Human Rights Student Publications


Author Title University Program Country Genre Year
Fellner, Robert The Right To Be Forgotten in the European Human Rights Regime University of Vienna M.A. Human Rights Vienna Austria Research Paper 2014
Abstract

student publications human rights

A recent judgement by the European Court of Justice has stirred up heated debates among supporters and opponents of the newly introduced right to be forgotten. At the core of the discussion is the question how to balance privacy rights against the right to freedom of expression in the digital age. The following paper considers arguments by both factions, to identify, critically discuss or reject potential harms evolving from the current concept of the right to be forgotten. While supporters of the Court's decision, such as Viviane Reding, who is Justice Commissioner of the European Union (EU), are convinced that the ruling is a step forward in personal data protection, others believe that "only the powerful will benefit"2 from the new right and that it weakens "our democratic foundations"3 and leads to a dangerous rewriting of history. The following paper, which was drafted within the framework of the Vienna Human Rights Master Program, is structured in six chapters, which deal with various historical, legal and technical aspects of the right to be forgotten. The first part will place the right to be forgotten within its historical context and trace its roots within the notion of the right to oblivion, to gain a better understanding of its legal descent. The second chapter will provide a brief overview about the legal documents, which govern the European Data Protection policy with emphasis on the current and future system of the European Union. The third chapter outlines specific cases, which were incisive for the development of the scope and enforcement of the right to be forgotten. The fourth part of this essay will critically discuss possible interferences of the right to be forgotten with other human rights such as the right to freedom of expression, the right to remember and the right to information. Afterwards the paper will take account of the Google Spain v AEPD and Mario Costeja González (ECJ, 2014).

Fellner, Robert The Depiction of torture in Jean Améry's Essay 'Die Tortur' University of Vienna M.A. Human Rights Vienna Austria Research Paper 2014
Abstract

student publications human rights

The following scientific paper is written within the framework of the Vienna Human Rights Master Program in the Winter semester 2014. The paper is structured in two major parts: In the first part I will analyse the depiction of torture in Jean Améry's Essay Die Tortur from a hermeneutic and meta-linguistically point of view. Consequently I will outline distinct elements , whichdefine the notion of torture in Améry's Oeuvre and critically discuss them. In thesecond part of my paper I will analyse textual characteristics of Améry's Essay by looking at the narrative structure, the semantic specifics and grammatical peculiarities. Améry's Essay Die Tortur, first published in 1966 as part of the book "Jenseits von Schuld und Sühne: Überwältigungsversuche eines Überwältigten"1 [Beyond guilt and atonement: attempts to overcome by one who is overwhelmed], describes his direful experiences at the SS-Camp Fort Breendonk and the resulting everlasting trauma. Améry's Essay, which can be attributed to the autobiographical genre of survivor memoirs, adds to the understanding and definition of torture as it leaves behind clichéd discussions about strategy, efficiency and the ticking bomb scenarios that currently dominate the discourse about torture.2 The difficulties to translate Améry's work to English and the resulting loss in precision and understanding have further stipulated me to write on this topic to contribute to the reception of his works. German translations are indicated within the running text in brackets in order to support the readability of the paper.

Fellner, Robert The exploitation of ethnic nationalism to incapacitate freedom of media in Kosovo University of Vienna M.A. Human Rights Vienna Austria Essay 2014
Abstract

student publications human rights

Despite the fact that freedom of media is guaranteed in the Republic of Kosovo under the Constitution which went into force on the 15th July in 2008, studies suggest that Journalists in Kosovo "who venture to criticise government actions or who expose corruption can find themselves publicly accused of 'unpatriotic activities', of being 'traitors to the nation' and 'Serbian spies', or more simply of being 'anti-kosovo'" This essay argues that the political elite in Kosovo exploits the discourse of ethnical nationalism to undermine freedom of media, to cover-up governmental corruption and to hinder critical media in fulfilling its function as a safeguard of a developing, highly fragile nation in its state-building process. It therefore makes use of scientific research and adds a personal note by describing experiences of our field trip to Kosovo in the framework of the newly established Viennese Human Rights Master Programme. The importance of the issue of freedom of media for the case of Kosovo is evident as it "takes place actively in an argumentative way" in contributing "to building a new society." Snyder and Ballentine further argue that "media manipulation often plays a central role in promoting nationalist and ethnic conflict" and continue that it is a conventional wisdom among "human rights activists [...] that a great deal of the ethnic conflict in the world today is caused by propagandistic manipulations of public opinion." Although the amount of open threats against journalists slowly decreased within the last years, political and economical pressure has led to a "growing culture of self-censorship" based on fear and insecurity, which prevents "most journalists in Kosovo from reporting about the eruption of crime, corruption and political and Mafia-related violence." During our fieldtrip i constantly had been engulfed by the feeling that the realities we were presented often merely had been constructed facades, than revealing the reality on the ground. Those communicative structures were well trained and internalised after years of foreign occupation or diplomatic work in a fragile post-conflict society - which precisely defined what to say and what not to say - self-censorship seemed to have become an integral part of daily life communication.

