Tag Archives: human rights

Upcoming Speaking Engagement: Conference on ‘Global Human Rights at Risk? Challenges, Prospects, and Reforms’, The Hague, 6-7 June 2019

On 6-7 June 2019, I will be participating in the above conference. My presentation is entitled ‘The Codification of an Expanding Number of Human Rights and the Ideal of Self-Government.’

During the presentation, I will, among other things, discuss the recent announcement by the U.S. Department of State of the establishment of a Department of State Commission on Unalienable Rights. The purpose of the Commission is to ‘provide the Secretary of State advice and recommendations concerning international human rights matters. The Commission will provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.’

The full abstract of my presentation reads as follows: 

If there is one word which sums up the ideal underlying modern Western political orders, it is self-government. Since 1945, the West, and in particular (Western) Europe, has witnessed the rise of modern constitutional practice. To be sure, the American and French Revolutions of the late 18th century already marked a transition from traditional to modern constitutionalism, but this modern constitutionalism somehow remained connected to traditional constitutionalism through the diverse intellectual tradition of natural law and natural rights discoverable by human reason.

Several developments after the Second World War have led to the face of modern constitutionalism changing dramatically, however. Taken together, these developments raise the question if, and to what extent, the ideal of self-government is still realized under modern constitutional practice?

One development that has impacted modern constitutional practice is the codification of an expanding number of human rights. Thus, since World War II, several international and regional codifications have taken place. Moreover, in addition to the more traditional civil and political rights, social and economic rights have also been developed. In recent decades, so-called third- generation rights are also distinguished, such as environmental rights.

At the same time, historians have already started to raise the question of whether human rights, with the advantage of hindsight, may not prove to have been more of a temporary phenomenon than was initially thought. Perhaps even more provocatively, human rights activist Aaron Rhodes, has in a 2018 book raised the question: how can an ideal that was originally emancipatory, such as that of human rights, become so ‘debased’?

The first section of the proposed paper will attempt to answer precisely this question, against the background of the theoretical framework set out above. Should the human rights component of modern constitutional practice not conform to the standards that modern constitutionalism set out to achieve, this subsequently makes an inquiry into which amendments to both the theory and the practice of modern constitutionalism in the area of human rights are required with a view to their continuing legitimacy indispensable. Such an effort will, if necessary, be undertaken in the second part of the paper.

See for more information on the conference: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/events/2019/06/global-human-rights-at-risk

See also:

Guest Lecture on “Natural Law, Human Rights, and Religious Freedom”

Upcoming Paperback Release

Press Release: ‘Twelve ILS seed money grants for frontier research at Leiden Law School’

Guest Lecture on “Natural Law, Human Rights, and Religious Freedom”

UPDATE:

Terugblik vormingsweekend 2019: christendemocratie en rechtsstaat

Beautiful place to give a guest talk this morning: The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Distress in Heiloo, North-Holland.

The lecture was on “Natural Law, Human Rights, and Religious Freedom.”

The audience consisted of a group of talented leaders of the Christian Democratic Youth Appeal.

Other speakers during the weekend included Minister of  State Piet Hein Donner.

See also:

Entry on Christian Democracy in Encyclopedia of Political Thought

Canon of Dutch Christian Democracy now also available in English

Paper presentation ‘Creed or Structure? Christian Democratic Vision and Attitudes towards Liberal Democracy’

Upcoming meeting of the Tradition Project, Rome, December 12-13

I look forward to participating in the third session of the St. John’s Law School Center for Law and Religion’s Tradition Project, “The Value of Tradition in the Global Context,” in Rome this week.

