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

Access_open How Far Should the State Go to Counter Prejudice?

A Positive State Obligation to Counter Dehumanisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords prejudice, soft paternalism, empathy, liberalism, employment discrimination, access to goods and services
Authors Ioanna Tourkochoriti
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article argues that it is legitimate for the state to practice soft paternalism towards changing hearts and minds in order to prevent behaviour that is discriminatory. Liberals accept that it is not legitimate for the state to intervene in order to change how people think because ideas and beliefs are wrong in themselves. It is legitimate for the state to intervene with the actions of a person only when there is a risk of harm to others and when there is a threat to social coexistence. Preventive action of the state is legitimate if we consider the immaterial and material harm that discrimination causes. It causes harm to the social standing of the person, psychological harm, economic and existential harm. All these harms threaten peaceful social coexistence. This article traces a theory of permissible government action. Research in the areas of behavioural psychology, neuroscience and social psychology indicates that it is possible to bring about a change in hearts and minds. Encouraging a person to adopt the perspective of the person who has experienced discrimination can lead to empathetic understanding. This, can lead a person to critically evaluate her prejudice. The paper argues that soft paternalism towards changing hearts and minds is legitimate in order to prevent harm to others. It attempts to legitimise state coercion in order to eliminate prejudice and broader social patterns of inequality and marginalisation. And it distinguishes between appropriate and non-appropriate avenues the state could pursue in order to eliminate prejudice. Policies towards eliminating prejudice should address the rational and the emotional faculties of a person. They should aim at using methods and techniques that focus on persuasion and reduce coercion. They should raise awareness of what prejudice is and how it works in order to facilitate well-informed voluntary decisions. The version of soft paternalism towards changing minds and attitudes defended in this article makes it consistent with liberalism.


Ioanna Tourkochoriti
Ioanna Tourkochoriti is Lecturer Above the Bar, NUI Galway School of Law.

Kristin Henrard
Kristin Henrard is Professor International Human Rights and Minorities, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Article

Reconciliation potential of Rwandans convicted of genocide

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2019
Keywords Rwanda, genocide, perpetrators, posttraumatic stress, reconciliation
Authors Kevin Barnes-Ceeney, Laurie Leitch and Lior Gideon
AbstractAuthor's information

    This study examines the reconciliation potential of Rwandans incarcerated for the crime of genocide. Utilising survey data from 302 male and female prisoners incarcerated in the Rwandan Correctional System, this study explores genocide perpetrators’ depression, anxiety, anger-hostility and somatic symptoms, levels of posttraumatic stress, degree of social support and attitudes towards unity and reconciliation. The data demonstrate that engaging in killing can have deep psychological impacts for genocide perpetrators. The data indicate that although more than two decades have passed since the genocide, perpetrators are experiencing high levels of genocide-related posttraumatic suffering. Perpetrators are persistently re-experiencing genocide, purposefully avoiding thoughts and memories of the genocide, and experiencing physical and emotional arousal and reactivity. The sample had a strong desire for all Rwandans to live in peace and unity. There is, however, an urgent need for physical and mental health interventions, as well as services that facilitate the rebuilding of family relationships well in advance of release. Improving the physical and mental well-being of both perpetrators of the genocide and victims can only be a positive development as Rwanda continues to build a unified, reconciled and resilient future.


Kevin Barnes-Ceeney
Kevin Barnes-Ceeney is Assistant Professor at the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, University of New Haven, West Haven, USA.

Laurie Leitch
Laurie Leitch is Director, Threshold GlobalWorks, New York, USA.

Lior Gideon
Lior Gideon is Professor of Criminal Justice at the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, USA.
Annual lecture

Access_open Restorative justice and criminal justice: limits and possibilities for Brazil and Latin America

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Justice restorative, criminal justice, punishment, Brazil, Latin America
Authors Vera Regina Pereira de Andrade
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article is based on the 2017 RJIJ annual lecture and seeks to examine the development of the restorative justice movement within the judiciary in Brazil (‘judicial restorative justice’) in the last decade or so (2005-2017). The focus is on its relation to penal justice, listing the main possibilities and challenges in the Latin American context. The main question I wish to address is how does restorative justice, being led by the judiciary in Brazil, look like? When, where, how and under which theoretical and methodological angles is it being developed? What are the human and material resources being used? How can the relationship between restorative justice and the current Brazilian criminal justice system be understood? My hypothesis is that judicial restorative justice in Brazil is going through a process of expansion and development, framing a paradigm that is under construction and in which, despite the possibilities of challenging and transforming the current justice system, it has been nevertheless colonised by this same justice system. Therefore, restorative justice is being left to deal with low-level crimes and facing structural and conjectural limits to the concretisation of its objectives. In addition, the field in Brazil is hit by a structural lack of dialogue with other Latin American countries, which results in a mutual impoverishment of sorts, as the ‘restorativism’ currently experienced, hither and thither, is heated up by the intersection of emancipatory principles and values.


Vera Regina Pereira de Andrade
Vera Regina Pereira de Andrade is Emeritus Professor, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil. Contact author: vrpandrade@hotmail.com.
Article

Access_open Genocide in Rwanda: The Search for Justice 15 years on

An overview of the horrific 100 days of violence, the events leading to them and the ongoing search for justice after 15 years

Journal Hague Justice Journal, Issue 2 2009
Authors David Taylor
Author's information

David Taylor
David Taylor is an Editor at the Hague Justice Portal and a Junior Researcher at the Centre for Confl ict Studies, Utrecht University. He holds an LL.B (fi rst class with honours) in Law and Criminology from Cardiff University, United Kingdom, and an LL.M (summa cum laude) in the International and European Protection of Human Rights from Utrecht University, the Netherlands.
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