Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


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Normative Esperanto? A Closer Look at the Proposed Indicatorisation of the Right to Development in the UN

Declaration on RTDBy Siobhán Airey

There is now a very solid body of literature, both scholarly and practice-focused, on the relationship between indicators and human rights. It addresses pragmatic considerations (how indicators can develop precision on the normative content of human rights, especially for socio-economic human rights, and aid the monitoring of states’ duties to fulfill their international human rights obligations); political considerations (how the use of indicators can result in shifts in relationships between different policy spheres and their institutional mechanisms and human rights, and between human rights actors such as rights-holders and duty-bearers and those with responsibility for monitoring those institutions and actors); epistemological questions with normative effects (how indicators can foreground certain kinds of knowledge and ways of seeing the world and, through their use in a human rights context, can shape what we think a human right might be). This work can also illuminate the role of indicators, especially in a human rights context, in helping to solidify the “legality” of human rights norms (helping them become more “law-like”).

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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.