Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


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Creativity Calls: Designing a Monitoring Body for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

World Conference on Indigenous Peoples' Opening Plenary Meeting and adoption of the Conference Outcome Document, 22 September 2014, New York.  Photo: Shane Brown, Indigenous Global Coordinating Group Media Team

World Conference on Indigenous Peoples’ Opening Plenary Meeting and adoption of the Conference Outcome Document, 22 September 2014, New York.
Photo: Shane Brown, Indigenous Global Coordinating Group Media Team

By Fleur Adcock

National Centre for Indigenous Studies

Calls for an international mechanism to monitor implementation of the 2007 United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration) are growing louder. The Declaration is the most comprehensive articulation of the contours of Indigenous peoples’ rights. The product of more than two decades of intensive negotiations and lobbying by Indigenous peoples and their supporters, it affirms Indigenous peoples’ rights to internal self-determination, their lands and resources, culture, equality and development, amongst others. As a non-budgetary resolution of the UN General Assembly the Declaration is not strictly binding in the way that a UN treaty is. Yet, aspects of the Declaration form part of customary international law. Since the Declaration’s adoption, the idea of a monitoring mechanism has been raised both informally and formally. But in the past year the idea has gained momentum. Continue Reading →


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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

As part of the CIGJ’s upcoming Festival of International Law, 6-7 October will see a number of events examining the role of international law in the relationship between Israel and Palestine. Events will include a public lecture and masterclass by Professor Orna Ben-Naftali (The College of Management Academic Studies) and Mr Ardi Imseis (Cambridge), as well as a screening of the movie The Law in These Parts. For further information please click here; information on the rest of the festival can be seen here.


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Rights, Regulation and Bodily Integrity: Reflections from Sport

By Kate Henne, RegNet, ANU

Dutee Chand was banned from competition in 2014 (Photo: Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

Dutee Chand was banned from competition in 2014 (Photo: Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

Sport is a space in which the policing and scrutiny of athletes’ bodies is explicit. Regular commentaries about athletes’ physical performances, suspected performance-enhancing drug use and changes to their bodies’ shape or size offer everyday examples. Accordingly, sport is a site that enables us to think through the tensions between rights, regulation and bodily integrity. Recent developments around the regulation of who can participate in women’s sports events offer a timely and important case in point.

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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

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Participants in the ‘Rights, Regulation and Ritualism’ Workshop

Workshop on Rights, Regulation and Ritualism

This week CIGJ hosted a workshop at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Oñati, Spain.  The workshop was designed to review some of the outcomes of CIGJ Director Hilary Charlesworth’s Australian Research Council Laureate Project on ‘Strengthening the International Human Rights System: Rights, Regulation and Ritualism’.

With Hilary, Laureate postdoctoral fellows (and RR editors), Ben Authers and Emma Larking presented aspects of their research to workshop participants: Jane Connors, who until recently was Director of the Research and Right to Development Division at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human  Rights; Carla Ferstman, who is Director of the UK based NGO, REDRESS; Rumyana Grozdanova, who visited the CIGJ as part of the Laureate’s Visiting PhD Scholarship program and who is now a lecturer in law at the University of Liverpool; Robert McCorquodale, who is a leader in the field of international law and human rights, and Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law; Tess McEvoy, who is a human rights lawyer currently working for the International Service for Human Rights in Geneva; and Ciara O´Connell, who also visited the CIGJ as one of its Visiting PhD Scholarship recipients and who is completing her PhD at the University of Sussex.

Participants provided helpful feedback on the research presented, reflecting the depth and diversity of their combined experience, as well as intellectual generosity in bringing this experience and their critical capacities to bear on the central issue with which the Laureate project engages: the ritualism that characterises many states´ responses to their human rights obligations.

As well as critically engaging with the research outcomes of the Laureate project, participants used the lenses of ritual and ritualism to reflect on how their own work relates to the Laureate research, leading to fruitful discussions concerning the wider applications of the project´s conceptual framework.

Geneva Launch of Human Rights and the Universal Periodic Review: Rituals and Ritualism

Human Rights and the Universal Periodic Review (Cambridge University Press, 2014) was launched today at the Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva as part of an event focused on the role played by civil society in the United Nations’ human rights monitoring mechanism, the Universal Periodic Review, or UPR, as it is now widely known. The event was co-sponsored by the Australian, Namibian and Paraguayan Missions and by the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR). Human Rights and the Universal Periodic Review is edited by Hilary Charlesworth and Emma Larking, and contains chapters by Ben Authers and former Laureate postdoctoral fellow, Takele Bulto, as well as a range of human rights academics and practitioners who have worked closely with the UPR. Many contributors were present at the launch, including Julie Billaud, Jane Cowan, Roland Chauville, and Phil Lynch.

‘The Complementary Roles of States and Civil Society in the UPR Process’ was also used to launch a new guide by UPR Info on the role of ‘recommending states’ at the UPR. Hilary Charlesworth spoke on a panel with Sabine Böhlke-Möhlke, the Namibian ambassador, Shahrzad Tadjbakhsh, Chief of the UPR Branch at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Miloon Kothari, from the NGO, UPR Info. The panel was chaired by John Quinn, Permanent Representative of Australia. Read Hilary’s address here: Hilary Charlesworth, The Complementary Roles of States and Civil Society in the UPR Process.