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Tine Destrooper receives prestigious grant for project on human rights accountability

This year, for the first time, the Flemish universities joined forces to select around twenty inter-university and inter-disciplinary research projects funded through BOF. A research project on human rights accountability in which two professors of the Human Rights Centre take up a leading role, was awarded one of these grants.

Tine Destrooper and Marie-Bénédicte Dembour will collaborate with colleagues from Antwerp University (Wouter Vandenhole), Hasselt University (Stijn Smet) and the Free University Brussels (Paul de Hert and Rosamunde van Brakel).

Their research project human rights accountability is entitled ‘Future-proofing human rights. Developing thicker forms of accountability’. It will seek to identify a variety of avenues for achieving better human rights protection. These avenues can provide the basis for a thicker conceptualization of (human rights) accountability.

“In spite of a relatively robust legal framework there is a continued reality of human rights violations and rather low degrees of accountability”, says Destrooper. She adds that the aim of the project is to strengthen human rights law by identifying means or mechanisms that ensure a thicker form of accountability.

Dembour adds, “Our hope is that truly and deeply reflecting about what thicker forms of accountability for human rights violations entail will help deliver better human rights protection, in line with the everyday experience of rights holders”

The project is based on concrete cases, such as COVID-19, corporate abuse and surveillance dilemmas. It will use these cases to examine the disconnect between the formal legal system and the lived experiences of those who suffer harms. These harms often appear to be a human rights violation from a logical conceptual perspective, but are often not yet fully recognised as such. Autumn 2021.

Read more about the project in this document.