‘December 12, 2018
9.00 – 13.00
LUMSA University – Jubilee Complex
Via di Porta Castello, 44 – Rome

LUMSA University is co-organizing and hosting two major international conferences in  November and December one dealing with fundamental rights and conflicts between rights, the other with the value of tradition in a globalised world.
The first, November 15-16, will discuss “Fundamental Rights and Conflicts Among Rights“. The second, to be held on December 12-13, The Value of Tradition in the Global Context will explore the tension  between tradition and globalisation, between identities, by their nature local, and global government, by its nature centralising. What are the understandings of tradition at the global level? How is the relationship between local traditions and global government to be construed? How does  tradition relate to liberalism, nationalism and populism? and to human rights? (…)

Keynote address: Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., United States Supreme Court
Keynote respondents: Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Dalla Torre (President Vatican State Tribunal, Emerito LUMSA University), Hon. Prof. Ugo De Siervo (Presidente Emerito della Corte costituzionale italiana), Prof. Dr. Chantal Delsol (Emérite et Membre Académie des Sciences morales et politiques), Hon. Prof. Andrès Ollero (Tribunal Constitucional de España)

Moderator: Dr. R. R. Reno, First Things

Twenty scholars in law, politics, philosophy, from Europe and the USA will then discuss the themes in four workshops upon invitation.

Workshop participants: Prof. Pasquale Annicchino (European University Institute), Prof. Richard Garnett (University of Notre Dame), Prof. Eduardo Gianfrancesco (LUMSA University), Prof. John McGinnis (Northwestern University), Prof. Fabio Macioce (LUMSA University), Prof. Anna Moreland (Villanova University), Prof. Jide Nzelibe (Northwestern University), Prof. Andrea Pin (University of Padua), Prof. Emilia Powell (University of Notre Dame), Prof. Kristina Stoeckl (University of Innsbruck), Prof.  John Tasioulas (King’s College London), Prof. Hans-Martien Ten Napel (Leiden University), Prof. Marco Ventura (University of Siena, Fondazione Bruno Kessler di Trento), Prof. Adrian Vermeule (Harvard University)

Conference Conveners: Prof. Marc O. DeGirolami (St. John’s University), Prof. Monica Lugato (LUMSA University), Prof. Michael P.  Moreland (Villanova University), Prof. Mark L. Movsesian (St. John’s University)

REGISTRATION: eventi@lumsa.it, R.S.V.P. BY DECEMBER 7, 2018

Simultaneous translation will be provided.

The Programme
The Playbill’

Source: https://www.lumsa.it/en/value-tradition-global-context.

For a podcast on the topic with Center Director Mark Movsesian and Associate Director Marc DeGirolami, see:

Legal Spirits Episode 003: Tradition in the Global Context

Signatory to Amicus effort in Lautsi case before European Court of Human Rights (2010)

In 2010, Notre Dame Professor of Law Paolo Carozza led ‘a group of more than 50 law professors from 15 countries who have submitted written comments asking the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights to overturn a seven-judge panel’s ruling that crucifixes may not be displayed in Italian classrooms. (…)

“The challenges of religious pluralism in contemporary Europe can’t be resolved through the false premise that banning religious symbols from public spaces is somehow a ‘neutral’ position,” Carozza said. “Pluralism must be achieved through a genuine dialogue among the religious traditions of the European peoples, a dialogue that becomes impossible if the symbols representing the historic traditions of the continent are excised from public life, including education.”

Working with European colleagues, Carozza assembled a coalition of prominent legal scholars from across Europe, including former constitutional court judges from three countries, to intervene as amicus curiae in the case. The group is being represented by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. (…)

In their friend-of-the-court brief, the law professors argue that the panel’s ruling needlessly threatens the wide variety of religious symbols on display on public property all over Europe, including national flags, coats of arms, and public art. The professors also warn that the panel’s decision risks setting off a widespread conflict between government and religion. Given the wide diversity of religious practices across Europe, it makes little sense to try to create a secularist “common denominator.” Rather, they contend, the Court should give states substantial leeway to structure the church-state relationship in harmony with tradition, history and culture.

