to travel abroad to terminate her pregnancy. Liz Wicks outlines the legal position, noting that although Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion legislation in Europe, the Supreme Court has interpreted the Irish Constitution as permitting abortion […]
Book Review: Human rights needs to be recognised as more than a buzz phrase, it is grounded in our everyday experiences
Activating Human Rights and Peace is an enlightening collection of well thought through cases aimed at academics and students of human rights, political science, law and justice, peace and conflict studies and sociology. It argues that we need to appreciate that cultivating a human rights and peace consciousness is choice-less: there is a moral imperative to engender and sustain an ethical […]
Book Review: A New Generation Draws the Line: Humanitarian Intervention and the “Responsibility to Protect”
How do we understand the ethics of humanitarian intervention in today’s world? After Western intervention in the conflict associated with the Arab Spring, this new edition of Noam Chomsky‘s A New Generation Draws the Line aims to provide timely answers. Imani Perry finds it to be a wonderfully useful book for many reasons, but most importantly because it pushes the reader to ask questions […]
Brussels blog round up for 18 – 24 August: Hollande’s ‘austerity for the rich’, barriers to movement for same-sex couples, and is Europe lacking ideas?
Chris Gilson and Stuart A Brown take a look at the week in Brussels blogging. The EU Centre The European Commission is currently running a public consultation on EU citizenship. Writing in relation to problems EU citizens may have travelling within the EU, Blogactiv.eu highlights some of the particular issues faced by same-sex couples. The article argues that because some countries, such as […]
The trial of Ratko Mladic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia shows once again that it is possible to have justice without reconciliation.
In May, the main hearings of the trial of the accused war criminal, Ratko Mladic, began in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. Denisa Kostovicova argues that the narrow perpetrator-centred approach of the ICTY means that the role and complicity of specific groups in war crimes is not debated. However, the on-going scrutiny of […]
The EU’s new human rights strategy is a step in the right direction, but whether or not it will be implemented and enforced successfully remains to be seen.
At the end of June, the EU launched its new Strategic Framework and Action Plan on human rights, and announced a new special representative for human rights. Sionaidh Douglas-Scott argues that while the EU’s new strategy is strong in its aspirations; its operational details still need to be clarified. It may also need stronger powers to tackle human rights violations […]
This month, Azerbaijan will host the Eurovision Song Contest. The Azerbaijani dissident blogger Emin Milli believes this is a great opportunity for the country: He calls upon the participants to voice public criticism of the Azerbaijan government’s human rights violations and to demand the release of political prisoners. This week, 42 countries will be participating in the 57th Eurovision song […]
Hungary is sleepwalking into an authoritarian state. But the European Union is limited in the pressure it is able to exert.
Hungary is a member of the European Union (EU), but the country is sleepwalking into an authoritarian state, argue Tamas Dezso Czigler and Izolda Takacs. In their third post on Hungary’s government, they explore measures that the EU could take in order to sanction the country, some which may be more effective than others. In our last two posts, we […]
Brussels blog round up for 14-20 April 2012: 17 million are now unemployed in Europe, France and Germany plan border controls, and can the Internet revive the Greek economy?
Chris Gilson and Julian Kirchherr take a look at the week in Brussels blogging. The EU Centre The European Commission has launched a new program for employment which is supposed to create more than 17 million jobs, reports PressEurop. Europe needs this many jobs because 17 million people are currently unemployed in the EU. Hence, economic growth is the theme for the spring, […]
Five minutes with Gudrun Wacker: ‘The Chinese political elite perceive the EU as a successful example of regional integration that has created stability and peace in Europe’.
Dr. Gudrun Wacker, Senior Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, argues that China does not see the EU as an influential geostrategic competitor. Nevertheless, the Chinese political elite considers the EU as a successful example of regional integration which has fostered peace and stability. How important is China to the EU, and vice versa? The EU […]
Turkey’s relationship with the European Court of Human Rights shows that human rights courts play a vital role, but one that can often be vastly improved.
The European Court of Human Rights generally takes five years to decide a case, and the enforcement of its judgements is often dubious and ineffective. Nevertheless, the Court has a role to play in the transformation of human rights culture in the EU and their neighbours, says Başak Çalı, as Turkey’s case proves. The Court’s judgements can help to foster […]
The Conservatives cannot ‘wriggle’ their way out of the European Convention on Human Rights, even by introducing a British Bill of Rights.
The Conservatives have made no secret of the party’s desire to roll back its European human rights obligations, with many in the party also advocating repealing the Human Rights Act and establishing a British Bill of Rights. As the party seeks to ‘win back’ jurisdiction over human rights cases, Saladin Meckled-Garcia finds the coalition government’s stance is nothing less than […]