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Conference HRIntegration

The IAP project Human Rights Integration – HRIntegration – is proud to announce its International Conference “The Global Challenge of Human Rights Integration-Towards a Users’ Perspective” on 9, 10 and 11 December 2015, with more than 80 speakers in 5 Tracks. The deadline for registering is 15 November 2015. More information on the content and tracks on the conference website of HRIntegration.


The conference intends to facilitate a dialogue among legal and socio-legal perspectives on human rights fragmentation and integration. Through this dialogue, the conceptual, theoretical and methodological foundations of human rights fragmentation and integration will be refined and the legal and practical implications of human rights fragmentation and integration will be studied.

Track 1 – Theorizing fragmentation and integration in human rights law

This track focuses on theoretical and conceptual papers

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre…Things falls apart, the centre cannot hold”, as the famous poet Yeats wrote. The expansion of the human rights catalogue, the increased mobilization of human rights and the strengthening of human rights monitoring have also engendered resistance and the rise of alternative discourses. This is all the more apparent in today’s polarizing world, in which religion, nationalism and other ideologies potentially compete with the notion of universal human rights. The track invites theoretical reflections on the twin processes of fragmentation and integration of human rights law in today’s world. To what extent do theories of (global) legal pluralism, and related theories like vernacularization, adequately capture and theorize these processes? How do fragmentation and integration impact upon the legitimacy and sustainability of the international human rights project?

Track leader: prof. Barbara Oomen (Utrecht University):

Track 2 – Convergence and divergence within international human rights law

This track focuses on

-relations between or comparisons of different layers of human rights law

-the management of uniformity and diversity within human rights law

The traditional segregated approach, which studies different courts and legal orders in isolation does not any longer provide adequate conceptual and normative tools to grasp the evolutions of international and European human rights law. This track deals with both the challenges and the opportunities that arise in the new global legal landscape. Panels will address a range of topics, including the boundaries and overlaps of human rights norms, judicial dialogue and cross-fertilization. Seeking to develop a nuanced understanding of the trade-off between convergence and divergence in international human rights law, we are more particularly, but not exclusively interested in contributions which rely on specific case studies which deal with the relationship between human rights and the growing anti-discrimination regime, the analysis of, and comparison between different human rights bodies, including in their institutional and procedural dimensions, and the role played by judicial restraint, deference and weak judicial review in accommodating legal diversity.

Leaders of this track are prof. Emmanuelle Bribosia and prof. Isabelle Rorive (ULB): and

Track 3 – Convergence and divergence between national and international human rights law

This track focuses on constitutional rights protection within the context of the international human rights project

National constitutions historically embody the first legal source of rights protection. The development of universal and regional human rights instruments does, in principle, not aim at marginalizing these constitutional catalogues. Indeed, those instruments only provide for a subsidiary, minimal protection, which national constitutions are encouraged to outstrip. Coloured by the particular history and values of a given state society, the constitutional entrenchment of rights and freedoms benefits, in principle, from a greater “familiarity” within this society. It may, therefore, be assumed that such a “national Bill of Rights” ensures a more efficient rights protection in the state concerned. Notwithstanding this, the constitutional practice of some states sometimes offers a more uncertain image, thereby raising several questions. From a strictly pragmatic point of view, does the constitutional protection of rights and freedoms really “add value” to protection through international treaties that have direct effect in domestic law? Can domestic constitutional law be a locus of co-ordination and integration of a state’s multiple commitments under human rights treaties?

The leader of this track is prof. Sébastien Van Drooghenbroeck (USL-B):

Track 4 – Convergence and divergence between international human rights law and other branches of international law

This track focuses on the relations between human rights law and other bodies of international law

International human rights law comes into frequent contact with other branches of international law. The aim of this track is to explore the convergences and divergences that exist between international human rights law and these other branches. More in particular, how does international human rights law relate to and interact with these other bodies of law? How does international human rights law have a guiding, gap-filling, expanding or narrowing effect on such other bodies of law? In return, is international human rights law undergoing similar effects from other branches of international law?

We are specifically interested in innovative examinations of the relation between international human rights law and its neighbouring fields, international criminal law and international humanitarian law. Yet we also welcome proposals with a different focus, for example on the relations between international human rights law and international environmental law or between international human rights law and international trade law.

Leaders of this track are prof. Paul De Hert and prof. Stefaan Smis (VUB): and

Track 5 – Human rights are useless/useful

This track focuses on concrete mobilisations of human rights law

This track focuses on the use of human rights by individuals, groups or entities, with a particular emphasis on the trajectories of rights holders as claimants. Why and how do individuals and groups, both in the Global South and the Global North, decide to invoke human rights? What are strategies employed, obstacles encountered, and impact perceived? Do human rights as globally defined offer real protection at the local level?

The leader of this track is prof. Koen De Feyter (UAntwerpen):


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