“One of the cornerstones of the construction of modern Europe was precisely the acceptance of a wide variety of practices regarding religion and public life in the various states of the region,” Carozza said. “The European Court of Human Rights has in its best moments been protective of that rich and important diversity of cultures among the peoples of Europe, but the Chamber in this case betrayed that ideal by imposing a very narrow and uniform model of what is required of the state.”’

Source: https://italianstudies.nd.edu/news/law-professor-carozza-organizes-amicus-effort-in-european-crucifix-case/.

You can read the brief, to which I was a signatory and which was rejected by the Court, here:

See also:

A Test of Faith? Religious Diversity and Accommodation in the European Workplace

Article in Muslim World Journal of Human Rights (2011)

Chapter in volume on Law and Religion in the 21st Century. Relations between States and Religious Communities (2010)

Chapter on ‘The Boundaries of Faith-Based Organizations in Europe’ in forthcoming Research Handbook on Law and Religion

The description of the edited volume reads as follows:

‘Offering an interdisciplinary, international and philosophical perspective, this comprehensive Handbook explores both perennial and recent legal issues that concern the modern state and its interaction with religious communities and individuals.

Providing in-depth, original analysis the book includes studies of a wide array of nation-states, such as India and Turkey, which each have their own complex issues centred on law, religion and the interactions between the two. Longstanding issues of religious liberty are explored such as the right of conscientious objection, religious confession privilege and the wearing of religious apparel. The contested meanings of the secular state and religious neutrality are revisited from different perspectives and the reality of the international human rights protections for religious freedom are analysed.

Timely and astute, this discerning Handbook will be a valuable resource for both academics and researchers interested in the many topics surrounding law and religion. Lawyers and practitioners will also appreciate the clarity with which the rights of religious liberty, and the challenges in making these compatible with state law, are presented.’

The Research Handbook, to be published with Edward Elgar in September 2018, is edited by Rex Ahdar, Faculty of Law, University of Otago, New Zealand.

My own chapter is entitled: ‘The Boundaries of Faith-Based Organizations in Europe.’

Other contributors to the volume include: R. Albert, B.L. Berger, J.E. Buckingham, P. Dane, J. Harrison, M.A. Helfand, M. Hill, A. Koppelman, I. Leigh, J. Neo, Y. Rosnai, R. Sandberg, S.D. Smith, K. Thompson and F. Venter.

See for the full table of contents, and order information:

https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/research-handbook-on-law-and-religion.

See also:

Paper presentation during XXI World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions

New volume on ‘Religion and Civil Society: The Changing Faces of Religion and Secularity’

NWO to finance research project ‘Religion Renegotiated: Faith-Based Organizations and the State in the Netherlands since the 1960s’

 

Workshop Law and Religion

Date
26 June 2017
Time
10:00 – 12:00  hrs.
Address
Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden
Room
A014

On June 26th, a small workshop on comparative law & religion will take place with Dr. Jaclyn Neo (National University of Singapore, Law School). Jaclyn is a very well-published scholar in the field of comparative public law and human rights, particularly in the field of law and religion (see bio below). She studied at Yale Law School (LLM, JSD) and she is an Assistant Professor of Public Law at the National University of Singapore. She is an innovative thinker and a wonderful speaker. On June 26, Jaclyn will present one of her most recent papers and engage with  her audience’s questions. Hans-Martien Ten Napel will act as discussant and Sofia Fernandes Da Silva Ranchordás will chair the workshop. Both colleagues and students are welcome!

You can register for the workshop by sending an email to Sofia, preferably by June 10. Should you be interested in presenting a recent paper, pitching your PhD research or discussing a new research idea on law and religion or freedom of expression so as to receive some feedback from an expert in this field, please let Sofia know. Due to time constraints, only 2-3 additional presentations can be accepted.

Source: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/events/2017/06/workshop-law-and-religion.

See also:

International Conference on “The Rule of Law with Chinese Characteristics in Transition”;

Blogpost ‘Religious Freedom, Eastern Ethical Monism, and Western “Civic Totalism”‘.

