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Ellen Desmet

This chapter discusses methodological approaches developed in order to study human rights law integration and fragmentation from a users’ perspective. To study human rights norms in an integrated way, three methodologies are presented and compared: relational and inclusive case law analysis, rewriting (quasi-)judicial decisions from an integrated perspective on human rights norms, and analysing interactions between different branches of human rights law and general human rights law. In order to arrive at an inclusive approach to rights holders, two methodologies are put forward, namely relational and inclusive case law analysis, and a case-based approach to human rights violations. Thereinafter, the chapter analyses some methodological refinements made in the study of users’ perspectives. The study of human rights law as an integrated whole from a users’ perspective seems characterised by three common features: cross-thinking (understood as thinking across established boundaries both within human rights law and between disciplines), a focus on impact and effectiveness, and an inclination towards collaborative research. Finally, the relevance of adopting an integrated approach and/or a users’ perspective beyond human rights law is argued for and illustrated.

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Lieselot Verdonck and Ellen Desmet

This chapter rewrites the judgment by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of the Kichwa Indigenous People of Sarayaku v Ecuador of 2012, concerning oil exploration activities in indigenous territories. A more sustained integrative approach to human rights is adopted in relation to seven themes, including innovative suggestions to move the human rights framework forward. To start, indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination should feature at the forefront of the Court’s analysis, instead of the right to property. Second, the Court should have further developed the norm of free, prior and informed consent, in line with (and beyond) earlier jurisprudence. Third, the analysis of some potential human rights violations was unjustifiably absorbed into the Court’s reasoning under article 21 ACHR. Fourth, children’s rights could have been more explicitly mainstreamed. Fifth, the right to live in a healthy environment should have been explicitly considered, at best as an independent right, at least included in the right to life. Sixth, the Court should have explicitly acknowledged that non-state actors bear human rights obligations. Finally, it is suggested that the Court should move towards not only an integrative approach to human rights norms, but to one of human rights holders as well.

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Integrated Human Rights in Practice

Rewriting Human Rights Decisions

Edited by Eva Brems and Ellen Desmet

This book aims to introduce concrete and innovative proposals for a holistic approach to supranational human rights justice through a hands-on legal exercise: the rewriting of decisions of supranational human rights monitoring bodies. The contributing scholars have thus redrafted crucial passages of landmark human rights judgments and decisions, ‘as if human rights law were really one’, borrowing or taking inspiration from developments and interpretations throughout the whole multi-layered human rights protection system. In addition to the rewriting exercise, the contributors have outlined the methodology and/or theoretical framework that guided their approaches and explain how human rights monitoring bodies may adopt an integrated approach to human rights law.