Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


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‘Relationship Matters’: Constitutional Protection of Indigenous Rights in Aotearoa New Zealand

By Fleur Adcock

Image from Fightback
http://tinyurl.com/ltd3zeu

Aotearoa New Zealand has recently begun a national dialogue regarding the place of Maori – its first peoples – in the country’s constitution. In February this year a Government-appointed Constitutional Advisory Panel kicked off the public consultation phase of its consideration of an array of questions concerning New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements. Topics for discussion include ‘Crown-Maori relationship matters’,[1] namely the role of the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand’s constitution. The Treaty, signed between representatives of Maori and the Crown in 1840, exchanged British governance for the protection of Maori rangatiratanga (self-determination). It remains the pivotal instrument around which Maori concerns regarding their rights as Indigenous peoples foment. The review also includes consideration of Maori political representation, such as the Maori electoral option that allows Maori to choose to enrol on a separate Maori electoral roll; Maori electoral participation; and New Zealand’s dedicated seats for Maori in Parliament (voted for by those on the Maori electoral roll) and on some local government bodies. Continue Reading →


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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

Laws and Societies in Global Contexts

Laws and Societies in Global Contexts

 Laws and Societies in Global Contexts – new book by Eve Darian-Smith

CIGJ congratulates Eve Darian-Smith on the recent publication of her book, Laws and Societies in Global Contexts: Contemporary Approaches (CUP). Eve is Professor in Global & International Studies at the University of California and an Adjunct Professor at RegNet, where she is a regular visitor. Eve’s text challenges the tendency in law and society scholarship to focus on single legal systems and societies. In Eve’s account, this focus ‘perpetuates a Western international relations model that too often conflates law, culture, and the nation-state’.

Centre Visitors: Christoph Sperfeldt & Jonathan Kolieb

Christoph Sperfeldt, who is a familiar face at RegNet, returned this week as a guest of the Centre. Christoph is the Regional Program Coordinator at the Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI), where he focuses on regional human rights and justice sector capacity-building in Southeast Asia. Prior to joining AIJI, Christoph worked in Cambodia with the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, and as Reparations Advisor to the Victims Support Section of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). His experience in Cambodia forms the subject matter of a RegNet seminar Christoph will present on Tuesday 28th of May – on victim participation and collective reparations at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. Christoph’s other research interests include statelessness and the special procedures of the Human Rights Council.

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Rights Protection in Papua – Is Australia a Reluctant Neighbour?

 By Budi Hernawan

West Papuan students being held in Timika Police Custody after the 1 May incident

West Papuan students being held in Timika Police Custody after the 1 May incident

The recent fatal shootings in Papua by the Indonesian authorities are not novel. Rather, they are the latest in an ongoing pattern of human rights abuse. The gravity of the crackdown in the context of which the shootings occurred has been emphasised  not only by local human rights groups but also by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. In a public statement released just two days after the shootings, she said she was disappointed to see ‘violence and abuses continuing in Papua’, and she described the latest incidents  as ‘unfortunate examples of the ongoing suppression of freedom of expression and excessive use of force in Papua.’  Such a prompt response from the highest UN official dealing with human rights sends a clear signal that the violence in Papua is by no means a low priority on the UN’s human rights agenda.

In claiming that ‘[i]nternational human rights law requires the Government of Indonesia to conduct thorough, prompt and impartial investigations into the incidents of killings and torture and [to] bring the perpetrators to justice’, Pillay invokes the fundamental responsibility of all states to protect their own citizens.  Continue Reading →


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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

Gabrielle Simm Source: Australian Human Rights Centre

Gabrielle Simm
Source: Australian Human Rights Centre

Gabrielle Simm’s Sex in Peace Operations Published

Sex in Peace Operations by Dr Gabrielle Simm, Senior Research Associate in the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales, has recently been published by Cambridge University Press.

Based on research conducted while a PhD scholar at RegNet, Sex in Peace Operations uses feminist and regulatory approaches to critically re-evaluate sex between local people and international personnel (whether military personnel, private contractors or humanitarian NGO workers) in the context of zero tolerance policies on sexual exploitation and abuse. Examining impunity for sexual crimes committed during peace operations in Bosnia, West Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabrielle finds not just a failure of political will but also of international law in how violations by non-state actors have been dealt with. Continue Reading →


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Firming Up Soft Law: The Impact of Indicators on Transnational Human Rights Legal Orders

By Sally Engle Merry

Professor Sally Engle Merry, Professor at New York University and Adjunct Professor at ANU’s Regulatory Institutions Network, visited the Centre for International Governance and Justice in March. Regarding Rights is pleased to present the seminar she delivered during her visit on the role of indicators in global human rights regimes, along with the following synopsis by Professor Merry of her talk: Continue Reading →