Fleckenstein, Elizabeth The Great Firewall of Democracy - The role of Internet’s social media platforms in promoting freedom of expression and human rights today Scuola Superiore Sant Anna di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento Master of Arts in Human Rights and Conflict Management Italy Master Thesis 2011
Abstract

student publications human rights

Consistent with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the establishment, maintenance and fostering of an independent, pluralistic and free press is essential to the development and maintenance of democracy in a nation, and for economic development. Two decades after the call for the establishment of World Press Freedom Day, the arrival of the digital revolution has made it possible to engage the High Commissioner for Human Rights this year at the annual International Human Rights day, which commemorates the 63 years of Universal Declaration of human rights, with the importance of the Internet and social media platforms as the main topic, and its role in promoting human rights, freedom of expression and democratic governments, something that those gathered in Windhoek in 1991 could not have imagined. This dissertation will examine the role of Internet and the various digital communications platforms in reshaping today's state politics and policies in both democracies and dictatorships and in protecting of human rights (especially the right to freedom of expression and opinion).

Gruber, Teresa The discourse of Indigenous Land Rights and Regional Autonomy in Nicaragua: A matter of cultural identity University of Vienna M.A. Human Rights Vienna Austria Research Paper 2014
Abstract

student publications human rights

The decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights against Nicaragua in the Awas Tingni Case of 2001 marked a precedent for indigenous rights. Moreover, it challenged the liberal notion of the right to private property in acknowledging the existence of alternative forms of property like the communal land ownership practiced by the Mayagna community in the Nord of Nicaragua´s Atlantic Coast. The recognition of the right to communal land property by an international court was celebrated by human rights advocates all around the world as a victory for indigenous groups and. At the same time it exposed the challenges linked to the materialization of such rights. Surprisingly, Nicaragua´s domestic legal system of protection comprises far-reaching legislation in term of self-determination and indigenous land rights.1 While disregarding the existence of a favourable legal framework, the Nicaraguan government has often violated its own constitution, the autonomy statute and several international treaties. Even though the Nicaraguan government has complied to some extend with the land demarcation demanded by the Inter-American Court for Human Rights, indigenous communities are still unable to enjoy their rights. Autonomy is not independent as it should be, while political influences, corruption and the greater influence of national parties in both Regional Councils show the flaws within the institutional autonomy. This raises the question whether territorial autonomy, which first served the purpose of conflict resolution in the 1980´s, is still the most suitable model for guaranteeing indigenous land rights.

Gruber, Teresa Kosovo: The Land of empty promises University of Vienna M.A. Human Rights Vienna Austria Essay 2014
Abstract

student publications human rights

When the NATO bombings in Kosovo started I was 8 years old and living 10.500 km away, in a country that had overcome a horrible civil war just 9 years before. Probably because of the distance and my age it was easy for me to ignore this terrible war, but Europe was shocked because this war was happening in their backyard. After the field trip to Kosovo I can say that this war might have taken place in Europe´s backyard, but the human rights violations and atrocities were committed just on their front door. Human rights violations continue to happen disregarding the strong international presence in the country. When you arrive in Pristina, it is hard to bear in mind that this city is only 700 km away from Vienna, the city with the highest life quality in the world. Though not comparable with thepoverty I know from Nicaragua, Kosovo reminds me of any developing country in Latin America. This is because of the discrepancy in the development of the country, at least in Pristina. On the one side there is a significant development in infrastructure; people (certainly just a small group) seem to be recovering financially and are building high-rises. On the other side, Pristina has problems with water distribution, heating and waste administration. The overall poverty in Kosovo already comes with numerous human rights violations that go from the weak educational and health care system to housing and food security issues. In the present essay I will distance myself from challenges regarding poverty and development (though they are all interdependent), but rather focus on human rights challenges like property rights, compensation and justice for victims and freedom of movement. Under the title "Kosovo: The Land of empty promises" my approach is a strong criticism towards the role of the international community. I chose this title because Kosovo and its people amazed me, but at the same time I could not avoid to develop a strong sentiment of frustration with the overall situation. It reminded me of the frustration I feel towards my own country sometimes.

Hagan, Siobhan Contested Space: Kosovo and the Struggle for Congruence Between Territory and Identity University of Vienna M.A. Human Rights Vienna Austria Essay 2014
Abstract

student publications human rights

The Kosovo landscape unfolds like a half-wrecked dream, the slopes of the hills dotted with clusters of new construction and the skeletal remains of homes that were destroyed in the conflict that erupted there in the 90s. In the outskirts of the cities they're often situated next to one another, sometimes only a few meters apart. Kosovo is home to some 1.8 million residents, with a majority (92%) Kosovar Albanian population. The country is also home to a minority population of Serbs (6-8%), and the two have struggled to coexist for centuries. If creating a national identity is dependent on a uniform narrative about who its collective citizenry is in relation to the rest of the world, the story of the Kosovars is still one of parallel institutions. The unhealed psychic wounds of a population traumatized by war only entrench ethnic tensions between Albanians and Serbs more deeply and emphasize difference, not reconciliation. Serbia's stake in Kosovo is old; there, Kosovo is still known as `Old Serbia,' a recollection of a time when it was a cultural and administrative center under the Nemanjic dynasty of the Middle ages. The historic battle at the Field of Blackbirds in 1389, where the Serbs were defeated by the Turks, ushered in 500 years of Ottoman rule.

