*see the uploaded files for instruction, reading lists, topic, OS COLA style of referencing
Utopia is a state party to the following international human rights instruments:
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, (1951) 189 United Nations Treaty Series (U.N.T.S.) 137;
Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, (1967) 606 U.N.T.S. 267;
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) 999 U.N.T.S. 171. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) 993
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, (CERD) (1966) 660 U.N.T.S. 195.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979) 1249 U.N.T.S. 13.
Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) 1577 U.N.T.S. 3
Utopia is a country on the fringes of the European Union. While a candidate country for European Union membership, it is not envisaged that Utopia will be a member state of the European Union until at least 2030.
Utopia has a constitution that sets down its status as a liberal democratic republic. The country operates a traditional separation of powers model, with a judiciary, executive and parliament.
Utopia is unusual, in that it is a pure monist State, and all individuals can rely directly on the international instruments listed above, in domestic courts.
The duty on interpretation of these treaties generally falls to the High Court of Ultimate Appeal. The approach of the High Court of Ultimate Appeal of Utopia to recommendations of decisions, general comments/observations and concluding comments of human rights treaty bodies, is as follows:
It is commonly acknowledged that decisions, concluding observations and general comments of UN human rights treaty bodies are not legally binding. Nevertheless, in ascertaining the normative content of specific rights, this Court takes cognisance of the fact that that UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies and other specialised United Nations bodies, may provide authoritative guidance on the precise scope and content of such rights contained in international treaties that Westphalia is a state party to..It is also of utmost importance, when this Court is tasked with deciding the normative content of international human rights treaties, that this Court takes judicial notice of similar decisions from domestic courts and tribunals in other liberal democracies.
Saxe-Coburg Gotha & Windsor v Utopia  High Court Reports 23 at 45.
Over the last number of years, Utopia has undergone significant political change, resulting in part at least, from a severe economic depression that has hit the country.
In November 2016, a new government was elected in free and fair elections. In April 2017, the new government implemented a key election promise in bringing into force the Make Utopia Great Again Act 2017 (hereinafter, the 2017 Act). The preamble to
the 2017 Act sets down the broad policy objectives which the 2017 Act seeks to achieve (extracts):
An Act to regain control of Utopia for the citizens of Utopia. to decriminalize certain conduct that is central to deeply held beliefs of citizens in Utopia to limit access to socioeconomic rights for those seeking asylum in Utopia, and to limit the applicability of international human rights law to certain persons. [03rd April, 2017]
The 2017 Act runs to over 700 pages but includes the following two legislative measures in this Act:
Section 245 of the 2017 Act: Recognition and Protection of Culture
In Utopia, the following measures cannot ever be interpreted as a violation of human rights, because these are long held and deeply valued traditions by some Utopian citizens:
(a) Reasonable chastisement of married women by their husbands, or reasonable chastisement of unmarried women, over the age of 18, by their fathers (or other suitably appointed male guardian). For the sake of clarity, reasonable chastisement includes any hitting by the hand, by a leather belt not measuring over 30 centimetres, of the said women to ensure compliance with instructions of husbands/fathers/suitably appointed guardians.
(b) Fathers (or a suitably appointed male guardian) may, at their sole discretion, permit that their daughters, who have not reached the age of 16 years, must undergo female genital cutting. This female genital cutting procedure must be conducted under general anaesthetic by a medical practitioner registered with the Utopia Medical Council.
Section 290 of the 2017 Act: The Socio-Economic Rights of Asylum Seekers
(a) Those seeking refugee status, but whose claims are not yet verified by the Utopia Refugee Appeals Authority, shall be known as asylum seekers.
(b) Asylum seekers shall never enjoy, any service, benefit or the like, drawn from Utopian public funds, as regards the following rights:
i. Right to shelter;
ii. Right to work;
iii. Right to a reasonable standard of living;
(c) Those socioeconomic
rights listed above in section 290(b)(i), (ii) and (iii), continue to be enjoyed by Utopian citizens.
(d) For the avoidance of doubt, asylum seekers who lodged a refugee claim prior to the commencement of this section (on 03 April 2017) continue to enjoy the sociology-economic rights listed in section 290(b)(i), (ii) and (iii) of this Act.
You are a student human rights legal researcher in the Utopian Public Interest Law Center. You have been requested by a supervising solicitor to conduct the following work:
Please provide a written legal opinion, backed up with extensive reference to treaty texts, relevant concluding observations and general comments/recommendations of UN human rights treaty bodies, and academic literature (maximum 2000 words) on whether the measures in Section 245 and Section 290 of the Make Utopia Great Again Act 2017 are in compliance with Utopias obligations under international human rights law.
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