Access to Menstrual Products is a Constitutional Right. Period.

On 7 November, the German Parliament (Bundestag) passed a legislation which will reduce the sales tax on menstrual products from 19 percent, for those classified as “luxury goods”, to 7 percent. While most international human rights instruments as well as constitutions are silent on the issue of access to menstrual products, the “tampon tax” reveals a deep gender bias in tax systems around the world. This bias is not only detrimental to the socio-economic rights of women but it is also unconstitutional as sex-based discrimination.

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Time for Strasbourg to Open its Doors to Turkey’s Purged Public Servants

A report by the Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project (TLSP) provides fresh evidence that the Commission formed in 2017 to examine the mass dismissals of public servants and liquidation of media outlets and other organisations functions arbitrarily and without transparency. Together with concerns about judicial review by administrative courts and the Constitutional Court, the report casts serious doubt on whether victims of abuses committed under emergency laws have access to an effective domestic remedy – a finding with implications for the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) as it considers the long queue of Turkish applications before it.

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The Hong Kong Judiciary and Beijing’s Temper Tantrum

On 18 November 2019, Hong Kong’s Court of First Instance held that parts of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, and the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation enacted pursuant to the Ordinance, violate the territory’s Basic Law – its constitutional instrument. Beijing’s response to the ruling was the equivalent of a temper tantrum. Viewed in light of the Court’s judgment and Beijing’s lengthy history of undermining the Hong Kong judiciary, Beijing’s latest outbursts amount to nothing less than a declaration of war on the territory’s common law legal system.

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When Journalists Weaken Democracy or How to Better Communicate the Rule of Law

Discussing years of controversies between Polish lawyers and the ruling Law and Justice party, the law professor Marcin Matczak concluded: “We won the legal discussions, but we lost the public debate.” Despite manifest violations of the law, Poland’s ruling party did not lose votes in recent parliamentary elections. In Hungary the situation seems to have been even worse. The public debate was not lost, it hardly took place. That’s a problem.

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“An Idea Whose Time Has Come”

Human rights institutions have long grappled with the question whether established rights could be violated by environmental degradation. For most people, the short answer is, of course, yes. People have suffered for decades from health impacts of air pollution, contaminated water, odors and the like. The latest global issue to have a huge impact on the enjoyment of rights is climate change. Despite the close link between environmental degradation and the enjoyment of rights, international human rights law does not, as yet, recognize a right to a healthy environment as a human right.

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How an EU Directive on Access to a Lawyer Became a Weapon for Secret Arrests

Directive 2013/48/EU of 22 October 2013 ‘on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings’ had an unfortunate fate in Bulgaria. In particular, the transposition is troublesome because the government used the Directive as a pretext to revive a totalitarian practice ­­– secret arrests.

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The protection of labour rights in professional football under the ICESCR

In this blog, I argue that the global operations of FIFA affecting the labour rights of individuals fall under the scope of the ICESCR and that FIFA’s responsibility for potential violations of these rights can be engaged. It could also form the basis for Switzerland’s international legal responsibility for a possible violation of a state’s obligation to protect.

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FIFA for Women or Women for FIFA? The Inherent Tensions of FIFA’s Women’s Football Strategy

How does FIFA purport to address and overcome its historical and ongoing record of institutional disregard for, and discrimination against, women? Its primary weapon appears to be the recently adopted Women’s Football Strategy, designed to “empower the organisation to take further concrete steps to address the historic shortfalls in resources and representation, while advocating for a global stand against gender discrimination through playing football”. This may seem an ambitious compound goal, seeking to advance gender equality within FIFA, football and beyond. But what promise does the Women’s Football Strategy actually hold in this regard?

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Is Bauer the new Bosman? – The implications of the recent jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union for FIFA

In its Bauer ruling the CJEU confirmed that the fundamental rights enshrined in the Charter might under certain circumstances become horizontally applicable. This post argues that this development of judgments has implications also for sport federations such as FIFA.

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