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Civil Rights and EU Citizenship

Challenges at the Crossroads of the European, National and Private Spheres

Edited by Sybe de Vries, Henri de Waele and Marie-Pierre Granger

The process of European integration has had a marked influence on the nature and meaning of citizenship in national and post-national contexts as well as on the definition and exercise of civil rights across Member States. This original edited collection brings together insights from EU law, human rights and comparative constitutional law to address this underexplored nexus.
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Edited by Sybe de Vries, Henri de Waele and Marie-Pierre Granger

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Edited by Sybe de Vries, Henri de Waele and Marie-Pierre Granger

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Backlash and international human rights courts

Crisis, Accountability, and Opportunity

Wayne Sandholtz, Yining Bei and Kayla Caldwell

Non-compliance with, and criticism of, the decisions of international human rights courts are commonplace. Sometimes states seek to curtail a court’s authority, by pruning its competences, withdrawing from its jurisdiction, or shutting it down altogether. This chapter examines these more aggressive forms of backlash against three prominent international courts: the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Governments are more likely to engage in backlash against an international human rights court the more its decisions are seen by national leaders as harming their domestic political interests.

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Jesilyn Faust

As we see a decrease in the observance and respect for human rights, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, it is easy to blame religious fundamentalism for these contractions. However, is this assumption accurate? Is the blame being correctly placed at the door of fundamentalism or should we look elsewhere? To answer this question, I look at two cases of women’s rights activism surrounding customary family law in Morocco between 2000–2014. In one case, women were successful at achieving the passage of meaningful legislation to improve women’s rights. In the second case, in spite of a great deal of international support, campaigning, and funding, women’s rights contracted. By comparing and contrasting these two cases, it becomes clear that a big difference between the two was the engagement of the Islamic Feminist movement. In many parts of the Middle East and North Africa, it is precisely by engaging with grassroots Islamic Feminists and moderates that international organizations will be able to combat the tide of extremism and the subsequent contraction of human rights.

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Natasha Bennett

In 2007 Paul Collier wrote of a “bottom billion” people caught in state-centric poverty traps. According to the U.N. Population Fund, by 2030, there will be two billion people caught in localized, individual poverty traps created by the political and socio-economic conditions in urban slums. This global expansion of urban slums presents a critical challenge for the future of the human rights project. This chapter argues that the global expansion of slums exacerbates two mutually reinforcing problems in the provision of human rights: fulfillment and accountability. State-centric mechanisms for human rights fulfillment often do not deliver at subnational levels of governance, particularly in modernizing economies and financially weaker states. Additionally, urban slum dwellers often lack the ability to hold the state accountable, because they have limited resources for mobilization, or lack access to formal claims-making mechanisms, such as the courts. Without a solution to the problems of fulfillment and accountability, the world faces a future in which two or three billion urban poor find themselves locked out of the human rights regime designed to protect the world’s vulnerable populations. This chapter discusses the extent of global slum formation, the nature of the relationship between human rights fulfillment and accountability, and then how this framework applies to one example: the human right to housing in India and Brazil.

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Anne Vestergaard and Michael Etter

This chapter reports on a study, which examines the evolution of business and human rights discourse in news and CSR reports since the launch of the UN Global Compact in 2000. Through a qualitative content analysis, the study investigates to what extent an expanded understanding of corporations responsibility for human rights is adopted by key actors, the corporations themselves and the news media, as watchdogs and primary sources of public information on corporate conduct. Findings indicate that these actors have moved away from a focus on simply respecting human rights, towards seeing corporations as playing an active role in protecting them. News media do, however, still present this as a morally voluntary role.

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Michael Stohl

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Feryal M. Cherif

Across nearly all issue-areas women remain unequal to men. Despite substantial reform, there is a persistent citizenship gap between men and women. This gap appears to be narrowing more quickly in some countries than others. Along with advocacy-based mechanisms, cultivating women’s core rights, namely education and labor force participation, appear to foster resources critical for the advancement of other rights. Examining four issues-areas, the empirical analyses suggest that the citizenship gap is contracting in places that invest more in women’s rights advocacy and the education of girls, and to a lesser extent, where women are better integrated into the workforce.

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Contracting Human Rights

Crisis, Accountability, and Opportunity

Edited by Alison Brysk and Michael Stohl

By chronicling the continuing contest over the reach, range, and regime of rights, Contracting Human Rights analyzes the way forward in an era of many challenges. This multidisciplinary book contributes to building understanding of the maturation of human rights, from a dissident doctrine to a dynamic parameter of global governance and civil society. Through an examination of both global and local challenges to human rights, including loopholes, backlash, accountability, and new opportunities to move forward, this book analyzes trends across multiple-issue areas.