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Abdollah Baei Lashaki
The Impact of NGO's on European Union's Human Rights Foreign Policy.
The emergence of the new actors in human rights not only raises a lot of questions regarding human rights, but also how they affect the decision-making process of governments. Indeed, this is slightly more complicated about the role that NGOs play in the process of EU decision-making in different areas. There is not much information about how NGOs’ lobbying in the EU decision-making process, but the ability of these organizations to influence EU foreign policy has attracted many researchers. The European Union is founded on such principles as liberty, democracy, respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. Respect for human rights and democratic values have entered all Europe’s activities, to an extent that this practice has become inevitable in both domestic and foreign policy. It can be said that human rights constitute the fundamental foundation of EU foreign policy. This research attempts to clarify the condition for respect for human rights and to examine how this condition is fulfilled in the Union’s foreign ties. In this regard, the research is divided into two parts: the first section explicates the condition of respect for human rights in the structure of the Union’s foreign ties and will examine the significance of this condition in signing foreign contracts, cooperation and development policy, and membership contract in the Union. The second section examines the performance of this condition in the Union’s foreign ties, and indeed, the influence of non-governmental organizations on the implementation of this condition. This section emphasizes that the non-governmental organizations of this union, on the one hand, are attempting for the inclusion of the condition of respect for human rights in its foreign ties. On the other hand, they are trying to encourage the Union to create the necessary grounds for increasing the level of democracy and human rights in the countries of the treaty by means of incentive and punitive measures.
Microfinance and women empowerment.
Poverty is a major obstacle to achieve equality and sustainable development in many developing countries. The situation of poverty in rural region is worse than urban area; one of the primary reasons is the limited access to conventional bank service. Through decades of practical experience, it has been proven that microfinance generated a significant impact on poverty alleviation, a large part of the poor population benefited from the participation in microfinance programs. Microfinance institutions have showed their advantages to reach the poorest in the third world countries that formal banks cannot reach. Women in rural region are the poorest among the poor due to some constraints within patriarchy societies, which are dominant among the poor regions. Both positive and negative effects on women have been found from the projects that have been implemented by microfinance service providers. Particularly, the Grameen model has manifested its successful financial performance and outreaches in women-targeted programs, which has empowered women in different aspects, including increasing women’s decision-making power in the household and the control of household assets, the reduction of violence against women and so forth. Scholars share a point of view that women are high payment lenders who could work better with members in the lending group, their income generated from microfinance improving the well-being of their family, such as children’s nutrition and education (especially for girls), financial sustainability of the household. Hence empowering women is a worth investment to achieve gender equality and social sustainable development. The main aims of this research are to answer the following questions: how women empowerment through microfinance programs will help to achieve gender equality from the economic perspective? How to improve microfinance institution’s financial sustainability and outreaches in women-targeted programs? What kind of strategy that microfinance institutions could adopt to meet women’s specific needs, and avoid negative impacts on women at the same time? How will the women-targeted microfinance programs contribute to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 5 (SDG 2030 Agenda)? A comparative case study in China will be involved in this research.
Towards constitutionalisation of international law? Re-thinking electoral rights.
Constitutionalism has been often defined as a law-based order the main features of which are the constraining of governments and an adequate protection of human rights (Whittington et al 2008). Crisis of constitutionalism in liberal democracies has, regrettably, become a popular academic topic (Landau 2017; Pernice 2015; Tushnet 2017). This crisis manifests itself inter alia in weaker protection of human rights afforded by national constitutional systems. Most of the international institutions, for example, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), play a subsidiary role in human rights protection that gives the states a margin of appreciation (Carozza 2003).
My proposed research will explore the reverse relationship between human rights and constitutionalism. Could the mechanisms used in international human rights law be extended to safeguard constitutionalism? At both levels, global and regional, human rights systems are so far being reluctant to apply the full pallet of their tools to national regimes.
Human rights and electoral rights in particular provide important links connecting constitutional and international orders. In my research I will explore whether these links could serve as conduits to: firstly, incorporate structural provisions (and by structural provisions I mean provisions that refer to the basic structure of government) into human rights language and, secondly, to expanding the reach of human rights.
Immigration Health Care Policies in Italy and the United States: Effects on the Health and Wellbeing of Irregular Migrants .
Immigration is a complex reoccurring phenomenon that touches on many spheres of the life of any nation. In both Italy and the United States, immigration reform, especially regarding how to manage unauthorized immigrants remains a critical and highly controversial debate that touches upon economic, security, and humanitarian concerns. Though immigration reform mostly focuses on controlling the influx of unlawful immigration in each host country; it additionally regulates immigrants’ access to healthcare. Within the last few years, each country has drastically changed their viewpoint and perception on immigration, focusing more on immigration enforcement, deportation. and border security. In return, these anti-immigration laws have now spread to health care. The purpose of my research project is: (1) to compare the current immigration health care laws and regulations being implemented in the United States and Italy, (2) depict the negative implications these policies have on irregular migrants health, and (3) to promote and highlight basic human rights all immigrants should be entitled to, regardless of their status. This will be accomplished by interviewing those who are personally, socially, and physically affected by the broken immigration health care systems: immigrants whose voices continue to remain unseen and each country’s healthcare providers who try to help them. My study will focus on two immigration populations; (1) immigrants from Central and South America traveling to the United States, and (2) immigrants from Africa traveling to Italy.
