When it comes to fundamental rights and the protection they offer, there are quite some misunderstandings. It is the aim of the Dutch podcast Ons goed recht. Grondrechten hier en nu to provide accessible information about the content and role of fundamental rights, as well as to improve the image of these rights.
A podcast forms a low-key way to disseminate research findings and enable discussion on societally relevant topics. ‘Fundamental rights’ is such a topic. Including both consitutional and human rights, this category of rights is placed on a pedestal. Fundamental rights protect crucially important individual interests such as the right to freedom of expression or religion, the protection of property or bodily integrity. They ensure a life in dignity for everyone. Yet even though most people can mention some fundamenal rights and grasp their basic premise, there is unclarity about what fundamental rights really do and how they work.
A great example is the recent judgment in the case of Urgenda, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the State must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% in 2020. This ruling was based on the right to life and the right to respect for private life (Articles 2 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, respectively). But how does this order follow from these rights norms? The scope of fundamental rights has expanded significantly, so that a reduction of social benefits or the lack of social housing also touches upon these rights. But does this imply that the State is no longer allowed to cut benefits, or that individuals or families can demand from the authorities an affordable place to live?
At the same time, a broader development involving misunderstandings about fundamental rights concerns the populist backlash against these rights. Fundamental rights are regularly presented and perceived as merely supporting ‘undeserving’ minorities such as irregular migrants, terrorists and detainees. This signals a lack of knowledge about fundamental rights and an underuse of their potential for protecting the interests of everyone.
Against this background, I will start a podcast on fundamental rights. Through interviews with scholars and experts, who will talk about their research or about current events or developments, this podcast will form an interesting and engaging source of information on what fundamental rights are and what they (can) do. More precisely, the three aims of this podcast are as follows:
1. Providing accessible information on fundamental rights and how they work
2. Making research findings and expert opinions available to a broader audience
3. Contributing to a fairer and better image of fundamental rights
This podcast is not only meant for scholars and other professionals working in the field of fundamental rights. Importantly, the target audience consists of a broader group of persons who (profesionally) come across or are interested in fundamental rights and are curious to learn more about them in a low-threshold way. In order to make the podcast as accessible as possible for a broad Dutch audience, interviews will in principle be conducted in Dutch. This moreover enables the dissemination of important research findings that generally only are available to an internationally-oriented audience.
The podcast will start with a series of interviews that will be published online from mid-May 2020 onwards. It will be available for free via the usual podcast apps as well as on this website.
This podcast is made possible by the Young Academy Leiden.