On 9-11 December 2015, the Human Rights Integration network will organize an international conference to explore the foundations and implications of human rights fragmentation and integration.
As a political and ethical project, human rights are one, indivisible and universal. As law however, they are fragmented. Human rights law today is characterized by the simultaneous existence of a large variety of norms, developed by numerous actors, at different geographical levels, addressing similar or different topics, individuals and groups. As a result, human rights scholarship often focuses on one or more specific rights, target groups or jurisdictions, which in turn contributes to creating a fragmented, compartmentalized view of human rights law.
However, rights holders, duty bearers and other ‘users’ of human rights are confronted simultaneously with multiple layers of human rights law, amongst which there is generally little coordination. For justice seekers, the complex architecture of human rights may create opportunities as well as obstacles.
The starting proposition of the conference organizers is that it is highly relevant for human rights scholars to add an integrated perspective of human rights law to our work. This implies studying not only separate norms or mechanisms, but also their simultaneous application, what that implies for the users of human rights law, and how these users deal with that reality.
The conference intends to facilitate a dialogue among legal and socio-legal perspectives on human rights fragmentation and integration. Through this dialogue, the conceptual, theoretical and methodological foundations of human rights fragmentation and integration will be refined and the legal and practical implications of human rights fragmentation and integration will be studied.