Harris, Patrick An Assessment and Analysis of Human Rights Issues and Ideals inherent in “Everyday Rebellion” and their application to creative resistance in Thailand amid its ongoing struggle for democracy EIUC Venice E.MA. Human Rights and Democratisation Venice Italy Research Paper 2014
Abstract

student publications human rights

Inspired largely by the film "Everyday Rebellion"1, and thus by small but creative acts of defiance as a public show of support for democracy, this paper will focus on the idea of civil resistance and nonviolent action, following on from the recent wealth of academic literature showing its strengths, promise, and empirical evidence of its advantages over forms of violentresistance.2 The paper will explore the relevant human rights norms and issues that arise from the filmbefore proceeding to consider the idea that forms of civil resistance work in very different and context specific ways, and their "success" depends on a multitude of factors. It aims to bring a multi-disciplinary approach to bear on the discussion. Drawing on studies from other literature, the most important factors in securing "success" of a civil resistance movement will be considered; success generally being conceived of in the sense of creating a situation which may lead to stable and legitimate democracy.3 The most important factors appear principally, to be international support and condemnation of the anti-democratic regime, defections from the regime, and serious political or economic cost to the regime in the continuance of its anti-democratic rule. The paper will then argue that given the importance of these factors, the situation looks bleak for the success of non-violent protest in Thailand. Given the complex political situation and the fact that the military has succeeded following its May 2014 coup, in muting the expression of prominent critics, and creating a fear of denouncing the regime, it will be extremely difficult to organise any form of mass resistance to anti-democratic rule, given that there is also a significant proportion of society who are favourable to the military regime, or at the least see it as a necessary evil.

Harris, Patrick Can Luck Egalitarianism Be 'Saved'? Analysing The uneasy Balance Between Eqaulity And Responisbility In An Initially Intuitive But Deceptively Complex Theory EIUC Venice E.MA. Human Rights and Democratisation Venice Italy Research Paper 2014
Abstract

student publications human rights

This paper will focus upon one of the most maligned recent theories of equality; so called "Luck Egalitarianism" (LE).1 The constituent elements will be explored and analysed and its intuitive appeal (partly due to the initially attractive balance of equality and responsibility) noted. It is argued that LE's initial and apparent simplicities, belie a host of dilemmas, complexities, and potential circularities; including an assumption of equality as a baseline, foundational principle, or even, as a legitimately valuable goal in and of itself. This is not to say that equality should be declared `no such thing', but that some formulations of LE seem to take this for granted without sufficient justification. At some point of course, assumptions must be made, on the basis of some bias or intuition. But merely assuming such things with equality at the centre seems to lead to illogical consequences.2 All the while, equality cannot be dismissed and ignored. Indeed it would be naïve to do so. It remains an enigmatic concept which will often require contextualisation. The idea of responsibility, necessarily balanced within the LE position, is often considered to explain part of the appeal of the theory. It is interpreted as attracting the `left-leaning' egalitarian as well as the centre-right and beyond, who may place value in the idea of people taking responsibility for their own actions.3 Further problems arise when one considers the notion of responsibility as linked with equality, however. One such issue arises in the form of `chosen' versus `unchosen' circumstances and the distinction between so-called `option luck' and `brute luck', within which the debate of choices and talents arises. Even without thetemptation to argue a lack of free will, the distinction between `unchosen' and `chosen' entities,
as related to responsibility, may at best, blur, and at worst, collapse.

Kren, Nina The Death Row Phenomenon: Examining the Concept from a Human Rights Point of View   University of Vienna M.A. Human Rights Vienna Austria Research Paper 2014
Abstract

student publications human rights

"I feel tha it' bad enough they're going to kill me; they could at least treat me like a human being until that time." Words of a death row prisoner, Holman Prison, Alabama. Whilst global developments unmistakeably point towards the general abolition of the death penalty, a number of countriesincluding the United States (U.S.), still sentence people to death and carry out executions.1Moreover, a consensus of qualifying capital punishment as a human rights violation per se has not yet materialised, albeit states' discretion as to its implementation is getting more and more restricted.2 The seminar paper at hand, however, is not concerned with the question whether the death penalty breaches international human rights norms in principle,
but approaches the issue from another point of departure. Leaving aside aforementioned general debate, the focus is laid on how capital punishment cases are dealt with and looks primaril at prevailing conditions on death row.

Author Title University Program Country Genre Year