In this paper Prof. Brems attempts to develop a ‘smart’ concept of human rights integration that strives for an appropriate balance between integration and fragmentation.
This paper addresses the issue of fragmentation in human rights law. It attempts to develop a ‘smart’ concept of human rights integration that strives for an appropriate balance between integration and fragmentation. Such human rights integration is not to be confused with a project of unification of human rights.
The paper first briefly describes the state of the art with regard to fragmentation and integration in human rights law, including scholarly debates on this issue.
Next, it makes the case for increased integration compared to the status quo. The main part of the paper then identifies and analyses several arguments/rationales for limits to human rights integration. These are categorized under three headings: specialisation, contextualisation and experimentation.
Finally, the paper argues that the success of smart integration is not be assessed in terms of outcomes, but in terms of process, and that the central feature of smart human rights integration is thus a global human rights conversation. The idea is not so much that one human rights monitoring body acts in the same way or comes to the same conclusion as another body on the same issue, but rather that it is informed about what others do/have done, and reflects upon the desirability of adopting the same approach.
Eva Brems is a professor of human rights law at Ghent University, Belgium. She likes to think of herself a 'generalist of human rights law'. Her research addresses many different topics of human rights law in domestic, European and international law, with a strong emphasis on transversal issues as well as on issues of diversity. The 'smart integration' paper is part of a BELSPO-funded project (2012-2017) on 'The global challenge of human rights integration: toward a users' perspective'.
More information on Prof. Brems can be found here.
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