Human Rights

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When Should ECtHR Proceedings Become ‘Horizontal’? The Issue of the ‘Interested’ Third Party in A.S. and M.S. v. Italy

On 19 October 2023 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or ‘the Court’) issued its judgment in the case of A.M. and M.S. v. Italy (no. 68618/22). It falls within a group of judgments finding violations of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR or ‘the Convention’) on account of the Italian authorities’ failure to guarantee fathers’ contact rights due to the opposition of their children’s mothers (see, recently, A and others v. Italy, A.T. v. Italy, R.B. and M. v. Italy, and Improta v. Italy). It also developed the scope of the rights guaranteed by Article 8 ECHR. Relying on other international instruments (see paras. 107 and 109), the Court found for the first time that a suffocating relationship between a parent and a child, and the psychological manipulation exercised by the former over the latter, may amount to ‘psychological violence’ against children. Therefore, this situation was considered to fall within the notion…

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Overcoming the Backlog in the Initial Review of Petitions in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Human rights systems may be victims of their own success, as they can become dysfunctional under the unbearable weight of their massive caseloads. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Commission or IACHR) has faced this challenge in the past two decades with regard to the enormous backlog of pending applications in the Initial Review, the first phase of…

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Climate Change Hearings and the ECtHR Round II

On Wednesday the 26th of September, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights held oral hearings in Duarte Agostinho and Others v. Portugal and 32 others, which is one of the three climate change cases currently pending before the Grand Chamber (seven other cases have been adjourned pending the Grand Chamber’s decision…

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The Crime of Apartheid beyond Southern Africa: A Call to Revive the Apartheid Convention’s “Group of Three”

The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (the “Apartheid Convention”) is a much understudied and overlooked human rights treaty. This is surprising given how often apartheid is mentioned in public discourse. The Apartheid Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 30 November 1973, and entered into force on…

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Targeted Killings: New Allegations Against India and Ukraine

Yesterday, the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, stood up in Parliament and formally accused the government of India of committing a targeted killing on Canadian territory. The victim, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was a prominent leader of a Sikh separatist movement in India, who was designated as a terrorist by the Indian government. He was assassinated…

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