Inequality lies at the heart of many human rights violations, and as such cuts across much of HRiP’s work. Some cases focus specifically on highlighting equality and non-discrimination and strengthening legal standards, but more commonly inequality is an integral aspect of cases addressing a broader range of violations. In particular, systemic inequality is closely linked to the prevalence of modern day slavery and trafficking which HRiP seeks to challenge in diverse systems.

 

Identoba And Others v Georgia: LGBTI rights 

A march conducted to celebrate International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia in 2012 ended in attacks against the Lesbian Gay Bi and Transsexual community in Georgia and the unlawful detention of activists. An application was submitted to the ECtHR by a local NGO, Identoba, supported by Human Rights in Practice in conjunction with colleagues from Interights. The court handed down a ground breaking judgement in 2015, finding that the attacks and intimidation amounted to inhumane treatment and discrimination against the LGBTI community.

Challenging inequality has also been the direct focus of third-party interventions submitted previously with colleagues for Interights which helped shape legal standards in a range of areas, including: domestic violence as a form of discrimination (Opuz v Turkey), the parameters for effective investigation of rape (MC v Bulgaria), obligations in respect of human trafficking (Rantsev v Cyprus and Russia) and recognition of discrimination on grounds of HIV status (Kyutin v Russia).

HADIJATOU MANI V NIGER: Slavery

The Hadijatou Mani v Niger case was emblematic of dire circumstances facing thousands of women living as ‘fifth wives’ or domestic slaves in Niger. In a judgement rendered on 27 October 2008, the Economic Community of West African States Court (ECOWAS Court) found the state responsible for slavery in what has been hailed as a historic judgment. Helen Duffy worked alongside Ibrahima Kane (of Interights) and Abdourahman Chaibou, a private lawyer in Niamey, in partnership with Anti-slavery International and local NGO Timidria. Hadijatou Mani is free from slavery, has been compensated and today engages in supporting those still enslaved. Reflections on the impact and limitations of this case on the on-going scourge of slavery in Niger is explored in Strategic Human Rights Litigation: Understanding and Maximising Impact.

Fazenda BraSil Verde v Brazil: Slavery

In a ground-breaking judgement handed down on 15 December 2016, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found the State of Brazil responsible for violations of slavery and trafficking of 85 workers rescued in 2000 from the Brasil Verde Estate, located in the Brazilian state of Pará. While the Inter-American Court had dealt with a few cases falling under Article 6 of the American Convention, this was the first to deal centrally with modern day slavery and trafficking in the continent and presents a significant step forward in the development of regional and international standards. The case was brought by victims with support from the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). The amicus submitted by Human Rights in Practice is available here.