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Human Rights

The Discussion Group on Human Rights is curated by the members of the Max Planck Research Group MAGGI which is led by Janne Mende.

The Discussion Group on Human Rights is intended for research fellows and visiting scholars of the Max Planck Institute, who are concerned with the national, regional and international protection of human rights, as well as institutional aspects of human rights protection within the framework of a research project or dissertation. The discussion group provides an opportunity for mutual exchange on selected topics and current developments in the field of human rights. Both universal and regional human rights protection with a special focus on European and other multi- level systems constitute the group`s main interest. In addition to regularly scheduled meetings, the Discussion Group endeavors to maintain contact with other research institutions and organizes lectures on selected topics concerning international human rights protection.

For previous sessions, please check the archive.


Upcoming: Footbal, Human Rights, and Politics

In our next discussion round, which is scheduled to take place during the World Cup, we will address the dilemma of tackling human rights, celebrating football, and making sound political choices.

Date and speakers tbc.

23.06.2022: Zoom Webinar: "The cruelest lies are often told in silence" - Silencing Mass Crimes in Foreign Policy

Together with a research group from the University of Passau we will be discussing: 

"The cruelest lies are often told in silence"
Silencing Mass Crimes in Foreign Policy

The researchers will be presenting some of the findings from their ongoing work: "Following the observation of Western states not addressing mass atrocities around the world, silence in foreign policy consitutes the central focus of this research project. To this end, the behavior and discourse of Western states with regards to current and historical mass atrocities is examined. Empirical case studies range from recent mass atrocities committed in Syria, Yemen and Myanmar to colonial-era mass crimes."

14.10.2021: Zoom webinar: Territory and Refugee Protection: Places for Human Rights?

A panel discussion on recent developments in EU asylum practices in a global perspective

October 14, 2021 | 15:30-17:00 (CET) | Zoom Webinar


Migration and asylum procedures have been subject to the principle of territoriality for decades. The rights of migrants and refugees to social welfare and political participation are always linked to a territorially-defined legal space depending on where they entered a border or applied for asylum. Human rights, however, apply extraterritorially. Migration policies revolve around territoriality in different ways: attempts to avoid the application of laws by avoiding territory (extraterritorial processing), special legal regimes for certain areas (transit zones and immigration detention facilities), and efforts by local authorities and civic organizations to challenge broader national immigration policies (sanctuary cities).

The past year has given ample reason to reconsider European migration and asylum practices in this regard. Think of the Hungarian government established ‘transit zones’ on its territory, the Danish law to relocate asylum seekers outside its territory, or the way the EU-Turkey migration deal differentiates the rights of migrants according to the principle of territoriality.

Focusing on territoriality allows a fresh view on current issues such as recent decisions by the European Court of Human Rights on collective expulsion, the 2020 Pact on Migration and Asylum, on Frontex’s and other border agencies’ policing practices, and on recent policies discussed by some member states. What can we make of the principle of territoriality when we talk about illegal pushbacks by border security agents? What are the legal and political implications of ‘seamless’ asylum procedures? How can we legally and discursively understand spaces of exception in asylum procedures such as transit zones, sanctuary cities, and extraterritorial spaces of asylum? How is access to asylum spatially governed ?

The Human Rights Discussion Group of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law is delighted to host a panel of four experts well-versed in the asylum and human rights debates. They will introduce you to current developments, discuss asylum practices in a global perspective, and reflect on the political and legal efforts to deal with the current situation.



Pauline Endres de Oliveira (Research Fellow at the Justus Liebig University Gießen/ Refugee Law Clinic of the Humboldt University of Berlin)

Nikolas Feith Tan (Danish Institute for Human Rights)

Bonny Ling (Institute for Human Rights and Business, Portsmouth City of Sanctuary, Lead on Combatting Modern Slavery)

Alex Aleinikoff (Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, The New School)

Chair: Franziska Plümmer, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law


Register in advance for this webinar:

The event will be recorded for subsequent publication on the Institute’s YouTube channel.