What is hate speech under international human rights law? And how do key international adjudicators interpret the law governing it? This Article seeks to illuminate two countervailing and under-reported trends: on the one hand, a growing consensus among U.N. experts and treaty bodies concerning interpretations of “hate speech” prohibitions in international law; and on the other, a failure of several regional human rights bodies to develop approaches to hate speech that are consistent with the U.N.’s universal standards. The Article begins by analyzing the U.N.’s approach to freedom of expression and hate speech and examining how, in the last decade, various U.N. expert bodies have converged on an agreed approach to the subject. The Article next compares this global standard with key developments in the Inter-American, European, and African human rights systems and the emerging frameworks in Arab, Islamic, and Southeast Asian contexts. This comparative analysis reveals that, while certain systems converge with the U.N.’s approach, others diverge, sometimes marginally, sometimes significantly. For example, the European Court of Human Rights frequently lessens or removes the burden on governments to show hate speech restrictions are properly imposed, allows for the imposition of hate speech restrictions for reasons not accepted at the global level, and does not assess whether restrictions on speech are the least intrusive means to achieving legitimate public interest objectives. After analyzing this landscape of regional norms in convergence and conflict with U.N. standards, the Article provides several observations. The Article concludes by urging human rights defenders throughout the world to be cognizant of the areas in which regional human rights bodies provide fewer protections than U.N. standards require, and to tackle this trend through proposed strategies to protect universal minimum standards for freedom of expression.
This article focuses on the intersection between gender and land rights as they relate to climate change in Nigeria. Decisions about land use, such as biodiversity management and farming techniques, impact the quality of the land and peoples’ ability to live off it. This article will show that women are better situated to utilize techniques which sustain the land. Despite this, women have historically been denied land rights in Nigeria, creating a disconnect between the women who cultivate the land and the men who own it and leading to unsustainable use of agricultural land in Nigeria. Climate change is only accelerating this trend. This article argues that legally recognizing and enforcing the land rights of rural women in customary tenure systems in Nigeria has the potential to mitigate the most drastic effects of climate change in the region, while also improving living conditions.
This Article discusses the case Doe 4 ex rel. Lopez v. Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center Commission. This case was a class action brought by unaccompanied immigrant children against the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center Commission under § 1983 protection for adequate medical care. The plaintiff class alleged that, among other things, the Commission failed to (i) provide adequate mental health care due to punitive practices; and (ii) implement trauma-informed care. The plaintiffs were immigrant children who fled their native countries due to harrowing circumstances, many of whom struggled with severe mental illness. The district court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment regarding the mental health care claim, which the plaintiffs appealed. On appeal, the Fourth Circuit considered which standard should be applied to analyzing a claim regarding the detention center’s level of mental health care. This Article explores the approach and impact of Doe 4, as a case of first impression for the Fourth Circuit and effectively for all circuits with regard to this class of immigrant children. Specifically, this Article discusses whether the majority opinion followed precedent or broke away from it in a way that properly embodies federal law and Constitutional guarantees. This Article also discusses the role of international law in United States courts, particularly related to protections for migrants and children. The Article ultimately concludes that the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Doe 4 was correct and explains why and how it should be further adopted and adapted by other federal courts, to promote an end to the professional indifference that the United States judicial system has normalized with regard to care for juveniles in detention centers.