Human Rights

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The Swiss Referendum on the Prohibition of Minarets

 Anne Peters is Professor of Public International Law at the University of Basel, a position she has held since 2001. In the academic year 2004/05 she was Dean of the Faculty of Law. Prior to taking up the tenured post she was Assistant Professor at the Walther-Schücking-Institute of Public International Law at the Christian Albrechts University Kiel, where she obtained the Habilitation-qualification on the basis of her Habilitation-Thesis “Elemente einer Theorie der Verfassung Europas” (Elements of a Theory of the Constitution of Europe). The constitutional context of the popular vote of November 29 On 29 November 2009, the Swiss people voted in a popular referendum in favour of an absolute prohibition of the construction of minarets on Swiss territory. The vote was 57.8 % in favour, and 23[1] of the 26 cantons were in favour of the prohibition. The turnout was 53.4 %, which is relatively high for Switzerland. Currently, four minarets exist in this country, and one application for a construction permit is pending. The legal consequences for this pending application are not entirely obvious,…

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Zimbabwe and the Kimberley Process: Just how effective are Multi-stakeholder Initiatives?

Lucy Koechlin is a member of the Institute of Sociology/Centre of African Studies, University of Basel, Switzerland Just a couple of weeks ago, against the explicit recommendations by its own review mission, the annual plenary of the Kimberley Process decided against suspending Zimbabwe as a member – in spite of documented violations of its…

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20th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention has become the most widely ratified treaty after the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (which have 194 States Parties). There are now 193 States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the…

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Abu Omar Rendition Conviction

Major news outlets have reported the (perhaps somewhat surprising) conviction of 23 American and 2 Italian intelligence agents by an Italian court for the 2003 ‘extraordinary rendition’ of Abu Omar (for coverage, see here, here, here) and here. This is I believe the first such conviction in any…

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2 International Human Rights Questions from PM v Khadr

In an effort to make him more amenable and willing talk, [redacted] has placed Umar on the 'frequent flyer program' for the three weeks before [the Canadian official's] visit, Umar has not be permitted more than three hours in one location, thus denying him uninterrupted sleep and a continued change of neighbours. He will soon be placed in isolation for…

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