Episode eighteen: Is a convergence between the Inter-American and European Courts of Human Rights in sight?

At this stage in the series, you probably have gained some understanding about the way the two courts operate. Both have the same task of applying human rights conventions, especially in cases brought by individuals. However, they work rather differently.

In this podcast, I contemplate the possibility that they may converge more in the future. How would this happen? One risk is that the resolutely pro-homine (for-the-human-being) approach of the Inter-American Court would lead states party to the American Convention on Human Rights to want to diminish its power. So, is the Inter-American Court strong enough to resist such pressure?

 

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Episode seventeen: What effects do we want human rights judgments to have?

If a human rights court knows that a state is going to resist a ruling of violation, should the court refrain from insisting that human rights have been violated and from ordering that the state change its ways? This episode contrasts how the Inter-American and European Courts approach this question.

 

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Yean and Bosico (discussed in the previous episode) had no tangible positive effect on the Dominican Republic. The state flatly refused to abide by the judgment of the Inter-American Court.

One might surmise that the European system works better. However, we need to consider the relatively lax implementation that characterises it. For example, foreigners whose expulsion was found by the European Court to breach their right to family life went on to see the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe condoning their expulsion – admittedly not for life but only for ten years. Still ten years is a long time.

The question arises: what kind of human rights system do we want?

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Episode sixteen: The Inter-American Court is ready to stand up against states

In this episode I continue my exploration of the approach taken by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

In particular I focus upon the Yean and Bosico case which concerned two (unrelated) children of Haitian descent who were born in the Dominican Republic.

 

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The Dominican Republic authorities had refused to recognise their birth, leaving them also without the nationality to which they were entitled through having been born there of parents who were not ‘transient’ migrants.

This was a very sensitive case for the Dominican Republic which is home to a very large population of Haitian origin that it prefers not to recognise. Although the Inter-American Court was perfectly aware of the sensitivity of the case, it did not recoil from taking a tough stance against the state.

The Court found that the two girls’ had been unfairly denied a number of rights, including the right to nationality, the right to a legal personality and the right to a name. It added that their mothers, by having to fear the deportation of their daughters, had been subject to inhumane treatment. Last but not least, the Court ordered a wide range of reparations.

To download a copy of this podcast right-click this link and choose ‘Download Linked File’ or ‘Save Link As…’.