Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

Cynthia BanhamCongratulations to Cynthia Banham

Frequent Regarding Rights contributor and CIGJ member Cynthia Banham has successfully completed her PhD. Titled “The Responses of Liberal Democracies to the Torture of Citizens: A Comparative Study”, Cynthia’s research compares how three liberal democracies – Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom – responded to the torture of their own citizens after 11 September 2001. One of Cynthia’s examiner’s reports described her thesis as “an engaging read from beginning to end,” praising its detailed empirical analysis; another hailed it as a “substantial, original, well-written and well-documented contribution” to the field. This examiner added that, “The writing…was crystal clear, and the structure effective and well thought out.” Congratulations on a fantastic achievement, Cynthia!

Human Rights and the Universal Periodic Review: Rituals and Ritualism released

The new year also saw the publication of a new volume by CIGJ researchers. Edited by Hilary Charlesworth and Emma Larking, Human Rights and the Universal Periodic Review: Rituals and Ritualism (published by Cambridge University Press) provides the first sustained analysis of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and explains how the Review functions within the architecture of the United Nations. Drawing on socio-legal scholarship and the insights of human rights practitioners, essays in the volume consider the UPR’s regulatory power and the rituals and ritualism associated with the Review, and suggests how this ritualism might be overcome. Chapters include an examination of Canada’s appearance before the UPR by Regarding Rights editor, Benjamin Authers, and a consideration of Africa’s engagement with the mechanism by CIGJ affiliate, Takele Bulto.

Talk by  Bryan Stevenson

The upcoming Fifth Annual Human Rights Tertiary Teachers’ Workshop will feature a keynote lecture by Bryan Stevenson, Professor at NYU Law School and Director of the Equal Justice Initiative. One of America’s leading human rights lawyers and clinical law professors, Stevenson has been described by Archbishop Desmond Tutu as American’s own Nelson Mandela and his soon to be released book, Just Mercy, has been described in the New York Times as ‘searing, moving and infuriating memoir’ of his experience in tackling racism and injustice in the American justice system. Bryan will offer his reflections on how to engage and motivate students to protect and promote human rights beyond the classroom.

If you’re interested in attending the Workshop, please register through this webform.


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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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