Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights

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Centre for International Governance and Justice: News and Events

The past week has seen a number of presentations by visitors to the CIGJ. On Wednesday afternoon, Professor Ann Orford of the University of Melbourne Law School gave a fascinating masterclass on critical theory and legal scholarship, in which she explored the contested relationship between the critical scholar, the production of knowledge, and the object of that knowledge.

This was followed on Thursday morning by CIGJ Visiting Scholar Siobhán Airey, who presented “Sovereignty’s sanctimony in ODA – a Jar’Edo Wens or Janus in international law?”. Siobhan’s talk examined Official Development Assistance (ODA) as an instrument of global governance through the insights of Foucault and Carl Schmitt, and analysed the tensions between ideas of sovereignty and the disciplinary decision-making practices of ODA donors.

Finally, on Friday Yaprak Yildiz presented “Avowal and disavowal of state violence: confessional performances of perpetrators.” In this seminar, Yaprak spoke of her research on truth-telling in reconciliation processes. She considered cases of confessions by Turkish state officials for atrocities committed against the Kurdish population.

We also want to alert Regarding Rights readers to this recent article on the Conversation by RR contributor, Fiona McGaughey, writing on her observations of Australia’s appearance this month before the Universal Periodic Review.

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Reflections on the General Assembly’s Recent Resolution on Human Rights Treaty Body Reform

By Fiona McGaughey,

University of Western Australia

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

After more than 30 years of discussions and reports on the human rights treaty system, the latest statement from the UN General Assembly is contained in its resolution on reform passed on 9 April. ‘Strengthening and Enhancing the Effective Functioning of the Human Rights Treaty Body System’ includes measures that should improve the efficiency of the system, but it is not self-evident that these measures will improve its effectiveness. Ultimately, the effectiveness of human rights treaties can only be improved by better promotion and protection of human rights for the people who seek to exercise them, and this broader aim of human rights treaties has not been adequately addressed by the UN.

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