Blog: European Court of Human Rights

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May 14, 2020

How do you protect against indirect discrimination?


HLS’s Human Rights Program convenes experts to explore the concept of indirect discrimination on the basis of religion


In 2010, France adopted a law banning full-face coverings in public. Opposed by several human rights organizations, the law was challenged quickly in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and later before the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC).

In bringing the cases, the applicants charged that the law discriminated against them indirectly. On the face of it, the law treated everyone the same, but it had disproportionate effects for Muslim women who wore niqabs. Notably, the ECtHr upheld the law, while the HRC found it to be a violation of human rights.

Cases like these, and differences between approaches, occupied much of the conversation at a recent Harvard Law School Human Rights Program (HRP) workshop focusing on indirect discrimination on the basis of religion.

Gerald Neuman ’80, the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, convened the workshop on Saturday, April 18. HRP hosted the workshop in cooperation with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, and the Harvard Human Rights Journal.

Read the full story about the workshop on the Harvard Law Today website.

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October 19, 2011

Tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 20: The Forced Sterilization of Roma Women

Event Notice

October 20, 2011

“Roma Rights at the European Court of Human Rights: Challenging Forced Sterilization”

A Talk by Barbora Bukovská, LLM ’05, Lawyer and Roma Rights Activist

Thursday, October 20, 2011

12:00-1:15 pm

Pound 101

Barbora Bukovská, LLM ’05, is currently Senior Director of Law and Policy at the London-based human rights organization Article 19.  A founder of the Czech Republic’s first legal clinic, in 2001 she founded the Centre for Civil and Human Rights in Kosice, Slovakia, where she led efforts to eliminate the practice of forced sterilization of Roma women in Slovakia, as well as other human rights abuses.  She is currently representing a group of Roma women who were forcibly sterilized by Slovak authorities in a case before the European Court of Human Rights.

This event is being co-sponsored by the Harvard European Law Association, the Office of Public Interest Advising, HLS Advocates for Human Rights, and Harvard Law Students for Reproductive Justice.

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