“The collapse of the Soviet Union: 20 years on”


The impact of the Soviet legacy on the development of human rights law in post-Soviet states



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2. The impact of the Soviet legacy on the development of human rights law in post-Soviet states


While states have worked together to author and ratify many international and regional human rights conventions and treaties, there is often a broad scope for interpretation and implementation of such documents between states. Even within the Council of Europe system major differences between the national human rights systems of member states can be observed. This paper aims to develop a deeper understanding of the origins of some of these differences.

This paper looks at the impact of the Soviet model of human rights law in post-Soviet states. The paper examines the approach to human rights law taken in three post-Soviet states, and shows that while these states have adopted different human rights law systems, these systems all reflect the Soviet legacy in some ways. The paper examines the primary sources of law in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet states and the public discourse on human rights law issues. Interviews carried out with human rights defenders and advocates in the case study states are also discussed.

The research project on which this paper is based concentrates on Russia, Georgia and Latvia. It also focuses on three areas of human rights law – freedom of religion, workers’ rights, and the rights of sexual minorities.

Kieran O’Reilly



Dublin



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