Rewriting Human Rights Decisions
Edited by Eva Brems and Ellen Desmet
Chapter 8: Yilmaz-Dogan v The Netherlands (CERD): forum shopping and intersecting grounds of discrimination thirty years later
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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