Wouter Vandenhole of the Law and Development Research Group has secured the prestigious i-BOF funding for ‘blue sky research’ on future-proofing human rights, as member of a consortium of Flemish universities (Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent and Hasselt).
Human rights are increasingly described as in crisis. One reason for this is that, current accountability mechanisms cannot adequately deal with intricate and multilayered human rights violations that occur in rapidly changing and vastly complex social contexts. Thus, if human rights are to continue to offer a widely accepted framework for thinking about (social) justice, we urgently need to reconstruct the very notion of accountability on which it is pinned, so that better protection is offered. This project revisits the questions of what counts as a human rights violation, who holds human rights duties and how to actually deliver human rights accountability, in the context of pressing and complex challenges. Harnessing the legal, sociological, anthropological and criminological expertise of the consortium's members, it finds resources and strategies for thicker human rights accountability within human rights law, from other domains of law, and beyond the legal realm. The identification of a variety of avenues for achieving better human rights protection will provide the basis for a thicker conceptualization of the notion of (human rights) accountability.