1. Taking away the right to vote

As a form of punishment for social deviance, some European jurisdictions impose ancillary penalties for serious criminal offences, which entail the loss of some civic rights, such as the right to vote and to stand for election. Such penalties usually result in the removal of the convicts from electoral lists, preventing them from registering for any elections, consequently banning them from voting. Nevertheless, the right to vote is one of the fundamental rights conferred by Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 of European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter ‘ECHR’). Striking between the principle of sovereignty and the protection of this fundamental right, the European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter ‘ ECtHR’) has on many occasions assessed whether the restriction of the right to vote is acceptable (see for instance Hirst v. UK, Scoppola v. Italy, Greens and M.T. v. UK, Firth and Others v. UK etc.).

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Introduction

Cultural diversity and the principle of religious pluralism are axiomatic for a democratic society. Undoubtedly, the world is dealing with an increase in religion intolerance. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the misplaced concern that the overt practice of Islam is a proxy for ‘extremism’ led to xenophobia and discrimination towards Muslims (Taylor, 2005).

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The online discourse has rapidly become one of the driving forces in political change around the world, becoming a tool for social justice. By not providing affordable internet access to everyone, we might be blocking democracy and political power. However, confusing Internet Access – inherently a tool in this House’ perspective - with the fundamental right of freedom of speech, freedom of expression and access to information can do a lot of harm, particularly misusing the political and social capital necessary in order to ensure the respect and enjoyment of the already recognized fundamental human rights.

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Consent plays a pivotal role in the development of international law. It can be used as an instrument of protecting the sovereign equality of nations and jealously guard one’s interest (Guzman, 2011). Given the heterogeneous interest of nations, however, it can also be an impediment for the development of international rules (Guzman, 2011). Positive law theorists emphasized that a state must give its consent to be effectively bound by the international law, but the naturalists support the idea that international law can exist without the will of the nations (D’Amato, 2010). State consent has the potential to increasing compliance of nations with international laws and bolster legitimacy or/and constituency, and help to tackle frequent, or rather haphazard deviation from the international obligations.

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