"A Terrible Signal that International Law can be Flaunted without Consequence"

If refugees are detained or turned away for reasons of religion or country of origin, that is a case of discrimination clearly prohibited by international refugee law. In theory any other state party to the Refugee Protocol can take the US to the International Court of Justice. Will Chancellor Merkel or perhaps Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau – each of whom has spoken up for refugees in the current context – have the courage to make that referral?

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Toward Hominid and Other Humanoid Rights: Are We Witnessing a Legal Revolution?

On 3 November 2016, an Argentinian judge granted habeas corpus relief to Cecilia, a person held captive in a small cage. Nothing out of the ordinary – except for the fact that Cecilia is not a battered woman or abused girl, but a chimpanzee kept at Mendoza zoo. This 1 % genetic difference turns this into a landmark judgment of potentially revolutionary proportions. For the first time in legal history, a court explicitly declared an animal other than human a legal person who possesses inherent fundamental rights. This judgment marks a radical breach with the deeply entrenched legal tradition of categorizing animals as rightless things (the person’s antithesis), and demonstrates that the previously impenetrable legal wall between humans and animals can be surmounted. The question seems no longer if, but when.

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Warum ein Opt-out aus der EMRK für britische Streitkräfte eher unwahrscheinlich ist

Die britische Premierministerin Theresa May will die Streitkräfte von den Verpflichtungen der Europäischen Menschenrechtskonvention befreien. Folgt daraus, dass Schadensersatzklagen von Opfern demnächst als unzulässig abgewiesen werden? Oder dass das Vereinigte Königreich nicht mehr an die EMRK gebunden ist, wenn es seine Streitkräfte in den Einsatz schickt? Wohl kaum.

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Tax Evasion and Human Rights

The United Nations Covenant should be interpreted to prohibit state mandated bank secrecy, which facilitates tax evasion by wealthy residents of the developing world. In other words, bank secrecy laws of Lichtenstein, Panama, and Switzerland, for example, violate internationally recognized human rights.

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The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Humankind: Big Words, Small Effect

The text of a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Humankind was presented on Monday before the french Economic, Social and Environmental Council. France will introduce the declaration in December at the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Is the declaration more than just an empty gesture?

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Legal Listening: In Pursuit of Dignity

Some weeks ago, I published here impressions of the conference "Understanding Human Dignity", organized by Chris McCrudden and Jeremy Waldron. BBC Radio 4 has now broadcast a debate that took place behind the scenes of that conference, chaired by Edward Stourton. What is the relationship between human dignity and human rights? How do you define […]

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Dignity Is Here to Stay: Revisiting Understandings of Human Dignity at Oxford

  It is a splendid sunday in Paris, and I just came back to the continent from an exciting conference at Oxford, organized by Christopher McCrudden and Jeremy Waldron. For three days, an impressive line-up of more than 50 speakers gathered at Rhodes House to discuss the meaning and scope of Human Dignity in an […]

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