International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

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Surveillance without Borders: The Unlawfulness of the NSA Panopticon, Part II

This is Part II of a post assessing the international law implications of the U.S. National Security Agency's global spying program. Part I focused the general international law implications of the program. This part focuses on potential violations of human rights law and breaches of the law of diplomacy. Constitutional fundamental rights binding the European states In probably all surveilled states, citizens enjoy a constitutional right to privacy which has been affected by secret surveillance measures by the NSA. Fundamental rights embodied in European constitutions bind only the territorial state, not the USA. The territorial states’ responsibility under their own constitutional law could be involved through their condonement, toleration, or by just refraining from protesting against surveillance measures by the NSA. In Germany, the secrecy of communication is protected by Art. 10 of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz, GG). This fundamental right may be lawfully restricted. The principal relevant legislation in Germany is the Gesetz zur Beschränkung des Brief-, Post und Fernmeldegeheimnisses as of 26 June 2001, colloquially called the…

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Surveillance Without Borders? The Unlawfulness of the NSA-Panopticon, Part I

Introduction: The draft GA resolution on privacy on the Internet At the end of October 2013, a draft General Assembly resolution calling for the right to privacy on the Internet was sponsored by Brazil and Germany. (photo: a panopticon, credit) The draft resolution reaffirms the human right to…

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Freedom of Religion and Religious Symbols: Same Right – Different Interpretation?

Stephanie E. Berry is Lecturer in Public Law at the University of Sussex. As the debate over the wearing of religious attire in State institutions in Western Europe has reignited over previous weeks, it is pertinent to consider the protection provided under international law to those who wish to exercise this element…

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US Fourth ICCPR Report, IHRL and IHL

The US Government recently submitted to the Human Rights Committee its fourth periodic report on its compliance with the ICCPR. On the issues near and dear to my heart – the extraterritorial application of the ICCPR and the relationship between IHRL and IHL – the new report presents a significant softening of the US position. Or, to…

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