Milieudefensie and Others v the State: Will the Dutch State Be Ordered to Reduce Air Pollution?

By Mirjam Beeftink, University of Groningen, m.l.beeftink(at)student.rug.nl

At the time of writing there is a remarkable case pending in the Netherlands concerning the effects of air pollution on the health of the population. Two foundations and 57 individual plaintiffs have launched a case against the Dutch State in which they ask the court to order the State to reduce air pollution below the European maxima to the norms set in the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on air quality. If the case is successful, this will have significant consequences for the government as it will be ordered to protect the health of its citizens in a more effective manner by improving air quality. What are the chances of the plaintiffs succeeding in winning the case?

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The Right to Health: A Human Rights Perspective with a Case Study on Greece

By Elisavet Athanasia Alexiadou, Universiteit Leiden, e.alexiadou@umail.leidenuniv.nl, ea.alexiadou@gmail.com

The PhD research examines the national implementation of the right to health with a particular focus on Greece. For this reason, the research builds upon two interconnected parts, Part I and Part II. Part I seeks to identify the primary standards deriving from the right to health on the basis of human rights law by employing evidence from various sources: The UN, Council of Europe and human rights doctrine. Part II is a case study examining the Greek context relating to the right to health whilst considering the particular challenges within Greece such as, economic austerity. Continue reading

The Hague Court Ruling of 14-09-2016: ‘Article 8(2) of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control does not imply a ‘Total Smoking Ban’’

By Gohar Karapetian, University of Groningen, g.karapetian@rug.nl

On 14 September 2016, the Court in The Hague ruled that the possibility to smoke in designated smoking areas in publicly accessible places is in line with Article 8(2) of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (hereafter: FCTC). This provision states that State Parties to the FCTC shall adopt, as determined by national law, and actively promote ‘measures, providing for protection from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport, indoor public places and, as appropriate, other public places’. According to the Court, Article 8(2) of the FCTC lacks ‘direct effect’ in the Dutch legal order in the sense of Article 94 of the Dutch Constitution. This, contrary to the ruling of the Dutch Supreme Court (Hoge Raad) on 14 October 2014, where Article 8(2) FCTC was declared to have ‘direct effect’.

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New Publication: Report on the Health Care for Asylum-seeking Children in the Netherlands (in Dutch)

By Veronika Flegar, University of Groningen, v.l.b.flegar(at)rug.nl

The report titled “Quickscan Gezondheidszorg asielzoekerskinderen in Nederland” was commissioned and published by the UNICEF-led Working Group on Children in Asylum Seeker Centres (Werkgroep Kind in azc). The central question of this research is how the access to and quality of health care and youth care for asylum-seeking children is organized and functions in the Netherlands. The report is based on desk research and qualitative semi-structured interviews with persons involved in the provision of health care to asylum-seeking children at the policy and practical level. The report highlights central aspects of the legal framework, the responsibilities of different organizations and the financing of health care, relevant supervision and monitoring mechanisms as well as the implementation of health policies and the collaboration of health care providers and other organizations concerned with asylum-seeking children in the Netherlands. The research points to the crucial importance of timely information provision, clear standards and a systematic process of transferal and relocation as well as to the role of schools in the prevention of health issues, to the necessity of preventive health care for the mental health of asylum-seeking children and to the importance of a constructive relationship between the parents of asylum-seeking children and health care providers. It ends with recommendations for improving the current situation and questions for future research on this issue.

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Extension of Smoke-Free Laws to Restaurants and Bars Leads to Less Babies Being Born with Low Birth Weight, Dutch Study Suggests

By Brigit Toebes, University of Groningen, b.c.a.toebes(at)rug.nl

An investigation into the effects of tobacco control laws by a group of medical researchers sends an important message to law and policy makers. The study reveals that tighter tobacco control laws and policies, especially those introducing an extension of the smoke-free law to the hospitality industry, in combination with a tax increase and a public campaign, leads to less babies being born with low birth weight. Continue reading

Upcoming GHLG event: Doorwerking sociaal-economische mensenrechten

Op 28 april 2016 zal Gerrit-Jan Pulles, advocaat bij Van der Woude de Graaf een lezing houden over de doorwerking van sociaal-economische mensenrechten in de nationale rechtspraktijk.

Wanneer? 28 april 2016 om 16 uur

Waar? Zaal A8 in het Academiegebouw (Broerstraat 5) van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

The event will be held in Dutch.

Klik hier voor meer informatie

Towards Individualized Vulnerability in Migration Policies

By Veronika Flegar, University of Groningen, v.l.b.flegar(at)rug.nl

The Dutch parliament recently pledged for separate reception centres for vulnerable asylum seekers. In a reaction, the Dutch State Secretary of Security and Justice Klaas Dijkhoff objected to this claim, arguing that placing “vulnerable groups” into separate reception centres is stigmatizing. Instead, he calls for a tailored approach. He certainly has a point, but one should be aware of the fact that talking about “vulnerable groups” in itself already has a stigmatizing effect – even without physically placing them into separate centres. In his statement, Dijkhoff varies between referring to “vulnerable individuals” and “vulnerable groups” which reveals insufficient awareness about the difference between these approaches. I would therefore like to draw attention to the need for a more nuanced approach towards vulnerability. There should be more emphasis on an individual assessment of the needs of persons who might be particularly susceptible to harm.

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