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LCIL Friday Lecture: 'What is a Family in the Inter-American Human Rights System' - Tracy Robinson, University of the West Indies, Mona
In a series of recent decisions related to same-sex relationships, the Inter-American Court
of Human Rights has stated that the American Convention on Human Rights does not
advance a singular notion or closed conception of family. A 2017 Advisory Opinion from
the Inter-American Court also concluded that the American Convention demands that same
sex couples have equal access to de jure marriage. This lecture considers what is to be
gained from more broadly contending with the question, ‘what is a family’ in the Americas’
regional human rights system.
Even though the inter-American system now clearly rejects ‘a limited, stereotyped
perception of the concept of the family’, it has only infrequently considered the question,
‘what is a family?’, across the diversity of the Americas. That question matters not only to
determining the scope of various rights to family life in inter-American instruments.
Rethinking the family as a ‘basic element of society’ (American Declaration on the Rights
and Duties of Man), grounded in time, space, human mobility and our political-economic
systems, could help us see more fully ‘who’ constitutes the Americas, which is an essential
for a human rights system aspiring to be universally applicable across the Americas.

Nov 5, 2021 01:00 PM in London

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Tracy Robinson
Senior Lecturer @Faculty of Law, The University of the West Indies, Mona
Tracy Robinson is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law, The University of the West Indies, Mona, and serves as Deputy Dean, Graduate Studies and Research. She researches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, family law, human rights law and gender, sexuality and the law. She is a co-founder and co-coordinator (with Arif Bulkan) of the Faculty of Law UWI Rights Advocacy Project (U-RAP) that led successful strategic litigation in Belize and Guyana on the criminalization of LGBTQ persons. She served on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights as a Commissioner, President of the body (2014-2015), Rapporteur on the Rights of Women and inaugural Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI people. In 2020, she was appointed as one of three experts on the Independent Fact Finding Mission on Libya, a mandate established by the UN Human Rights Council.