Unfolding Slavery: a comparative analysis of definitions and positive obligations in the IACtHR case of Hacienda Brasil Verde Worker v. Brazil and the ECtHR case law on slavery and forced labour
Sammanfattning: In October 2016, the IACtHR issued the judgment of the case of Hacienda Brasil Verde Workers v Brazil. The case concerns the subjection of 85 workers to slavery-like conditions in a private-owned livestock farm located in the north of Brazil. Brasil Verde Workers v. Brazil was the first judgment of the IACtHR on the prohibition of slavery of article 6 ACHR. Moreover, it was also the first time that the court found a violation of article 6 ACHR, that prohibits slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour, slave trade and trafficking in women, due to a harm caused by a private party. This thesis analyses Brasil Verde Workers v. Brazil and demonstrates that the judgment is unique as the court engaged with the definition of slavery of article 6 ACHR, elucidating what is the essence of the abuse as well as that it can cover contemporary forms of slavery. Moreover, the judgment spelt out a concise set of positive obligations that states must undertake to ensure the rights envisaged in article 6 ACHR. Notwithstanding that, some crucial aspects of the judgment possess problematic features and lack clarity thus, presenting remaining challenges to the IACtHR for the protection of the rights envisaged in article 6 ACHR. To critically engage with the judgment, the thesis compares Brasil Verde Workers v. Brazil with the ECtHR case law under article 4 ECHR concerning two aspects: definition of the abuses and positive obligations. Therefore, it first explains the ECtHR case law on definitions and positive obligations under article 4 ECHR, while pointing out deficiencies on the court’s reasoning. Thereafter, it explains definitions and positive obligations enshrined in Brasil Verde Workers v. Brazil. Subsequently, it addresses what are the commonalities and distinguishing features of the IACtHR case to then conclude, in relation to the ECtHR case law, what are the novelties brought by the IACtHR on the prohibition of slavery, servitude, forced labour and human trafficking and what are future challenges for the court to foster the protection and promotion of such rights.
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