Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


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Tainted UN Peacekeepers: Reportage from the Ground

Image from www.un.org

Image from www.un.org

By Mandira Sharma and Ingrid Massage, Advocacy Forum-Nepal, and Suhas Chakma, Ben Schonveld, and Kathryn Johnson, Asian Centre for Human Rights

Can the UN allow its staff to violate human rights?

The United Nations (UN) employs one of the largest armies in the world. Currently, it has more than 97,000 uniformed personnel (military and police) coming from over 110 countries and the number has been steadily growing. Continue Reading →


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Making reparation for Khmer Rouge crimes at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Khieu Sampham and Nuon Chea image from www.cambodiatribunal.org/

Khieu Sampham and Nuon Chea
image from www.cambodiatribunal.org/

By Cheryl White

Centre for International Governance and Justice

The magnitude of crimes of mass atrocity and the depth of the harm they cause, personal and societal, render reparations awards inadequate in real terms. However, representative justice process and tangible reparations, although limited, may give new hope to victims of crimes in contexts where previously the hope of a meaningful remedy had been lost. This may now be playing out in Cambodia, where after more than thirty years victims of the Khmer Rouge regime have rights to participate in trials of the leaders of the regime, and to receive tangible reparations. Continue Reading →


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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

Photo: boxer, bug.hr

Photo: boxer, bug.hr

CIGJ Visitor, Carla Ferstman, gave an excellent seminar on Tuesday as part of RegNet’s weekly seminar program. Carla, who is director of REDRESS, discussed the difficulties associated with ensuring the accountability of International Organisations, including the UN. Carla pointed out that structures for the accountability of International Organisations have not kept pace with the continual widening of their functions. This means that while International Organisations with a mandate to protect vulnerable populations may be involved in causing serious harm and violating human rights, it can be virtually impossible for the victims to obtain reparations.

This is an issue with which Harry Aitken engages in his discussion of Mothers of Srebrenica v The Netherlands, in the most recent News Bulletin from the Victorian Chapter of the International Law Association. Harry is a member of the Association’s executive committee and a CIGJ affiliate. His article provides an illuminating overview of the complex issues involved this case, which set a new precedent by holding the Netherlands liable for the actions of its soldiers while they were operating under a UN peacekeeping mandate in Srebenica in 1995.


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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

Carla FerstmanGovinda Sharma

The CIGJ has welcomed two new visitors as part of its Visiting Human Rights Practitioners programme. Carla Ferstman, director of REDRESS,  an international NGO that works with survivors of torture and other human rights abuses to obtain legal remedies and develop effective systems of  justice for victims, will be visiting until mid-August and participating in RegNet’s seminar series as well as a Centre workshop on reparations. Govinda Sharma, current head of the Transitional Justice Law Committee at the Nepal Bar Association and a Senior Legal Advisor to the International Commission of Jurists, will be visiting until mid-October. He is currently undertaking research on impunity and transitional justice and will present a RegNet seminar on the 9th of September.


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Equal freedom for all requires limiting freedom of expression

Neal Jennings Flickr  Photostream

Neal Jennings Flickr
Photostream

By Emma Larking*

Centre for International Governance and Justice, ANU

The federal Government claims that it has a ‘freedom agenda’. Part of this agenda involves repealing section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. This ‘offensive behaviour’ section makes it unlawful to publically offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate people on the basis of their race. The section has been in operation since 1995 and has been restrictively interpreted by the courts: in order to be unlawful the behaviour must have a ‘profound and serious’ impact.

Continue Reading →