The Duality of Human Dignity in Europe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


The centrality of human dignity in human rights texts is prominently displayed in Article 1 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights singling out human dignity as a stand-alone right. Paradoxically, he elevation of human dignity has been achieved through the creation of a binary Europe of human rights enunciated in two texts, the EU Charter and the ECHR, protected through two autonomous legal orders by two supranational courts. This raises the question of whether the fragmentation of human dignity risks diluting protection of fundamental human rights in Europe. This paper argues that human dignity, as a stand-alone right, is problematic because it eludes a stable legal meaning, exacerbated by the juxtaposition of human rights values with market freedoms in the EU Charter. Contrary to a commonly held view, the paper argues that a substantive moral vision of human dignity may be elicited through an integrative reading of human rights texts from the UDHR to the ECHR and that this moral vision is critical to mitigate the risks of degradation of fundamental values in the EU and requires greater engagement of the CJEU with human rights courts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Values - Challenges and Opportunities
EditorsFrancois Foret, Oriane Calligaro
Pages23 - 45
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781351037426
ISBN (Print)9781138489516
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge Series on Government and the European Union


  • Human Dignity , EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, ECHR, UDHR


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