Book Recommendations (I): Nicholas Wolterstorff, Understanding Liberal Democracy (2012)

About the book:

Understanding Liberal Democracy presents notable work by Nicholas Wolterstorff at the intersection between political philosophy and religion. Alongside his influential earlier essays, it includes nine new essays in which Wolterstorff develops original lines of argument and stakes out novel positions regarding the nature of liberal democracy, human rights, and political authority. Taken together, these positions are an attractive alternative to the so-called public reason liberalism defended by thinkers such as John Rawls. The volume will be of interest to philosophers, political theorists, and theologians, engaging a wide audience of those interested in how best to understand the nature of liberal democracy and its relation to religion.’

About the author:

‘Nicholas Wolterstorff is Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University. Currently he is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, at the University of Virginia. He has been President of the American Philosophical Association, and of the Society of Christian Philosophers; he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among the lectures he has given are the Wilde Lectures at Oxford University, the Gifford Lectures at St Andrews University, and the Stone Lectures at Princeton Seminary. He has published over twenty books including On Universals, Works and Worlds of Art, Art in Action, Until Justice and Peace Embrace, Reason within the Bounds of Religion, Divine Discourse, John Locke and the Ethics of Belief, Thomas Reid and the Story of Epistemology, Educating for Shalom, Lament for a Son, Justice: Rights and Wrongs and Justice in Love.’

Source, and more information: Wolterstorff, Understanding Liberal Democracy. Essays in Political Philosophy.

As I write in the introduction to my new book, Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human (Routledge, 2017), I have found that some of the most worthwhile books on liberal democracy which have been published in recent years, have been authored, for example, by ethicists and philosophers. You can read part of the introduction to my book here.

As I demonstrate in the third chapter of Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human, Wolterstorff’s Understanding Liberal Democracy is a major example of such a worthwhile book.

See also Twelve posts introducing my new book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human

Upcoming Speaking Engagement, Conference ‘Christianity and the Future of our Societies’, Leuven, Belgium, 15-19 August 2016

Conferentie-Leuven-icoon

‘The event is jointly organized by the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven and the Association for Reformational Philosophy and tackles issues facing the future of our societies. The focus of the conference is to analyze philosophically and theologically what Christianity can contribute to the well-being and flourishing of societies, and people within societies, in the 21st century, in very diverse contexts around the world. The aim of the conference is to discuss with scholars from all over the world not only the significance of religion and Christianity in general, but also the contribution of Christian theology and Christian philosophical thinking in particular for contemporary societies in very different contexts around the globe.’

The paper I will be presenting during the conference is provisionally entitled: ‘Christianity and the Future of Religious Freedom’.

On the Association of Reformational Philosophy:

‘The Association of Reformational Philosophy (ARP) has its roots in the 16th century Reformation and its direct origin in the 19th neo-Calvinist revival (in which Abraham Kuyper was a pivotal figure). One of the goals of the ARP is “to contribute to the deepening of philosophical insight in created reality, and to make these insights fruitful for academic studies and for society”. Key founding fathers of the movement were the Dutch philosophers Herman Dooyeweerd and Dirk Vollenhoven. The movement has grown, and is today globally engaged in academic dialogue between Christianity and the contemporary world, and its animating intellectual, political and economic ideas and leaders. It does so in the expectation that Christianity has important and timely insights to offer.’

On the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit:

‘The Evangelische Theologische Faculteit (ETF) in Leuven, Belgium, has developed into an important European education and research center for Christian theology that seeks relevance to the contemporary world and its concerns. In ETF’s international master’s and doctoral program, students and professors from a wide variety of cultural and denominational backgrounds come from all over the world to engage in stimulating dialogue.’

For more information, and registration, see http://www.cfs2016.org/.

