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New Issue: Nordic Journal of Human Rights, Volume 38, Issue 4

The Nordic Journal of Human Rights has published the fourth issue of Volume 38. The following articles and book reviews can be found in the new issue:


The ‘Disobedience’ of Journalists at Public Assemblies: An Analytical Critique of the ECtHR’s Case Law from a Media Freedom Perspective – Chris Wiersma

In a group of cases in which journalists refused dispersal orders at public assemblies, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found that certain governmental actions interfered with freedom of expression. Based on a comparative analysis that provides an analytical critique and new insights in the field of media freedom, this article argues that the application of the ‘strict scrutiny’ perspective could be improved by including a closer look at the risk assessments made by the domestic authorities. The analysis delves into the development of the ECtHR’s case law and highlights the potential problems in guaranteeing protection under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), especially considering the consequences of the approach taken in the Pentikäinen Grand Chamber judgment.

Toxic Spaces, Community Voices, and the Promise of Environmental Human Rights: Lessons on the Owino Uhuru Pollution Incident in Kenya – Rosemary Mwanza

In Kenya, a group of activists and community members have been embroiled in an effort to obtain justice for harm suffered as a result of pollution by a lead-acid smelting plant. In 2016, a class action was filed on behalf of the members of the community. In an August 2020 judgement that has since been appealed by the state, the High Court found in favour of the residents of Owino Uhuru, declaring that the pollution incident violated the right to life, health, water, and a clean and healthy environment. This article shows that despite that outcome, the environmental human rights dimension of the pollution incident is more expansive that the petition and the ensuing judgement suggest. These violations occurred against a backdrop of a near-exhaustive bill of rights. The apparent gap between the promise embodied by environmental human rights and the lived experience of those negatively impacted by the pollution incident provides a focal point to reflect on the potential and limits of environmental human rights in Kenya’s legal context.

Emergency Powers in Response to COVID-19: Policy Diffusion, Democracy, and Preparedness – Magnus Lundgren, Mark Klamberg, Karin Sundström & Julia Dahlqvist

During the COVID-19 pandemic many states have resorted to proclaiming a state of emergency (SOE), expanding executive powers and curtailing civil liberties. Why have some states have declared SOEs when others have not? This legal analysis suggests that although international law provides states with the option of declaring an SOE and derogating from human rights obligations to ensure the life of the nation, other ways to handle the pandemic without declaring an SOE do exist. The empirical analysis combines a range of quantitative data sources to analyse the SOE decisions of 180 states during the first half of 2020. The results suggest that states’ declarations of SOEs are driven by both external and internal factors, centred on the impact of regional diffusion, democratic institutions, and pandemic preparedness

Should You Talk to Nazis? The Political Philosophy of Bruno Latour and the Controversy Surrounding the 2016–2017 Gothenburg Book Fair – Fredrik Portin

Based on the political philosophy of Bruno Latour, this paper contributes to the discussion on human rights and the challenge of right-wing extremism. It argues that Latour’s works proceed from a critique of those actors who want to limit or deny the ability of other actors to present their concerns publicly. His political philosophy therefore raises the question of whether all matters of concern should be given public legitimacy. The issue is discussed in relation to the controversy and subsequent debate surrounding the 2016–2017 Gothenburg Book Fair, when the newspaper Nya Tider, which sympathises with right-wing extremist movements, was granted a permit to exhibit at the fair. The paper concludes that freedom of expression, according to Latour’s reasoning, expresses the limit of public engagement by those actors who currently are not part of the public, while also signifying a prerequisite right in any democratic public.

Book Reviews

Complementarity, Catalysts, Compliance: The International Criminal Court in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo by Christian M De Vos – Bernard Ntahiraja

Child Soldiers and the Defence of Duress under International Criminal Law by Windell Nortje and Noëlle Quénivet – Jastine C Barrett

Debating Targeted Killing: Counter-Terrorism or Extrajudicial Execution? by Tamar Meisels and Jeremy Waldron – Sarah Katharina Stein

When Business Harms Human Rights: Affected Communities that are Dying to Be Heard edited by J Martin, KE Bravo, and T Van Ho – Hannah Gracher

If you are interested in publishing your work in the Nordic Journal of Human Rights, please read the instructions for authors and submit your article, book review or review of legal developments here.

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