Human rights overreach?

Date01 June 2022
Published date01 June 2022
DOI10.1177/09240519221099814
Subject MatterIntroduction
Human rights overreach?
Anuscheh Farahat
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, Erlangen, Germany
Ingrid Leijten
Tilburg University, Tilburg, Netherlands
Abstract
Current and future challenges are in need of an effective human rights response. In ensuring this,
the question can be asked whether there is such a thing as human rights overreach, and if so, what
must be done about it. This contribution deals with this question by, f‌irst, outlining various forms
of human rights proliferation. For example, proliferation can take the shape of expanding the scope
of rights or inventing new human rights. It then illuminates several lines of criticism that can be
found in the literature. These concern issues of legalisation and of judicialisation, as well as the
indeterminacy of rights. The articles that together form this Special Issue deal with aspects of pro-
liferation and (potential) overreach from different and original angles. After introducing these, it is
concluded that the overreach question is even more complex than it seems and requires careful
consideration if we want to make human rights more effective and more resilient.
Keywords
Human Rights, proliferation, overreach, legalisation, indeterminacy, judicialisation
1. INTRODUCTION
For over more than a decade now, we have witnessed evidence of what has been called a backlash
against human rights. For example, such a backlash became visible in the heavy discussions in
response to judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or Court) on prisoners
voting rights and crucif‌ixes in classrooms.
1
In the UK, an exitfrom the European Convention
Corresponding author:
Anuscheh Farahat, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, Erlangen, Germany.
Email: anuscheh.farahat@fau.de
1. Hirst v the UK (No. 2) App no 74025/01 (ECtHR (GC), 6 October 2005); Lautsi v Italy App no 30814/06 (ECtHR, 3
November 2009).
Introduction
Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights
2022, Vol. 40(2) 8397
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
sagepub.com/journals-permissions
DOI: 10.1177/09240519221099814
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