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M. Joel Voss


There is general agreement that families are considered an important building block of society. However, in international fora, there is significant disagreement about what constitutes family. This article discusses the development of the Protection of the Family initiative at the UN’s primary human rights body, the UN Human Rights Council. This article uses Protection of the Family resolutions at the Council to build upon theories of norm contestation in international relations and international law. Elite-level interviews and participant observation of Council meetings on the four Protection of the Family resolutions adopted at the Council show that both advocates and opponents of Protection of the Family argue that their positions adhere to universal rights and prior law while their opponents are revisionist. In addition, the article illustrates a series of new strategies adopted by advocates of Protection of the Family that may be used in other resolutions to advance human rights agendas.

Jayeel Cornelio and Robbin Charles M. Dagle


This article spells out the ways in which religious freedom has been deployed against proponents of same-sex marriage and gender equality in the Philippines. While the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and allies have appealed to religious freedom to gain equal rights under the law, conservative Christian entities have fought back by invoking the same notion. They have appropriated religious freedom, which has historically been interpreted by the courts in favour of individual liberties, to defend majoritarian values surrounding sexuality. This article describes this move as the weaponisation of religious freedom in defence of the dominant religion and an assumed majority of Filipinos whose moral sensibilities are purportedly under attack. Towards the end, the article relates this weaponisation to the experience of the Catholic Church in the contemporary public sphere and the militant character of Christianity that continues to view the Philippines as a Christian nation.

Elspeth Guild


While international human rights law enshrines family life as a cornerstone of society, when it intersects with migration, issues and problems arise in countries where migration is high on the political agenda. This is true in a number of EU states. Both EU law and European human rights commitments, however, require states to provide for family reunification subject to a margin of discretion to the state. While family reunification for refugees and beneficiaries of international protection has been at the top of some political agendas in Europe, this article looks at family reunification (generally known as family reunion) for another group—nationals of the Member States. In particular it poses two questions: do EU Member States accept their own nationals to come back to their home state with third country national family members they have acquired while abroad? Secondly, to what extent do EU Member States discriminate against their own nationals in comparison with the generous EU rules of family reunion for nationals of other Member States who have exercised a free movement right in their country. This article is based on reports by experts from all EU Member States in light of the 2014 judgment in O & B (C-456/12) by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Stamatia Devetzi


The Dano and Alimanovic decisions of the ECJ have triggered various developments in German social security law and (social) court jurisprudence. While the German courts’ rulings regarding the rights of non-active EU migrants still vary, the legislator has moved towards excluding more EU citizens from receiving non-contributory benefits. In the aftermath of Dano and, more specifically, Alimanovic, the provisions of Book II of the German Social Code were revised at the end of 2016. The new rules not only ‘confirm’ the ECJ-decisions, but also go beyond, as far as to exclude EU migrants who have residence rights according to Reg. (EU) No. 492/2011.

This article discusses these recent developments. It focuses on the ECJ-case law regarding Art. 10 of Reg. (EU) No. 492/2011 (former Art. 12 of Reg. 1612/68), in particular the Ibrahim and Teixeira rulings. Which residence rights do prevail—those according to Dir. 2004/38/EC or those based on Reg. (EU) No. 492/2011? It is argued that a new discussion on the interrelation between Dir. 2004/38/EC and Reg. (EU) No. 492/2011—an aspect ignored by the German legislator—is emerging: What started as a restriction of access to national welfare for economically non-active persons has obviously reached the ‘economically active’ (= workers) as well. The German example shows that Member States may be testing which other residence rights—in addition to those for short stays and job searches—might be valid before the ECJ ‘as residence rights without social rights’.

Anthony Valcke


The purpose of this article is to investigate how EU citizens’ free movement rights are applied and enforced in practice and determine whether the situation on the ground demonstrates the existence of a so-called ‘implementation gap’ involving a disconnect between, on the one hand, how the EU free movement rules are intended to operate and, on the other, their application in practice at the national level. Drawing upon a multitude of sources from Belgium, Ireland, Italy, France, Sweden and the UK, an exploration is undertaken of the ways in which this ‘implementation gap’ manifests itself through a review of the various instances where Member States have sought to restrict the exercise of free movement rights through the adoption of national measures relating to the transposition, application and enforcement of Directive 2004/38 on residence rights.

Sandra Mantu and Paul Minderhoud


This article examines the links between residence and social rights in the context of EU citizens’ mobility. It builds on national replies to a questionnaire concerning the implementation and application of Directive 2004/38 at the national level. Our focus is on how the EU28 are implementing the provisions on social assistance for economically inactive EU citizens, including five relevant European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgments in this area (Brey, Dano, Alimanovic, Garcia-Nieto and Commission v UK) and the provisions on permanent residence status. Based on the national replies we argue that asking for social benefits becomes a first step towards being considered by the administration as an unreasonable burden, which leads to the termination of EU residence rights. Our analysis shows that asserting and maintaining residence rights under Articles 7 and 16 of Directive 2004/38 is becoming problematic for certain categories of EU citizens and linked with the more restrictive position taken by some Member States in relation to accessing their national social assistance systems.

Bernard Ryan


This article examines the case-law of the Court of Justice concerning security of residence for EU citizens and family members under Directive 2004/38. The relevant provisions of the Directive confer a right of permanent residence, and enhanced protection against expulsion, upon longer-term residents. It is argued that, in interpreting these provisions from 2006 onwards, the Court of Justice adopted a discourse which conceived of the rights as dependent on an individual’s social integration. The initial effect of the Court’s ‘turn’ to integration was benign, as it supported the retrospective extension of permanent residence, and ensured the efficacy of enhanced protection against expulsion. Later, however, the Court would treat integration as a precondition, in ways which would limit the rights of long-term residents who were not economically active or self-sufficient, or who had been sentenced to periods of imprisonment. That Court’s integration discourse was presumably influenced by developments in policy concerning third-country nationals at the state level which had linked immigration status to integration tests. The result was a selective approach to security of residence, which tended to deny protection to persons whose presence was unlikely to be favoured by Member States.