Human Rights

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Summit of Fire and Ice 4th: Council of Europe Summit, Reykjavík

Iceland is known as “the land of fire and ice.”  Its dramatic volcanoes are constantly and rapidly shaping a new complexion in the north-west European island state, whilst its seemingly unchanging glaciers slowly and stubbornly carve through the landscape. Fire and ice are words that also come to mind when one reflects on the historic Summit of Council of Europe Heads of State and Government held on 16 – 17 May 2023 to conclude Iceland’s Presidency of the Committee of Ministers (CM) because of the profound evolution of the organisations focus on the one hand, and the near absence of progress on the other. The Summit focussed principally on four overarching issues: 1) ensuring accountability for Russia’s crimes in Ukraine, 2) reviving commitment to the ECHR control system, 3) reiterating fundamental principles of democracy, and 4) advancing the agenda of human rights and the environment. Clearly, the Reykjavík Declaration and its five substantive appendices have the potential to significantly strengthen the Council of…

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The Moscow Mechanism Expert Report on the Forcible Transfer and Deportation of Ukrainian Children

Before Spring 2022, only the real connoisseurs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were familiar with the so-called Moscow Mechanism enabling any OSCE participating State to request the establishment of an ad hoc expert mission to investigate specific questions related to the OSCE human dimension. In the first thirty years of…

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Applying International Environmental Law Conventions in Occupied Territory: The Azerbaijan v. Armenia Case under the Bern Convention

Introduction  On 18 January 2023, Azerbaijan announced that it had launched against Armenia an inter-state case under the dispute settlement provision in the 1979 Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention).  Azerbaijan notified the Bern Convention Secretariat of the dispute by letter on 27 March 2023, stating that…

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South Korea’s Plan to Compensate Victims of Forced Labour Employed in Japanese Factories During Colonial Rule: A Step Forward for Peaceful Relations, but not for Victims’ Rights

On 6 March 2023, the Republic of Korea, in the person of the Minister for Foreign Affairs Park Jin, announced a plan for South Korea to compensate South Korean citizens who were forced to work in Japanese factories under Tokyo’s thirty-five-year occupation of the Korean peninsula. The plan is an attempt to settle the long-standing dispute between South…

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130 days and counting: A responsibility to end the blockade of the Lachin Corridor

Severe shortages in food and medical supplies are increasingly imposing great hardship on Nagorno-Karabakh’s 120,000 ethnic Armenian residents, with provisions depleting quickly and no alleviation anticipated so far. The question that arises is whether a responsibility to end the (current form of) protests and hence alleviate the situation may be uncovered. The Lachin Corridor – the…

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