Episode 27: Jesus Vélez Loor has a story worth turning into a film

No one human rights institution can deliver a perfect world. This is true even of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights which has been greatly praised in this series.

 

One weakness is that the Inter-American Court decides only a few cases a year. As a result only a limited number of victims find redress at San José. For example, Jésus Vélez Loor, whose case was discussed earlier, was extremely lucky that his case was processed up to the Court. But his complaints were not all accepted. Most importantly in his perspective, the Court did not declare he had been tortured.

The judgment also could not give him back his health or previous life. What Jésus would nonetheless have liked was to have his ordeal and the Inter-American proceedings turned into a film. But the Court did not order this to happen (although it ordered many other things).

Still, if there is any filmmaker interested out there, Jésus would surely love to hear from you!

To download a copy of this podcast, right-click the following link: HRM27 Jesus Vélez Loor has a story worth turning into a film

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.

 

(If you have problems with the embedded player use this link to listen).

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?

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

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.

 

(If you have problems with the embedded player use this link to listen).

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…’.

Episode fifteen: How the Inter-American Court takes a different approach to human rights

How does the approach of the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights compare to that of the European Court of Human Rights?

We start exploring this question through two cases that involved Mexico and the US. Both cases gave rise to advisory opinions.

In the first, the Inter-American Court explained how it thought human rights law applied to the failure of authorities in the United States to ensure that Mexico be in a position to offer support to Mexican nationals detained in the US.

The second case concerned Mexican workers, again in the United States, who had been sacked after forming a trade union, without receiving back pay. The US Supreme Court did not find this objectionable. This episode reveals how and why the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ own interpretation took lawyers around the world by surprise.

 

(If you have problems with the embedded player use this link to listen).

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

In other news Marie is delivering her inaugural lecture on Wednesday 6th May 2015 entitled: Human rights can save lives, but whose? Click the link for further details including the time and location.

Episode six: The different approach of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

In this episode, we turn to another system of human rights protection and see that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has made pronouncements which are intended to give rights to migrants.

 

I examine what happened more than thirty years ago, when Costa Rica was facing an influx of refugees from war-thorn neighbouring Nicaragua. This led the Inter-American Court seeming to distance itself from states subjecting naturalisation process to e.g. citizenship tests.

In contrast, the European Court of Human Rights keeps away from pronouncing on matters of nationality, even though these are issues that are of particular importance to migrants and refugees.

So why did the European Convention end up saying nothing about nationality? Could it be that this is because the authors of the Convention perceived the migrant as a threat who needed to be controlled by the state?

If you like my podcast click the ‘Follow’ button in bottom-right corner of your screen and enter your email address. You’ll receive each new episode when it’s posted.

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