Divergence and Coherence in Human Rights Law: Flexibility of International Human Rights Law to account for Socio-Economic Disadvantage 

This proje???????????????????????????????ct is part of work package No. 6 of the research network “The Global Challenge of Human Rights Integration: Towards a Users’ Perspective” HRIntegration IAP.
The project studies both the legitimacy and the legal tools for the simultaneous accommodation and control of divergence in human rights law. It examines the work of global and regional monitoring bodies.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Eva Brems

Researcher: Valeska David

Sponsored by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO)

It is submitted that human rights law can be interpreted and applied with enough flexibility so as to account for different contexts, needs and values. In our globalised andDSC01840 plural world, the diversity that challenges the inclusiveness of human rights norms does not only arise out of cultural identity, but also of socio-economic disparities. Conditions of socio-economic disadvantage are relevant contextual factors that may demand variations in human rights standards. Yet, International human rights law has been criticised for its alleged detachment from distributive justice issues. Arguably, social equality and poverty matters have largely been outside the scope of the international machinery of human rights protection, which would make the latter responsive only to some. Looking at the critiques to the liberalism and universalism embedded in human rights law, the research focuses on claims pointing at injustices flowing from the individualism, the market and the invisibility of the poor. Albeit these claims may be seen as merely involving concerns over ‘redistribution’, they also raise demands for ‘recognition’. The research inquires whether international human rights bodies can account for the needs, values and concerns arising out of poverty and inequality. Is such accommodation actually taking place? And if so, which normative tools are e
mployed and what are the limits of the human rights norms’ flexibility? For answering these questions, the research European Law Libraryexamines the work of both universal and regional human rights monitoring bodies.

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