MOOC PPHR: Human rights challenges in Europe - Gerd Oberleitner

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSPtb7NKaRs"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The European human rights system is anwell-established and multifaceted system which nevertheless faces a number ofnchallenges today. The system has its origins in the aftermath of the SecondnWorld War and in reviving Europe from the wars and atrocities, but it is alsonclosely linked to the creation of the Council of Europe as a means of Europeannintegration. The system also is linked to the the Cold War and the reconfigurationnof Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall.nUsually the focus in the system is on the European Convention of Human Rights andnin the European Court of Human Rights. Particularly the existence of thenEuropean Court of Human Rights as a means to monitor state's performancenjudicially and to award damages to victims of human rights violations, andninduce States to change their laws and practices leads to the argument that thensystem is one of the most advanced, if not 'the' advanced system in terms ofnimplementation. And that is of course true because the Court has producednimpressive case law over time. At the same time the system is much more varied.nNext to the Council of Europe with its 47 member states and 800 million peoplenthere is also two other 'Europes' in human rights terms. One is the EuropeannUnion, which started as an exercise in economic integration, turned into anpolitical union and is now a key human rights player externally, but alsoninternally for the way it has given itself a human rights structure. And thensecond is the OSCE, the Organisation of Security andnCooperation in Europe, is a historic transatlantic securitynarrangement, which nevertheless does essential Human Rights work today, fromnelection monitoring to protecting press freedom, to conducting peace missions.nDespite these interlocking treaties and institutions on the European level, thensystem nevertheless faces challenges. Challenges some of which arenparticularly European, others which are in line with threats to human rights,nmultilateral institutions, democracy and the rule of law worldwide. The Council ofnEurope particularly has been responding to these threats over time, because it isnfounded on the values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Indeednthose are part of the Council statute, which reaffirms individual freedom,npolitical liberty and the rule of law. It is precisely on this basis that thenEuropean Convention on Human Rights was adopted in 1950. And it was adopted withna three-fold purpose: to assist European integration; to promote freedom, democracynand the rule of law in Europe; and to take first steps for the collectivenenforcement of human rights, based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rightsnwhich did not have such enforcement means. But we need to bear in mind thatnEurope was divided at that time in East and West, and as a consequence the rightsnenshrined in the Convention are essentially civil and political rights.nSocio-economic rights were relegated to the European Social Charter of 1961,nwhich still remains more a set of aspirational norms, nprogrammatic norms, rather than a means to access the European Court of HumannRights. It is a document which is still little known outside expert circles. ThenEuropean Convention on Human Rights today, with its sixteen protocols, coversncore civil political rights, which include fair trial guarantees; freenelections; property rights; or the abolition of death penalty. It's anwell-crafted text. It's a text that on the one hand protects individual rights,nbut on the other hand seeks to establish a common European public order. It's antext which is a dynamic and living instrument, while at the same time takingninto account states' concern and allowing for a margin of appreciation inninterpreting human rights. There is a strong emphasis in the Convention onndemocracy and the rule of law. Preserving democracy, democratic institution and thenvalues of pluralism, tolerance and broad-mindedness are considered asncornerstones of the system. And likewise the rule of law is a core principle thatnthe Court spells out in many of its judgments: to have an accessible andnforeseeable legal framework binding on states, to limit executive discretion, tonhave transparent investigations and to have respect for binding forces or fornthe binding force of court judgments. The right to asylum is not mentioned in thenConvention. Yet, as we all know, the migration flowsnof the past years have given rise to considerable human rights challenges innEurope. In its last report the European Commission on Human Rights has rightlynraised this matter and has asked states to improve the treatment of migrants,nasylum seekers and refugees, and to rely on the principle of responsibilitynsharing, which should be at the center of migration and asylum policies in Europe.nEurope also has, outside the European Convention, the only legally bindingndocument for the protection of minorities: the Framework