Human Rights

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On Whose Authority? Freedom of Navigation and Protests in the 2023 NORI-D Area Incident

Introduction The activities of Greenpeace vessels have a habit of triggering the further illumination and development of international law. Greenpeace’s “Stop Deep Sea Mining” campaign is no exception. It effectively raises questions on the scope of Greenpeace’s individual right to protest (international human rights law) and the scope of the Netherland’s flag State right to freedom of navigation, which includes the qualified right to permit vessels flying its flag to protest at sea (international law of the sea). While these regimes intertwine (“the right to protest at sea is necessarily exercised in conjunction with the freedom of navigation” (Arctic Sunrise Award (2015) para. 227), this post focuses on the law of the sea element, namely whether the flag State’s freedom of navigation on the high seas extends to vessels flying its flag conducting peaceful protests against activities in the Area. For context, in November-December 2023, the M/V Coco, a Danish flagged vessel operated by Nauru Ocean Resources Inc (NORI) and Tonga Offshore Minerals Limited (TOML), was conducting exploration activities…

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Reflections on the Strasbourg climate rulings in light of two aims behind the Duarte Agostinho case

Two aims, among others, motivated the decision to bring the Duarte Agostinho climate case (“Duarte”) directly to the European Court of Human Rights against multiple Respondent States. They were, first, to invite the Court to interpret States’ obligations in respect of climate change in a manner capable of protecting those in the most vulnerable parts…

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Priorities for Climate Litigation at the European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights’ judgments in KlimaSeniorinnen v Switzerland, Carême v France, and Duarte Agostinho v Portugal and others confirmed that climate litigation in the European human rights system is difficult (general analysis of the judgments here and here). The reasons were…

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Flag State responsibility in international human rights law for individuals on board private vessels

Introduction On 10 April 2024, the EU Parliament adopted new rules strengthening responsibility-sharing among member States in respect of management of migratory flows. The new Migration and Asylum Pact is the outcome of years of political negotiations, including in the light of the complex situation in the Mediterranean Sea. However, as we explain below, the…

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Climate or carbon neutrality? Which one must states aim for under Article 8 ECHR?

In its judgment in Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and Others v. Switzerland, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) Grand Chamber ruled that Switzerland had acted insufficiently on climate change mitigation. This placed the Swiss senior women applicants at risk of climate harm, particularly from heatstroke, and breached their Article 8 rights to home and family…

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