Effective Remedies as Capabilities: Towards a User Perspective on the Human Rights of Migrants in Belgium

Sarah Ganty, Moritz Baumgärtel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Questions concerning effective remedies in refugee status procedures have recently received a lot of attention in Belgium, most notably in two significant high-level cases. The Belgian Constitutional Court found in January 2014 that the fast-track procedure of annulment for asylum seekers from safe countries of origin did not provide for an effective remedy. Only one month later the European Court of Human Rights reached a similar conclusion in the S. J. v. Belgium case, which concerned the effectiveness of remedies available to migrants appealing on medical grounds against a denial of permission to stay. After describing the context and legal repercussions in some detail, this article offers a complementary “user perspective”, adopting the notion of capabilities to approach the subject from the viewpoint of migrants. Effective remedies represent in the Belgian context not only a procedural right but also a substantive opportunity for migrants to obtain basic capabilities such as life, bodily integrity, and physical and mental health. Reconceptualizing effective remedies as capabilities also underlines the moral responsibility of “supportive users” (such as human rights organizations) and above all of the Belgian state
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-234
Number of pages20
JournalHuman rights and International Legal Discourse
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Effective remedies
  • capabilities
  • vulnerability
  • Asylum
  • human rights
  • European court of human rights


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