Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

On Wednesday the Centre hosted a fascinating and provocative talk from Madeleine Rees, Secretary General of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. The talk, “The dream and the reality; are our international institutions fit for purpose?” used a gender approach to critically explored the disparity between the ambitions of the international order and the reality of institutional failures.

Next week the Centre will welcome Michelle Staggs Kelsall for a two-week visit. Michelle, Deputy Director of the Human Rights Resource Centre (for ASEAN), will present a public seminar, “Making the extraordinary ordinary: the Khmer Rouge tribunal, justice in transition and the promise of a juridical legacy in Cambodia”, at the Centre on Tuesday, 2 June.


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Negotiating Rights? Multi-Stakeholder Governance, Global Food Security, and the Right to Food

The Committee on World Food Security Plenary in 2013. Photograph: Matthew Canfield

The Committee on World Food Security Plenary in 2013. Photograph: Matthew Canfield

By Matthew Canfield, New York University

It was the last day of an exhausting week of meetings at the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS) held annually in Rome, when civil society members trickled into a conference room for a final discussion about the week’s proceedings. Continue Reading →


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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

Maria Virginia Bras Gomes
Maria Virginia Bras Gomes

We were sad to farewell Virginia Brás Gomes on Friday. During her visit, Virginia engaged in the life of the Centre with great warmth and verve, meeting with PhD and early career researchers, hosting a masterclass on the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights, and delivering a public lecture on the challenges currently confronting the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Virginia was appointed to the Committee in 2008 and has served as vice-chair, as well as rapporteur on the Committee’s revised guidelines on reporting, and co-rapporteur on its General Comment on Social Security. She is currently involved in drafting a new General Comment on article 7 of the Covenant, on the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work. Virginia also gave an informal seminar at the Office of International Law in the Attorney-General’s Department. Members of the Office were interested to learn more about the working methods of the Committee and to hear about three new General Comments that it will soon begin drafting: on the business sector and human rights; on the relationship between the environment and economic, social and cultural rights; and on the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications, recognised in article 15(1)(b) of the Covenant.

On Friday 8th May, Dr Roland Rich, former Executive Head of the United Nations Democracy Fund, gave a fascinating lecture on five pathologies that in his view impede the work of the UN: pathologies of sovereignty (meaning the UN tends to work with governments while ignoring civil society); risk aversion (a pathology shared by all bureaucracies but which is particularly acute at the UN); regional politicisation (resulting in membership of UN bodies that reflects regional loyalties rather than what is required to ensure these bodies function effectively); a culture of politeness that impedes improvement via informed criticism; and a culture of secrecy that is costly and self-defeating.

In forthcoming events, we are looking forward to a public lecture by Madeleine Rees of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, on Wednesday 27th May, and an informal seminar by Mareike Reidel on Friday 29th May.

 


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Mourning the deaths of ‘the painter and the pastor’

Image from www.sbs.com.au

Myuran Sukumaran, self portrait and portrait of fellow death-row inmate Andrew Chan. Image from www.sbs.com.au

By Yvette Selim

University of New South Wales

In the early hours of Wednesday morning two Australian men convicted for drug   trafficking in Indonesia were executed by firing squad. According to reports, they — along with the six other prisoners who were executed — declined their blindfolds and sang the hymn Amazing Grace moments before the gunshots were fired. Continue Reading →