Convention fornthe Protection of National Minorities. At the same time, and despite thisnachievement, the fate of Roma people in Europe isnstill an issue that needs to be tackled, with this minority group suffering deepnrooted discrimination and prejudices in many European countries. But it is ofncourse really the European Court of Human Rights which has helpedndynamically expand human rights standards in Europe. The Court, whichnsince 1998 operates as a single permanent Court, decides on admissibilitynof cases, allows individual applications, delivers judgments, allows for friendlynsettlements and awards damages to victims. And more recently also providesnfor advisory opinions. The Court has handed down more than 10,000 judgmentsntoday. And while it operates only when domestic remedies are exhausted, it isnnevertheless an accessible, practical and effective safeguard. It is able to issuenbinding judgments and states are obliged not only to pay financial damages tonvictims, but also to take individual and general measures to remedy human rightsnviolations. It is also to be said though that the Court has become in a way anvictim of its own success. The caseload of the Court is enormous. It'snadjudicating for 800 million people in 47 states, and more than 60,000 cases arenpresently pending. Many cases being repetitive and many cases beingninadmissible. The court is, as a consequence, undergoing a constant reformnprocess to ensure that it can keep its role, both in deciding the most importantnhuman rights cases in Europe, and being open and accessible to victims of humannrights violation. Aa particular challenge is the non-implementation of the Court'snjudgments has become a serious problem threateningnthe credibility and functioning of the system. Cases take longer to benclosed as they used to, in some cases as such as Ukraine, Moldova and Russia. Andnparticularly Russia: Russia's position of putting the Russian Constitution legallynand practically above its obligations under the Convention, as well as thencourts at the Court's judgments, is a particular challenge. But it alsonneeds to be said that next to the Council of Europe with the Conventionnand the Court, the European Union has risen to an important pillar of thenEuropean human rights system. Article 2 of the founding treaty of European Unionnproclaims that the Union itself is based on the values of respect for humanndignity, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law. And pluralism,nnon-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality are cornerstonesnof European societies and European states. The Union recognizes not only the rightsnin the European Convention of Human Rights, but it is given itself it's ownnfoundational text: the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,nwhich has the same value legal value as the treatise upon which the Union isnfounded. The text is innovative: in part it goes beyond what the EuropeannConvention provides for, and most importantly it allows the EU's own court,nthe European Court of Justice, to apply human rights to actions of the Union,nwhich effectively puts another layer of human rights protection over EU statesnwhich are also members of the Council of Europe. Furthermore thenUnion wishes to accede to the European Convention of Human Rights to ensurenthat the actions of the Union are in line with the Convention. The Union isnalso keen to project human rights in its external relations. It does so in thenform of human rights and democratization policies, neighbourhood policies, humannrights dialogues. And it has two important instruments at its disposal.nOne is the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, a financialnfunding scheme for allowing promotion and learning about human rights; and thenother is a human rights watchdog, the Fundamental Rights Agency, which providesnthe Union with assistance and expertise in fundamental rights. The Union cannalso act against human rights violators in his own ranks. Article 7 of the Treatynof The European Union allows, in a rather complexnmulti-step procedure, to determine a serious breach by a member state of humannrights values. And indeed the Union has instituted such proceedings, presentlynagainst Poland and Hungary, for threats against the rule of law and thenIndependence of the judiciary. As these examples of course demonstrate, andndespite all achievements that Europe has has reached, the continent needs tonremain vigilant to protect and promote human rights in the future.<br><!-- wp:image {"id":1776,"sizeSlug":"large","linkDestination":"none"} -->rn<figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img class="wp-image-1776" src="https://en.videoencontexto.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/MOOC_PPHR_Human_rights_challenges_in_Europe__Gerd_Oberleitner_mSPtb7NKaRs.jpg" alt="MOOC PPHR: Human rights challenges in Europe - Gerd Oberleitner" /></figure>rn<!-- /wp:image -->[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

MOOC PPHR: Human rights challenges in Europe - Gerd Oberleitner

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