Excursion to Strasbourg – FAU Human Rights Talks

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Participants in front of the Council of Europe

The participants in the FAU Human Rights Talks of winter term 2021/22 recently visited Strasbourg and some of its institutions together with Professor Wiater. The trip is summarized by one of the participants, Vincent Schreyer:

The participants of the Human Rights Talks of winter semester 2021/22 undertook a trip to Strasbourg from Monday, October 10, 2022 to Wednesday, October 12, 2022 under the direction of Professor Wiater.

We arrived at the European Court of Human Rights on Monday where we met with judge Lado Chanturia of the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Georgia to listen to his presentation on the European Court of Human Rights. Later on, we had the chance to ask about his impressive career, but also to discuss the functioning of the Court and current issues and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. During a subsequent presentation by registry lawyer Thomas Straub at the ECtHR, we had the opportunity to learn more about the internal process at the European Court of Human Rights, how the Court protects people and what admissibility requirements exist for accepting a complaint as well as the different legal systems and problems within Europe. We exchanged views on the position of the European Court of Human Rights in Europe in a discussion and Q&A-session and further analyzed geographical differences.

On Tuesday morning we took the chance to explore the city of Strasbourg and some participated in a boat trip on the Ill river to learn more about the impressive city that has played an important role in Europe for centuries.  The group then made their way to the European Parliament building to learn about the history of Europe after World War II and the development of the European Union through the informative exhibitions.

We were then given a guided tour of the Council of Europe and were able to find out about its history and successes.  Many of the conventions adopted have a great influence on the population in the respective states that ratified them.  In a presentation by Daniele Cangemi, head of the Department for Human Rights, Justice and Legal Co-operation Standard-setting activities, he presented for us how the monitoring of states that have committed themselves to protecting human rights works and which procedure is followed in such a process. The Human Rights Talks group then had the opportunity to ask questions.  Above all, the questions of enforcement of and compliance with the conventions were discussed intensively.

To experience first-hand how the Council of Europe works, we attended a session of the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) from the stands and listened to presentations on the subject of Islamophobia by representatives of various parliaments of European countries. This also prompted lively discussions among the participants in the Human Rights Talks afterwards.

On Wednesday, the last day of the trip, the days prior and the Human Rights Talks in winter semester 2021/2022 were reflected on in a joint meeting in the hotel.

All in all, this trip was exciting and instructive for all participants. Seeing how human rights are protected at the European level, whether preventative or through a judicial process, whether at a political or legal level, was a deeply impressive experience.