Participant, expert seminar ‘Religious Pluralism and Human Rights in Europe: Where to Draw the Line?’, Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, Utrecht (9-10 May 2006)

REBO-website-SIM_01

‘”How should we deal with religious pluralism in contemporary Europe from a human rights perspective and where should we draw the line, if any?” This was the central question of an expert seminar held in 2006 at Utrecht University to celebrate the inaugural address of Abdullahi An-Na’im, who occupied the G.J. Wiarda Chair at the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) in 2005/2006. (…)
Though religious pluralism in itself is anything but new in Europe, the influx of large groups of non-Christians, especially Muslims, and the political climate after recent terrorist attacks have profoundly changed the terms of the debate on how to deal with it. Should all religions be treated the same, or is it legitimate to take European Christian heritage into account?
Does religion deserve more protection than culture? What does it mean if we say the State has to be secular and/or neutral? How should freedom of religion be dealt with if it conflicts with other fundamental rights such as sex equality? And how should one approach limitations on the freedom of expression that are related to religion, such as hate speech bans or criminalisation of glorifying terrorism?
The questions are set against the background of modern notions of citizenship and the European human rights framework.’

Source: http://intersentia.com/en/shop/academisch/religious-pluralism-and-human-rights-in-europe.html.

About the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights:

‘SIM is the key centre of expertise of human rights research and education at Utrecht University.

The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights offers internationally oriented study programmes, conducts interdisciplinary research and organises a range of activities in the field of human rights.

History
Established in 1981 as a research support institute for a group of Dutch human rights NGOs, SIM has become integrated into Utrecht University over time. SIM was one of the founders of the Netherlands School of Human Rights Research and is the home of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights. Famous human rights researchers have headed SIM since its creation, including Hans Thoolen, Manfred Nowak, Peter Baehr, Cees Flinterman and Jenny Goldschmidt. Antoine Buyse is SIM’s current director. With a rich tradition and a keen eye voor current and future developments in the field of human rights, SIM is a leading academic research institute and the home base of a vibrant, interdisciplinary and international group of researchers, lecturers, and PhD students.’

– See more at: http://sim.rebo.uu.nl/en/over-ons/#sthash.Klf2stYo.dpuf.

Article in Muslim World Journal of Human Rights (2011)

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The abstract of this article, entitled ‘The Judicial Protection of Religious Symbols in Europe’s Public Educational Institutions: Thank God for Canada and South Africa’, reads as follows:

‘How should judges deal with the manifestation of religious symbols in public educational institutions? In light of the important role of human rights in our legal and political system, courts should grant maximum protection under the freedom of religion or belief. The central thesis of this article is that the European Court of Human Rights fails to live up to this standard. In order to reach this conclusion, the article analyzes relevant case law of the European Court and compares its case law with that of the high courts of Canada and South Africa. In addition, the article assesses the case law of all three courts from the angle of interpretation theory and particularly Cass R. Sunstein’s theory of judicial minimalism. Adoption of a more consistently minimalist methodology by the European Court might lead to a greater protection granted to individuals and groups. However, a wide and deep ruling is first required to overturn the current line of reasoning. The European Court can draw inspiration from Canada and South Africa for such a judgment.’

For order information of the article, which was co-authored with Florian H. Karim Theissen, see:

http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/mwjhr.2011.8.issue-1/1554-4419.1216/1554-4419.1216.xml.

About the journal:

‘Muslim World Journal of Human Rights offers a medium for scholarly debate on various aspects of the question of human rights as it relates to the Muslim World. Edited by an international board of leading Islamic studies, Middle Eastern studies and human right scholars from around the world, MWJHR promises to serve as a forum in which barriers are bridged (or at least, addressed), and human rights are finally discussed with an eye on the Muslim world, in an open and creative manner.

The choice to name the journal, “Muslim World Journal of Human Rights” reflects a desire to examine human rights issues related not only to Islam and Islamic law, but equally those human rights issues found in Muslim societies that stem from various other sources such as socio-economic and political factors, as well the interaction and intersections of the two areas.’