Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

Congratulations to Jacky Parry and Suzanne Akila

passportWarmest congratulations to Jacky Parry and Suzanne Akila on receiving excellent examiners’ reports for their PhDs.

Jacky’s PhD was on ‘Transitional Justice and Displacement: Lessons from Liberia and Afghanistan’. She used her Liberian and Afghan case studies to examine how refugees contribute to transitional justice processes. Jacky argued for a broader understanding of transitional justice, suggesting that it could even include mechanisms such as out of country voting. The examiners described Jacky’s work as ‘perceptive and original’, advancing important and novel arguments about forms of transitional justice. Read Jacky’s blog about her fieldwork in Liberia here.

Jacky held an ARC Laureate Fellowship PhD Scholarship while at RegNet. She is currently working in Iraq with the International Organization for Migration, putting her thesis research into daily use!

Suza’s topic was ‘Participation and the Protection of Citizens Abroad in International Law’ and investigated how states exercise diplomatic protection for their citizens who face the death penalty abroad. The thesis was both an innovative account of international legal doctrine as well as a set of rich in depth case studies. Examiners described its contribution as ‘original and compelling’ with writing that was ‘lucid, economical, persuasive and stylish’.

While at RegNet, Suza held a Sir Roland Wilson PhD Scholarship and she is now working in the Legal Office in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Both Suza and Jacky were supervised by CIGJ Director, Professor Hilary Charlesworth.


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The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants – What’s Missing?

By Emma Larking

Centre for International Governance & Justice, RegNet

The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted by the UN General Assembly in September commits states to negotiating by 2018 ‘Global Compacts’ on refugees, and for safe, orderly and regular migration. Unfortunately, these Global  Compacts will not be legally binding. As currently envisaged, they represent a disastrous missed opportunity.

When the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees was first drafted, the UN Secretary General expressed regret that it did not include a binding resettlement mechanism.[1] Continue Reading →


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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

Regarding Rights is delighted to announce that another RR contributor, Jayson Lamchek (see his post on ‘The Marwan Affair’), has had his thesis approved. Like Shane Chalmers, whose achievement we featured in our last news and events post, Jayson received glowing reports from his examiners.

Jayson’s thesis is titled Myth-Making and Reality: A Critical Examination of Human Rights-Compliant Counterterrorism in the Philippines and Indonesia.

Examiner Sundhya Pahuja said

This is an excellent thesis. It is highly original, well argued, rigorously researched, theoretically astute and politically courageous.

Another examiner, Antony Anghie provided rare praise for academic writing of any sort, saying that the thesis ‘reads at times like a thriller’!

Both Shane and Jayson were supervised by former CIGJ Fellow, Jeremy Farrall, who is now based in ANU’s Coral Bell School.


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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

Examiners applaud ‘an exceptional’ PhD

Shane, supervisor Jeremy Farrall, and ‘Law’s rule – Liberia and the rule of law’

Shane, supervisor Jeremy Farrall, and ‘Law’s rule – Liberia and the rule of law’

Regarding Rights is thrilled to announce that Shane Chalmers’s PhD has been approved. Shane is a popular RR contributor (see his posts, ‘The Living Dead’ and ‘The “call and answer” of the Universal Periodic Review’), and the introduction to his thesis, Law’s Rule: Liberia and the Rule of Law appeared earlier this year in the post, ‘Being detained: Prelude to a thesis on Liberia and the rule of law’.

Shane’s examiners described his thesis as both a pleasure to read and ‘a truly interdisciplinary work of scholarship’. Peter Rush commented:

This is an exceptional thesis….Its contribution is not only to the study of the discourses and institutions of the rule of law in Liberia, but also to contemporary theories of law’s rule, of legal pluralism, and of post-conflict studies, as well as to the jurisprudence of law. Its facility with the existing debates in these fields, as well as the politics of rule of law debates in international law and in Liberia, is nothing less than remarkable.

Shane is currently undertaking an Australian Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellowship on ‘The Rule of Law in Transition’. The Fellowship is hosted by the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Spain, and Shane plans to spend his time transforming his thesis into a book. Enjoy your time at Oñati Shane – and congratulations on a wonderful PhD result!

Masterclass on investment treaties

StopTheTPPsurfboard%20flickr%20attribute%20to%20SumOfUsCIGJ Associate Professor, Anthea Roberts, held a masterclass recently on the global Investment Treaty System that has emerged since the 1990s.

Based on thousands of bilateral investment treaties and free trade agreements, the system has also seen hundreds of investor-state arbitrations. These arbitrations, in which private corporations can take states to arbitration under the terms of state-based investment treaties, have been hugely controversial. In some cases, investors have been awarded large damages – in one case the Czech Republic was required to pay a sum equivalent to its annual health budget.

Originally promoted as a way of encouraging foreign direct investment in states, whether the system actually has any impact on business investment decisions is now unclear. Also troubling is evidence that poor or weaker states have entered treaties that contain ‘investor-state dispute settlement clauses’ – allowing private companies to sue states – with little understanding of the liability implications.

While wealthy states have also found themselves drawn into costly arbitrations, including the case brought by the tobacco company, Philip Morris, against Australia, these states are now drafting investment treaty obligations more carefully and narrowly, attempting to achieve a better balance between investor protection and state sovereignty. However, many older style investment treaties remain in effect, causing risks for treaty parties.

Following Anthea’s masterclass, RegNet visitor Richard Braddock gave a seminar on recent developments in investment agreements, discussing how governments are attempting to exercise greater control over the terms of the agreements and the resolution of investor-state disputes.

Regarding Rights will publish a post based on Anthea’s masterclass in coming weeks.