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Understanding Human Dignity$
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Christopher McCrudden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265642

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265642.001.0001

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The Triple Dilemma of Human Dignity: A Case Study

The Triple Dilemma of Human Dignity: A Case Study

(p.173) 9 The Triple Dilemma of Human Dignity: A Case Study
Understanding Human Dignity

Christoph Möllers

British Academy

In a case decided in 2008 (K.U. v. Finland - 2872/02), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) was confronted with the case of a boy whose photo had been posted on the internet and used for a sexual advertisement by a third person without knowledge or consent. The service provider denied the police access feeling itself bound to national rules of data protection. The ECtHR, finally, held that under Art. 8 of the Convention, the right to privacy and family life, Finland was obliged to identify and sanction the wrongdoer. The decision refers to different problems that are regularly addressed under the heading of human dignity: sexual autonomy and communicative privacy. The case will serve as an example for three conceptual conflicts in the notion of human dignity: The conflict between a sphere of protected privacy and the development of a social personality, the conflict between individual autonomy and the protection by public authorities, and the conflict between general normative demands and case specific criteria. While human dignity might be a useful theoretical concept to depict these conflicts it cannot provide criteria to solve them.

Keywords:   incompletely theorized agreement, core meaning, duty to protect, European Convention of Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights, honour, privacy, rule, sanction

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