FAU Human Rights Talks Winter Term 2020/21

Symbolic picture for the article. The link opens the image in a large view.

The Human, the Company, the People?

Divergent Concepts of Human Rights Holders in Africa, the Americas and Europe

What are the next Human Rights Talks about?

The Human Rights Talks of winter term 2020/2021 will deal with the divergent concepts of human rights-holders as developed in the case law of the Human Rights Courts and Commissions in Africa, the Americas and Europe.

Participants in the FAU Human Rights Talks SS 2019 with Judge Tim Eicke (Judge for the United Kingdom at the European Court of Human Rights).

The regional human rights systems provide us with very different approaches on who can be entitled to hold human rights and claim their violation.

Already in its title, the African Banjul Charter distinguishes between “Peoples` Rights” and “Human Rights” and points out, thereby, that “the individual” and “the collective” can be human rights holders. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has held on several occasions that the American Convention does not award rights to legal entities. The main reason for this is the wording of the Inter-American Convention which defines “person” as “every human being.” By contrast, in the European system, companies are encompassed by the term “non-governmental organisations” and can apply to the European Court of Human Rights. Thus, the meaning of “everybody”, entitled to enjoy the rights and freedoms of the European Convention is different from the concepts of the American and of the African system.

Video conference with Justice Sylvain Oré (President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights).
  • What are the historical reasons for these very different approaches to the concept of ownership of human rights?
  • What can the systems learn from each other? Is the concept of “peoples’ rights” a good approach in order to better protect collective goods – such as the environment?
  • Is the capacity of companies to hold human rights relevant for their own responsibility to respect human rights – for example in global supply chains?

We will tackle and discuss questions like these in the course of the next Human Rights Talks. In a first step, the participants will conduct research on one specific aspects mostly self-organised in small groups under the supervision of Professor Wiater. The “highlight” of the Human Rights Talk are the dialogues and discussions between the participants and regional human rights experts at the end of the term.


Who can participate in the Human Rights Talks?

Law students (during all phases of their studies, including doctoral students), students of the Human Rights Master, Erasmus-students as well as all students from other disciplines are invited to participate in the FAU Human Rights Talks.

Optional acquisition of certificates (Seminararbeit) or ECTS credit points can be personally discussed with Professor Wiater in advance.



The Talks will be held in 4 full-day Friday sessions during the winter term. If possible, we plan to hold the preparatory workshops in attendance. The discussions with the judges and practitioners from the human rights systems will take place as virtual Zoom conferences at the end of the term. The exact dates will be announced as soon as possible.


Apply now for the next FAU Human Rights Talks!

Are you interested? Apply now by sending an email (including a short CV) to patricia.wiater@fau.de and darius.hashemolhosseini@fau.de.

Apply now!

Further Information

Click here to see the results of past Human Rights Talks.