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The Global Challenge of Human Rights Integration: Towards a Users’ Perspective

HRIntegrationThe research network Human Rights Integreation (HRI) aimed to study human rights law as an integrated whole from a users’ perspective.

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Eva Brems

Partners: Prof. Dr. Yves Haeck and Prof. Dr. Dirk Voorhoof

Project manager: Dr. Saïla Ouald Chaib (2016-2017) Dr. Ellen Desmet (2012-2015)

Secretary: Martine Dewulf

Researchers:  Valeska David, Eline Kindt, Helena De Vylder (affiliated researcher), Lieselot Verdonck (affiliated researcher)

Sponsored as anInteruniversity Attraction Pole (IAP) by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) (2012-2017).

Starting point of the research is the finding that both rights holders and duty bearers under human rights norms are confronted simultaneously with a multitude of human rights provisions differing as to their scope, focus, legal force and level of governance. This non-hierarchical accumulation of human rights provisions has resulted in a complex and unco-ordinated legal architecture that may in some circumstances create obstacles for effective human rights protection.

The central research objective of the network is the study of human rights law as an integrated whole from a users’ perspective. A first research hypothesis concernsthe relevance of concepts and theories fromlegal anthropologyfor an in-depth analysis of human rights law from the viewpoint of state authorities as well as rights holders. A second research hypothesis states that the currentlack of co-ordinationbetween different spheres of human rights law creates obstacles leading to sub-optimal human rights protection, and that at least some of these can be removed or reduced. The research will identify the frictions that arise in the integrated experience of human rights, as well as existing good practice that alleviates such frictions.

The Human Rights Integration network consists of Universiteit Gent (UGent), Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Universiteit Antwerpen (UAntwerp), Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles (USL-B) and Universiteit Utrecht (UU).

The network organized an international conference on 9-11 December 2015. It resulted in a published book.


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