International seminar: the contribution of the constitution to the protection of human rights

The annual international seminar of the IAP Human Rights Integration, entitled "The Contribution of the Constitution to the Protection of Human Rights", will take place on 26 May at Saint-Louis University, Brussels.

What is the contribution of the Constitution to the protection of human rights? Do we (still) need a constitutional bill of rights? How could or should we maximise its added value?

Although fundamental, these questions may prove difficult to address, especially in a context where human rights law is written along the permanent interactions of multiple - supranational, national and subnational - actors and legal systems, gradually sliding from the “pyramid” model towards that of a “network”.

For several years, this topic has been discussed thoroughly in a certain number of countries, notably in Europe. One recurrent stake behind these debates is the ‘modernization’ of the constitutional catalogue of human rights or, more specifically, its transformation into an ‘interface’ or a ‘synthesis’ integrating and organising the contributions of different human rights protection systems.

Besides a general overview of these issues, this international seminar will more particularly analyse their origins, their progress and their outcomes in four countries, namely Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium. Finally, a general exploration of the relations between modernization of constitutional bills of rights and deliberative democracy will be proposed from a political science point of view.

A detailed overview of the programme below.

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