Unrecognized de-facto regimes as a challenge to the inherent universality of human rights - comparative analysis of European “frozen conflicts”.
The research project is dedicated to the complex problem of so-called “frozen conflicts” in Europe with particular emphasis on the conflict situations in Georgia and Cyprus. The proposal draws certain frames of the problem, concentrates on human rights challenges in the isolated, non-recognized regimes and organizes the research under a multi-level governance concept, as an analytical framework.
The research will demonstrate a critical analysis of available human rights protection mechanisms and standards, deficiencies of the international political and legal framework, as well as their positive developments. The key problem is related to the fact of non-recognition of these regimes by international society, which creates a vacuum-like area where protection mechanisms are less available, where international organizations are reluctant to engage and the existing isolation deepens the problems related to the human rights. Ultimately, the research project considers the problem of human rights protection in the “frozen conflict” situations as one of the key challenges for the human rights system and highlights the lack of theoretical analysis as well as practical responses to this problem. The project intends to conduct a comparative analysis of this issue in the two chosen situations, to study international/regional human rights mechanisms and the difference of their implications for these contexts. The comparative analysis of these two situations is further interesting under the context of EU in order to answer questions how Cyprus integration in EU has affected to the protection of human rights in case non-recognized northern Cyprus and what lessons might be learned for Georgian conflicts. The research aims to present multi-disciplinary analysis, in particular, the interdependence between political and legal arenas that influence the human rights situation in the conflict areas.
This research project is undertaken on the hypothesis that if the engagement of international stakeholders like UN and EU increases in relation to frozen conflict situations, it may positively affect human rights situation in the region - refill the vacuum in protection and provide an effective remedy.
Women and Leadership in Peace and Security Processes: A Comparative Approach between Sweden, Denmark and Italy in the framework of the WPS Agenda.
Despite the adoption of the Resolution 1325 in 2000, which introduces the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS), based on the four pillars of prevention, participation, protection and peacebuilding and recovery, and is the first normative document to explicitly recognize the importance of a gender perspective in peace operations; after almost two decades since its introduction the majority of peace agreements still fail to mention women.
Considering that the Nordic countries have a strong involvement in international peacekeeping and crises management and, simultaneously, in gender equality efforts; the aim of this research is to investigate to what extent the WPS Agenda is implemented in the Swedish and Danish armed forces in order to understand how a prospective commitment to the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and subsequent resolutions influences women’s leadership in peace and security processes.
While, gender and equality issues are heavily present on the national political agenda and there have been different efforts to try to implement the policies in many societal sectors, this research will look at the specific policies adopted by the national militaries to understand if they can be considered as cosmopolitan militaries in the view of the post-national defence and the focus on human security, to what extent they are committed to the human right to peace and specifically engaged in protecting women’s human rights.
Although apparently quite distant from the aforementioned case-studies (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ official statement that Sweden is pursuing a feminist foreign policy is a clear example), the Italian context will be analysed in comparison with these Nordic countries. The findings can appear to be quite unforeseen.
The Environmental Governance in China.
The research aims to explore the significant practices of environmental protection and improve the environmental rule of law in China by elaborating the status quo for environmental governance within China. Environmental rule of law offers a framework for addressing the gap between environmental laws on the books and in practice and is the key to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. In the first global report on Environmental Rule of Law published in January 2019, it was stated that implementation and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations falls far short of what is required to address environmental challenges. Laws sometimes lack clear standards and necessary mandates though a rapid proliferation of environmental instruments has been witnessed, as a consequence there is still a long way to go to make the right to environment substantially de facto. Accordingly, a well-defined environmental governance needs to be put forward to solve the present problems.
In the last few years, the right to environment, which can be defined as the right of individuals to live in a healthy and sustainable environment and use environmental resources suitably, aiming at the pursuit of free, equal and adequate living conditions for all human beings and the achievement of a dignified and decent life, has been occupying the foreground of human rights spectrum remarkably. Numerous scholars and advocates, by demonstrating the importance of the right and describing the significant steps states have taken, are making considerable efforts to call on the UN to recognize the right to environment. Therefore, a right-based approach is of great importance to protect the environment which also embodies the respect for human rights. The right to environment-based approach and environmental rule of law are the main ideas of the environmental governance in my research.
Through the analysis between countries protecting environment as a constitutional right and differently as a statutory right or state’s obligation, we can have a general idea about the legislative status of environmental protection in the world. Furthermore, in comparison with international conventions, the environmental legislation in China will be depicted. Under the guideline, a series of practices related to the right to environment, such as the environmental public interest litigation and the ecological environmental damage compensation system, have been implementing by Chinese government. What requires to be verified and will be discussed in the research is how to set good environmental governance, from the multi-level governance perspective, the right-based(the right to environment) approach, or a more pragmatic way?