Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights

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Kiobel and the US Alien Tort Statute: Australian Connections

Panguna Mine, Bougainville. Source:

Panguna Mine, Bougainville. Source:

By Jonathan Kolieb

Cynthia Banham wrote an insightful piece on this blog regarding the US Supreme Court’s Kiobel decision, which was handed down in April this year. The Court’s decision is of tremendous significance to the future of corporate accountability for heinous crimes. Indeed, the Kiobel decision, arguably, has a far greater impact on international, non-US firms than it does on US companies. On that basis, I would like to continue the conversation on this blog regarding corporate accountability in a post-Kiobel era that Cynthia has eloquently kicked off. To do so, I provide a few disconnected thoughts on the case from an Australian perspective. The judgment was influenced by Australian-linked developments, and it will have direct implications for Australian companies and potentially for our courts as well. 

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Michael Ignatieff and the Sovereign Right to be Wrong about Justice (and Law as Human Rights’ Embarrassing Forebear)

Michael Ignatieff Speaking at the National Humanities Center Source: Humanity Blog

Michael Ignatieff Speaking at the National Humanities Center
Source: Humanity Blog

By Benjamin Authers

Geoffrey Harpham’s recent posting on the Humanity Blog raises a number of interesting questions at the intersection of human rights, intervention, and law. At the heart of Harpham’s article is a talk that Michael Ignatieff gave in March 2013 at a National Humanities Center Conference on Human Rights and the Humanities. There, Ignatieff—academic, novelist, journalist, and former leader of the Canadian Liberal Party—put forward what was received as a rather controversial thesis: that states have a right to “be wrong” about justice.

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