To Vote or Not to Vote?

The COVID-19 pandemic poses considerable challenges to democracies across the world. This is particularly apparent with regard to the holding of elections which states have approached in various ways. States face the following tension: On the one hand, the obligation to protect the rights to health and life requires states to limit the spread of the pandemic by reducing human-to-human contact. At the same time, these measures encroach upon the right to political participation. Against that background, an intricate balancing of the various interests in light of international human rights law seems necessary.

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International Human Rights Law and COVID-19 States of Emergency

As has been highlighted by other contributors to this Symposium, emergency decrees have already been used to achieve political ambitions beyond addressing COVID-19 in places like Hungary or Bulgaria. While states bear the responsibility of protecting their nations, modern day international human rights law is designed precisely to protect people from governments that abuse their powers. What limits does international human rights law impose on governments during emergencies? Can they be enforced? And how does COVID-19 fit in these conceptualizations?

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Germany’s Moral Responsibility to Support a Treaty  on Business and Human Rights

In a massive conglomeration called the Treaty Alliance, leading human rights NGOs around the world together with many luminary academics are calling for a treaty between states on business and human rights that would seek to prevent human rights violations by businesses from occurring and ensure they do not go unpunished, or at least uncompensated. Such a treaty is necessary given the need to address a number of problems in international law that have prevented victims of human rights violations from being able to gain remedies against errant corporations.

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