No.2 | 2021 | See the journal here


Tomas Zdechovsky, Marica Pirosikova, Jitka Fialová

Norway and the Right to Respect Family Life from the Perspective of the European Court of Human Rights

Norway regularly ranks very high in reports for best countries to raise children and it is considered by many as a leader in the field of human rights. The country is not only a donor of various EEA grants for projects for children at risk, but also a direct partner for sharing good practices. On the other hand, there is strong international criticism for the actions of its Child welfare service called Barnevernet. It is blamed for taking children away from families for controversial reasons and not arranging sufficient measures to enable reunification of families as parents benefit from few visitation rights (2 times for 2 hours per year under supervision, or less). There are also complaints about forced adoption of the children to foster parents. The supreme authority that decides whether this is a human rights violation or not is the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The paper therefore analyses the ECHR decisions connected to Norway, especially cases connected to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – right to respect for private and family life – and offers a quality and quantity analysis of it. Methods: Analysis of 119 ECHR cases and judgements within the HUDOC database and other relevant statistics and documents. 

Keywords: Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights, Barnevernet, Norway, human rights, ECHR, key case Strand Lobben vs. Norway

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Beatrice Măguran, Mona Vintilă

Family Life and Mental Health Quality in the Context of the Pandemic in a Society with Rights Governed by Law

This article aims to highlight issues related to the quality of family life and mental health status in the context of the pandemic, emphasising the importance of a society with rights regulated by law. Thus, it presents the challenges and stress that families have experienced, which could trigger common mental disorders, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder leading to dangers that go beyond the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also been found that children who are forced to stay indoors end up spending much more time using digital devices and may be prone to cyberbullying, which has a negative impact on their emotional and physical state. Movement restrictions, quarantine, and compulsory isolation had a profound impact as families were deprived of the freedom to participate in public gatherings, holidays, rallies, etc. It was found that in some cases parents were separated from their children in order not to thwart the fight against diseases which also had a negative impact in terms of balanced psychological development of the family. All these issues are regulated by law to avoid thwarting the fight against diseases.

Keywords: pandemic, life quality, cyberbullying, mental health, law, human rights

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Vișinel Bălan, Ioana Boldiș

Aspects on Access to Housing for Young People Leaving the Protection System

The perception of young people in the protection system on the transition to adulthood is marked by a strong concern for achieving educational and professional goals, as well as finding a house and starting a family. These four main categories of goals have been reported by young people in the protection system included in a recent study (Boldiș, 2020). The study shows that education and profession seem to represent alternatives, as well as interconnected elements in some cases, while it also suggests that there is a causal link between profession/job, housing and starting a family. Young people in the protection system believe that the possibility of buying or renting a house and starting a family is conditioned by having a stable job. Otherwise, several life goals are pursued alternatively or in parallel, while others are conditioned of achieving prior goals; for example, starting a family is partially tied to access to long-term housing. A brief analysis of the data shows a gap between legal provisions, opportunities created by the Romanian legislator for young people leaving the care system and existing initiatives at the county level. Although legal provisions to facilitate access to housing for youth living in care exist, they rarely benefit from them. These data highlight the need for coordination and connection between providers of services for youth leaving the protection system. More precisely, a coordinated systemic answer is needed to increase the effectiveness of the services offered in the aftercare period.

Keywords: social housing, Law no. 166/2002, deinstitutionalisation, abandonment, social exclusion

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Daniela Albu

Perception on the Roma Minority in the Romanian Society. From Serfdom to Emancipation

Although 165 years have passed since the Roma community was liberated by law, prejudices and hostility towards it have not been fully eradicated, perhaps precisely because throughout history stereotypes and negative perceptions of the Roma have remained deeply rooted in the collective consciousness, being transmitted from one generation to another in Romanian society. The racial concept of “gypsy delinquency and crime” that has emerged and circulated since the time of slavery continues to be perpetuated as the main justification for anti-Roma racism, although the Roma ethnic group has lived with the majority population for centuries, its members considering themselves both Roma and Romanians who fought in the two wars for the defence of the country. Discourses on tolerance and acceptance risk to fall into the trap of positive discrimination because the collective mind is in fact the one that must understand and respect the values of the cohabiting minorities. Much remains to be done for the integration of Roma at the legislative level, as well as at the level of perceptions, mentalities and thinking patterns of a society, which cannot evolve without tolerance and acceptance of ethnic and cultural diversity.

Keywords: slavery, manumission, Roma ethnicity, minorities’ rights, diversity, traditions, discrimination, stereotypes, policies, strategies, international recommendations

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Maria-Beatrice Berna

Case of Ignat vs. Romania: some observations and interpretations on the content of fair trial

The case clarifies a complex legal issue regarding the possibility of identifying the elements of a fair hearing in accordance with the requirements of Article 6, paragraph 1 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in light of the contrary decisions advanced by the court of first instance and by the court of last instance in regard to the guilt of the plaintiff, in this respect being instrumented a different approach to the assessment of the evidence. In essence, the assessment of the implementation of fair trial standards consists in reporting the construction of the legal arguments of the court of first instance, respectively the legal arguments put forward by the appellate court to the legal and jurisprudential requirements of the right to a fair trial. It is also necessary to have an integrated view of the two legal arguments (put forward by the first instance and by the appellate court) in order to observe the extent to which the correlation between the two determines compliance with Article 6, paragraph 1 of the Convention.

Keywords: right to a fair trial, criminal limb, assessment of evidence, fair hearing, hearing of witnesses

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Andreea Moroianu

COVID-19 and Human Rights – Morten Kjaerum, Martha F. Davis and Amanda Lyons, eds., (Routledge, 2021)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had and still has an impact on our lives. In this context, the volume edited by Morten Kjaerum, Martha F. Davis and Amanda Lyons provides a perspective on how to secure human rights during pandemics. The socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 are closely linked to marginalisation, discrimination, democracy and inclusion. Each one of the 23 authors who contributed to this book provides different insights on the effects of the current pandemic on different human rights. Considering the vast array of issues tackled by this volume, one can understand how pre-existing conditions have a direct effect on the way the pandemic unfolded in various countries and how various sectors have been affected, from the perspective of measures adopted by governments and human rights violations. The volume is written during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemics, however, it provides lessons that can help one understand the importance of applying a human rights-based approach in the recovery plans. In the foreword, Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, highlights the importance of human rights in times of crisis and the idea of international support and partnerships to overcome times like these and to build back better.

Keywords: COVID-19, marginalisation, democracy, human rights based approach, recovery plans, 2030 Agenda

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Daniela Albu

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021 (UN, 2021)

The 2021 UN Sustainable Development Goals Report examines the serious consequences that the COVID-19 pandemic has had and continues to have on the process of UN Member States' meeting the sustainable development goals. There has been a major global health crisis with negative effects on life and livelihoods. As shown by the Report, progress has been halted for decades. According to UNDESA authors and experts who contributed to the Report, this crisis shows how interconnected the areas of sustainable development are on a global scale: health, economic and social prosperity, the healthy environment, ecosystems and life on the planet. One of the major conclusions of the Report states that there is a need to strengthen global partnerships for sustainable development that address the health crisis, without neglecting climate action and contribute to the development of viable reconstruction measures and policies.

Keywords: Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 Agenda, Health Crisis, Climate Crisis, Post-Pandemic Reconstruction, Poverty Eradication, Reducing Inequality, Global Partnerships

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