Human rights are under pressure: Academically, from the perspective of critical approaches, viewing them as a continuation of western power politics by other means. Politically and socially, human rights are a target for various populist movements that are hostile to its very ambition. But how do these developments impact on human rights law? How is the scholarship of human rights (and its law) affected by this development? And how does the practice of human rights institutions react to this changing environment?
A panel discussion held on 18 July 2017at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities departed from the assumption that it is time to move beyond the diagnosis of the various crises such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. Rather, it was the ambition of this event to clear the ground for a more nuanced and differentiated analysis. How does "the crisis" play out in various regional human rights systems? Is it a Eurocentric worldview that a backlash against human rights law in Western societies is deemed to automatically affect the entire world? Are there specific treaty regimes at the universal level which continue more or less unaffected by the current situation?
The panelists - Professor Arnd Bauerkämper (Department of History, Freie Universität Berlin), Professor Tomer Broude (Sylvan M. Cohen Chair in Law, The Hebrew University Jerusalem), Professor Anne Peters (Managing Director at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, Adjunct Professor at the University of Basel, Honorary Professor at the University of Heidelberg and at Freie Universität Berlin), and Professor Helmut Aust (Department of Law, Freie Universität Berlin), took a fresh look at these questions from legal as well as from historical and policy perspectives. The panel was joined in discussion by many speakers from an audience of more than 100 participants, among them many alumni and alumnae as well as friends of the Institute.
A reception at the Academy’s rooftop terrace, overlooking the Gendarmenmarkt, was to follow. The evening also provided an opportunity to meet and greet more than 40 doctoral and postdoctoral fellows of "Human Rights under Pressure - Ethics, Law, and Politics" (HR-UP), a Joint Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program of FU Berlin and The Hebrew University Jerusalem, who were gathering in Berlin for the HR-UP Summer School 2017.
The evening was hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in cooperation with "Human Rights under Pressure - Ethics, Law, and Politics" (HR-UP), and co-organized by the Institute’s Berlin Office.
Report: Barbara Bücker
Photo: Roland Klein
At the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW).