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Intriguing open access contributions of Univ.-Prof. i.r. Wolfgang Benedek

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Religious Fundamentalism, the Moscow Mechanism and the Responsibility of Belarus as well as the Council of Europe in the context of the "Greek Case".

Univ.-Prof. i.r. Wolfgang Benedek publishes three open access articles on

  1. religious fundamentalism from a human rights perspective
  2. the Moscow Mechanism and Belarus' responsibility for grave human rights violations
  3. the Effectiveness of the Tools of the Council of Europe Against Democratic Backsliding

1. A human rights perspective on religious fundamentalism

Wolfgang Benedek, 'A human rights perspective on religious fundamentalism' (2021) 4(1) LIMINA Grazer theologische Perspektiven 41-65 <DOI: 10.25364/17.4:2021.1.3> (open access)

Religious fundamentalism and human rights have always been locked in tension. This article investigates the complex relationship in three steps: First, the term fundamentalism and its different manifestations will be discussed from the position of international law and international relationships. Then follows an analysis of the threat religious fundamentalism poses for human rights and in particular for freedom of religion. Finally, light will be shed on the role human rights play in the face of fundamentalism. On the one hand, fundamentalism threatens human rights, but on the other hand, human rights need to be upheld in the response to fundamentalism. Taking ‘political Islam’ as an example, this article examines the problematic consequences of widening the scope of what is understood as fundamentalism and how this affects the social inclusion of Muslims. The findings of this research also show that any measures to counter fundamentalism have to be aligned with human rights, otherwise they risk reinforcing fundamentalist ideas instead. Read the open access contribution on the official LIMINA Homepage!


2. Moscow Mechanism: Establishing Accountability for Grave Human Rights Violations in Belarus

Wolfgang Benedek, 'Establishing Accountability for Grave Human Rights Violations in Belarus: Case Study on the OSCE Moscow Mechanism' (The Defence Horizon Journal Special Edition, May 2021, No.2) open access. 

The Moscow Mechanism of the human dimension allows for producing a fact-finding report with recommendations on serious human rights and/or democracy problems in one of the OSCE participating states, within a relatively short period. Such problems usually also affect a wider concept of security. This case study of the most recent use of the Moscow meachnism for the alleged election fraud and the very serious human rights violations in Belarus in 2020 first introduces the rules governing the use of this mechanism and then informs about its findings, recommendations and the follow-up to the report. It shows that although the mechanism faces difficulties, due to the short period of implementation and the possible lack of cooperation of the country under investigation, it still is capable of producing a substantive result and serves in a catalytic role for the efforts of interested actors. Read the open access contribution on the official website of the The Defence Horizon Journal!


3. The Effectiveness of the Tools of the Council of Europe against Democratic Backsliding

Wolfgang Benedek, 'The Effectiveness of the Tools of the Council of Europe Against Democratic Backsliding: What Lessons Can be Learned from the “Greek Case”?' (2021) 7(1) Austrian Law Journal 1-21 <https://unipub.uni-graz.at/alj/periodical/titleinfo/5679728> (open access). 

The “Greek Case” which led to the de facto suspension of Greece in 1969 was a very particular part of the history of the Council of Europe in the protection of human rights and democracy. This contribution, based on a keynote given at a pertinent conference in Athens, will ask whether the spirit and political will to confront major human rights violations existing at that time can still be found in the Council of Europe of today. It will investigate the impact on the work of the Council of Europe at the time and draw some conclusions on lessons learned for today. In this context it will highlight the role of personalities acting on behalf of the Council of Europe at the time. It will also analyse the impact of its enlarged membership on the upholding of its values today. The institutions and tools at the disposal of the Council of Europe as the democratic conscience of Europe against democratic backsliding then and today will be compared with a view to the question of their effectiveness. In this context the examples of the Russian Federation and of Turkey regarding the challenges from anti-liberal forces and authoritarianism for democracy and human rights will be addressed as will be the use of the state of emergency. Which factors influence the “socialization” of member states to become guardians of common European values? Is the Council of Europe able to meet its accountability towards the citizens of Europe? This will lead to some conclusions on the legacy of the “Greek Case” for a proper response to the challenges of democratic backsliding and a shrinking space for human rights and the rule of law in the Council of Europe today as well as some recommendations for the future. Read the open access article on the official Austrian Law Journal homepage!

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