Symposium – Realising (social) human rights

In the Netherlands, there is poverty, homelessness, functional illiteracy, lack of adequate housing, lack of a clean living environment, and lack of care too. How is this possible? Has
the government not legally committed itself to the effort to prevent all this? How do government policies and actions relate to the efforts of citizens and civil society organizations, such as the role of churches in Putten in the reception of status holders? And how to assess with government measures that (aim to) realize fundamental social rights, but at the expense of individual freedom rights? This clash of rights occur, for example, in cases that deal with housing and property rights or when vulnerable people in care institutions are abused. Finally, are new fundamental rights needed to guard people from specific vulnerabilities, such as lack of energy? In short, there is a clear need to analyze the meaning and added value of fundamental social rights anno 2022/23. We will discuss these questions during this mini-symposium.

Speakers: dr. A. Hallo de Wolf, dr. M. Hesselman, prof. B. Toebes, prof. M. Vols
Chair: prof. P. van Sasse van IJsselt


15:00 – 15:15: walk-in / welcome
15:15 – 15:25: opening words by the chair
15:25 – 15:45: pitch dr. Antenor Hallo de Wolf & prof. Brigit Toebes Abuse of vulnerable people in care facilities
15:45 – 16:05: pitch dr. Marlies Hesselman – Energy poverty in the Netherlands. Is there a universal right to energy from a human rights perspective?
16:05 – 16:25: pitch prof. Michel Vols – The Optional Protocol to the ICESCR, the right to housing and moral hazard
16:25 – 16:40: break
16:40 – 17:15: roundtable
17:15 – 17:30: questions and answers
17:30 – 18:30: drinks

Location: Van Swinderen Huys | Glazen zaal | Oude Boteringestraat 19, Groningen
Register: you can sign up by sending an email to, mentioning 16-12
Costs: attendance of the symposium is free

December 16th, 2022

  • Location: Van Swinderen Huys, Glazen zaal, Oude Boteringestraat 19, Groningen
  • Organised by: The Human Rights Lunch, University of Groningen

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