Integrated Human Rights in Practice
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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.
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Chapter 8: Yilmaz-Dogan v The Netherlands (CERD): forum shopping and intersecting grounds of discrimination thirty years later

Rhona Smith


The author of this communication had her employment terminated whilst she was pregnant. The decision authorising termination made reference to her being a foreign worker. So many fora are now available for holding states to account for violations of one’s human rights that it can be confusing for the potential author of a communication. The questions of which forum to choose – regional and/or international – is brought into focus in the communication submitted by Yilmaz-Dogan against the Netherlands to the UN Committee on Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination in 1984. A violation was found on, essentially, procedural grounds with little consideration of the substantial issues. The rewriting considers alternative fora available today for a complaint on the same point and the impact on the committee’s opinion of having appropriately considered the sex discrimination dimension, something which was established in international human rights at the time of the complaint. A more intersectional analysis reveals multiple grounds of discrimination. Inevitably the opinion would still find an infringement of the treaty but by strengthening the reasoning and providing greater direction to the state party, it is hoped that the human rights situation in the state would be strengthened.

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