Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights

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Law and Society Association Early Career Workshop

Early Career Academics are invited to apply for the 2013 LSA Early Career Workshop, to be held in conjunction with the Society’s conference in Boston next year. Co-chaired by Eve Darian-Smith and Michelle McKinley, the Workshop will offer ECA’s an unique opportunity to learn about and discuss the intellectual and methodological questions motivating socio-legal scholarship, exposure to the LSA’s Collaborative Research Networks, and the chance to get feedback on their work from researchers in the field.

Details can be found at here. Applications are due 15 January 2013.

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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

Visiting PhD Scholarships for 2013

Applications are now open for the Centre for International Governance and Justice’s 2013 Visiting PhD Scholarship.

Offered under the auspices of Professor Hilary Charlesworth’s Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship, ‘Strengthening the International Human Rights System: Rights, Regulation and Ritualism’, the scholarship is designed to encourage doctoral students working in the area of human rights to visit the Centre for International Governance and Justice and to participate actively in its research life. Between 2 and 4 visiting scholarships, to a maximum of AUD $1500, will be awarded in 2013. Continue Reading →

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Transnational Corporations and Positive Human Rights Duties

By Ned Dobos

School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UNSW @ ADFA

 Image: Virginia Warren, Toby Worscheck, Paul Wolf; OccupyDesign

When doing business in host countries, Transnational Corporations (TNCs) must not directly engage in, contribute to, or be complicit in human rights violations. By now this much is relatively uncontroversial—it follows from the consistent application of the basic moral injunction to “do no harm”. Ordinarily, doing no harm simply means remaining passive; it requires only that we refrain from acting in certain ways. But this is not always the case, and it does not hold true for TNCs according to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Business and Human Rights, John Ruggie (2008). Unless a TNC actively undertakes certain programs geared towards securing human rights, says Ruggie, its routine and seemingly innocuous business activities can wind up aiding and abetting rights violations. Thus for TNCs, the negative duty to do no harm demands that positive steps be taken. Continue Reading →

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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News & Events

Visit by Professor Philip Alston (NYU)


Renowned international law and human rights academic, Professor Philip Alston visited the Centre for International Governance and Justice recently. During his visit, Professor Alston conducted a masterclass with ANU PhD scholars working in the fields of human rights and international law. He participated in the Centre for International Governance and Justice’s ‘Workshop on Rights, Rituals and Ritualism: The Universal Periodic Review’, and gave a public lecture to mark International Human Rights Day.

Human Rights Reading Group

Robinson Crusoe

The Centre’s ‘Human Rights Reading Group’ considered a fascinating series of readings in its final meeting for the year, including Camus’ The Just Assassins, Michael Walzer’s seminal 1973 essay ‘Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands’, and two news articles on US Drone Strikes. Our discussion was led by Cynthia Banham, a PhD scholar at RegNet whose research attempts to account for the different responses of liberal democracies to the torture of their citizens following 11 September 2001.

The next Human Rights Reading Group will be held on 13th February. Participants’ summer reading needs have been catered for as we will be discussing Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Defoe’s Crusoe made an interesting appearance in debates during the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with delegates relying on various readings of Crusoe to defend their preferred version of what would ultimately be adopted as article 29(1) of the Declaration, dealing with an individual’s duties ‘to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.’