Friday, 15 October 2021
Friday, 8 October 2021
* Dimitrios Kagiaros, 'Reassessing the framework for the protection of civil servant whistleblowers in the European Court of Human Rights':
'The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or Court) has included civil servant whistleblowers in the protective ambit of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The article argues that the Court should revisit its approach to proportionality in such cases. When determining whether a restriction to a civil servant whistleblower's free speech was necessary in a democratic society, the Court weighs what the article identifies as the quasi-public watchdog function of whistleblowers (namely their role in imparting information on matters of public concern) against their duties and responsibilities as civil servants. In some instances, the Court gives primacy to whistleblowers’ duties of loyalty to the government over their contribution to the accountability of public bodies. The article challenges this approach on the basis that it fails to adequately consider the key justification that underpins the Court's recognition of whistleblowing as speech, namely the audience interest in receiving the information the whistleblower discloses. The article argues that the Court should give primacy to the watchdog function of whistleblowers. It concludes by making suggestions on how the ECtHR can adopt a more principled approach to proportionality in whistleblowing cases.'
* Katie Pentney, 'Licensed to kill…discourse? agents provocateurs and a purposive right to freedom of expression':
'Undercover police operations have emerged from the shadows and into the spotlight in the United Kingdom as a result of a public inquiry into undercover policing and the enactment of the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act. The inquiry has revealed troubling details about the ways intelligence and police services have wielded their powers to infiltrate and undermine political groups and social movements over the course of five decades. The problem is not exclusive to the United Kingdom, but is seen the world over. Yet despite the widescale nature of the problem, the legality of agents provocateurs – undercover officers who infiltrate social and political movements to manipulate their messaging, instigate violent tactics and undermine public perception – has received scant attention in legal scholarship or the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. This article capitalises on the current spotlight to suggest that agents provocateurs can and should be conceived of as (potential) violations of the right to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights. A purposive approach is required to ensure protection for not only the means of expression – the exchange of information and ideas – but also the ends – vibrant democratic discourse and meaningful public debate.'
Monday, 27 September 2021
'The digital transformation of our society is certainly one of the fastest and most profound transitions of civilization we have ever experienced. This digital age is leading us to interact more and more online, for information, entertainment, consumption or work. The Covid-19 pandemic revealed the potential of digital services which have enabled people to continue to interact and engage and have made us more resilient. But many questions remain about the consequences of this transformation and its impact on human rights.
The issue of privacy has long been very topical in our daily lives, but the increased use of the virtual space and the development of technology such as AI, brings these debates even more into the limelight. Rather than reducing discrimination or inequality, some algorithmic decision-making systems can exacerbate it, particularly in the public sphere. With the use of predictive features in the justice system, even a new source of law seems to be emerging. Facial recognition tools are bringing back concepts such as physiognomy and the belief that behavioral traits can be inferred from physical characteristics.
Other paramount issues which cannot be separated from internet are freedom of expression and access to correct and trustworthy information. Whereas the internet greatly facilitates ways to express ourselves and the diversity of information available, it is also true that some stakeholders have the power to ban, remove or distort online content according to their interest. How should we draw the line between information worth sharing and that to be banned? And who are those entitled to do so?
Full enjoyment of our rights in cyberspace comes with an adequate protection against the risks in an online environment. Right to private life, human dignity, safety, integrity of the person, non-discrimination are at stake under threat from cybercrime. How can the governments fulfill their positive obligations to protect individuals against crime and safeguard the fundamental rights of cybercrime victims? This challenge requires careful balancing to provide efficient criminal justice response with appropriate rule of law safeguards.
Speakers from different legal systems and jurisdictions, experts and governmental representatives will exchange views, while tackling the complexity of protecting human rights in the digital sphere in our daily lives activities in a one day seminar.
The outcomes of the discussions build further on the current debate on a global scale, about the actions necessary to include in a comprehensive approach in order to address the radical changes digitalization is brining to the online and offline environments.'
Tuesday, 14 September 2021
"PACE’s Social Affairs Committee is urging an ambitious new legal framework, both at national and European level, to “anchor the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment” – and has presented a draft of an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights which would make such a right enforceable in law in all countries which ratified it.
In a resolution and recommendation based on a report by Simon Moutquin (Belgium SOC), the committee said such a legal text would finally give the European Court of Human Rights “a non-disputable base for rulings concerning human rights violations arising from environment-related adverse impacts on human health, dignity and life”.
If approved by the Assembly, the committee’s draft would then be considered by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, which has the final say on whether to draft a new protocol to the Convention. It took no action on a similar request from the Assembly in 2009.
The committee pointed out that around half the world’s countries have recognised such a “right to a healthy environment” in their constitutions, including 32 Council of Europe member States. Only Europe does not have a regional agreement or arrangement recognising such a right, it added.
As part of a wider push on this issue, the committee also urged the drafting of an additional protocol to the European Social Charter containing such a right, as well as steps to strengthen corporate environmental responsibility through state regulation.
Finally, they urged the drafting of a new convention on “environmental threats and technological hazards”, setting limits on the use of man-made technologies such as AI, nano-technology and genetic engineering.
The parliamentarians also expressed their support for “the right of future generations to a healthy environment and humanity’s duties towards living beings” as a way of entrenching the principle of trans-generational responsibility.
Mr Moutquin’s report, together with six others on the issue of environmental rights, is due to be debated by the Assembly at its Autumn plenary session during an all-day debate on Wednesday 29th September."
If you wish to know more about the report of Mr Moutquin and other recent PACE documents regarding climate crisis, rule of law and human rights, click here.
Friday, 10 September 2021
Monday, 6 September 2021
Please watch this short introduction video to get an impression:
Wednesday, 1 September 2021
Monday, 23 August 2021
Friday, 20 August 2021
Tuesday, 17 August 2021
Tuesday, 20 July 2021
Thursday, 15 July 2021
The analysis covers the judgments and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Human Rights Advisory Panel in Kosovo, as well as the activities of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus, the Special Process on Missing Persons in the Territory of former Yugoslavia, the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the International Commission on Missing Persons. In so doing, the book demonstrates whether, how, and based on what principles these four needs of the families of disappeared persons can constitute a claim based on international human rights law."
Tuesday, 13 July 2021
Tuesday, 6 July 2021