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Cooperative lecture held in Human Rights Week (HRW) at FHWS

Decorative picture of a human rights week

Human Rights Week – Joined session of FHWS and VID, December 10th, 2021

In the context of the Human Rights Week (HRW) at FHWS a cooperative lecture with the 3IN-partner university VID in Norway took place on December 10th, 2021 – which is also the international day of Human Rights! Under the headline of “The protection of fundamental rights in the European Union – current challenges and developments” over 150 people were gathered in the webinar. The participants were able to listen to three very interesting and insightful lectures by lecturers of FHWS and VID Specialized University.

Find out more about the 3IN project at FHWS.

“The rights to social protection of EU migrants who are victims of work exploitation in Norway” – Mateus Schweyher (VID)

The research of Mateus Schweyher, a PhD research fellow at VID University in Norway, dealt with social protection of EU migrants from a sociological perspective on the welfare state. It started off with the question why there are so many homeless labour migrants in Oslo. He did his research by visiting different night shelters and soup kitchens in Oslo as well as advice centres where he conducted interviews with migrants and NGO workers. His focus was on work migrants from Poland as he also speaks Polish and many of the migrants in need of welfare support speak neither Norwegian nor English. On the example of a Polish homeless, Schweyher illustrated the difficulty of the welfare state as the individual’s right to support is strongly connected to the state itself. The existing system might push people into exploitative employments and has an effect on the functioning justice system as those who are affected most likely do not have the financial resources to take their employer to court and fight for their rights. In this sense, a welfare support system that is needs-based results in consequences not just for individuals, but also for the wider society.

Pushbacks at the EU external borders – Tim Schilderoth (FHWS)

Tim Schilderoth introduced a very recent issue to the audience as he talked about pushbacks on the EU external border of Poland and Belarus where thousands of migrants tried to survive on the Belarusian side of the border, hoping to enter the EU through Poland. From a Human Rights perspective, the question why people cannot cross the border to seek asylum remains unanswered. Tim Schilderoth explained to the audience how this is a violation of Human Rights. For Poland Covid-19 served as an excuse to close its borders, but in doing so, it violates several articles of the ECHR. Generally, individual circumstances need to be examined by national authorities before people can be sent back to third countries. Pushbacks are not just a problem that happened recently, but they are a structural problem that has been existing in the Mediterranean Sea for years.

“Hate speech and discrimination of the Sámi in Norway: Legal responses and responsibility” – Carola Lingaas (VID)

Carola Lingaas of VID gave the third input of the session. Her presentation was based on an article she published in the Oslo Law Review. In her presentation she outlined legal responses of the Norwegian legal system to racial discrimination of the Sámi population. Drawing on the historical evolution of racial discrimination through social Darwinism and the missing acknowledgement of the Sámi as an indigenous population, she illustrated the creation of many stereotypes and biases. This racialized view of the Sámi can still be found in the Norwegian society today. According to the jurisprudence of the ECHR, Carola Lingaas mentioned, discrimination that is based on biases is a violation of the right to protection from discrimination. In the end, she concluded that next to the need for hate speech to be reported as hate crime (in context with a recent example of a legal process because of a racist comment on Facebook againt the Sámi), there also needs to be more training in law enforcement and other national authorities dealing with these issues. Additionally, there is a need for stronger awareness that hate speech is in fact illegal and more general education within society about this topic.

About the Author

Franziska Jaster is a student at FHWS.