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Current News and Announcements

Injustice, Memory and Faith in Human Rights is a multi-disciplinary collection published by Routledge and edited by Kalliopi Chainolgou, Barry Collins, Michael Philips and John Strawson.  The edited volume interrogates the role of human rights in addressing past injustices. It grew out of a workshop organized by the CHRC in June 2013 to discuss human rights and historical memory inspired by the Spanish law on historical memory, organized by Barry Collins.

The volume draws on legal scholars, political scientists, anthropologists and political philosophers grappling with the weight of the memory of historical injustices arising from conflicts in Europe, the Middle East and Australasia. It examines the role of human rights as legal doctrine, rhetoric and policy as developed by states, international organizations, regional groups and non-governmental bodies. The authors question whether faith in human rights is justified as balm to heal past injustice or whether such faith nourishes both victimhood and self-justification.

These issues are explored through three discrete sections: moments of memory and injustice, addressing injustice; and questions of faith. In each of these sections, authors address the manner in which memory of past conflicts and injustice haunt our contemporary understanding of human rights. The volume questions whether the expectation that human rights law can deal with past injustice has undermined the development of an emancipatory politics of human rights for our current world.
The Swedish Armed Forces International Centre training on legal aspects of UN Peacekeeping Operations, run by Pall Davidsson of Transition International, is using material from the textbook authored by Sriram, Martin-Ortega and Herman, War, conflict and human rights: Theory and practice.  The training runs for two groups. A) staff officers of Troop Contributing Countries to UN Peacekeeping Operations and B) civilian staff currently deployed or to be deployed in UN PKOs. For more information about the courses, see: http://www.forsvarsmakten.se/en/swedint/courses-at-swedint-and-how-to-apply/unsoc/ and
http://www.forsvarsmakten.se/en/swedint/courses-at-swedint-and-how-to-apply/uncivsoc/.
Details about the second edition of the textbook can be found on the Routledge website.  The third edition will be released in late 2017/early 2018.


UEL students have delivered their first peer-to-peer workshops on hate speech and hate crime, designed and developed by themselves, to an impressive group of young leaders at NewVic sixth form college. This first session focused on definitions, how to recognise hate speech and hate crime and how to distinguish it from bullying. Next week, there will be more guidance on how to intervene in a safe way when faced with a hate incident, including reporting options. Participants will also get practical support from our students and community organisers Citizens UK on how to take forward their own ideas for a campaign or project using what they've learned. The workshops are part of the Step Up to Hate project funded by UEL’s London Scholars programme.
Routledge have announced the publication of the third edition of War, Conflict and Human Rights co-authored by CHRC Director Chandra Lekha Sriram, Senior Research Fellow Johanna Herman and Olga Martin-Ortega, a former CHRC colleague and now Reader at Greenwich University.  Please see the Routledge website for further details.

On Wednesday 26th April 2017 Professor Michael Ignatieff, President and Rector of Central European University, Budapest, delivered a lecture titled 'The Refugee as the Invasive Other'. 

The video is available to watch here.

Walls, razor wire and fences are going up all over Europe - and North America too - as democracies face the challenge of mass migration. How do we reconcile refugees' rights of asylum with sovereign rights of border control and citizens' rights to security?

The language of rights is now on a collision course with the language of democracy and sovereignty. What role can the language of the gift play in sustaining political support for prudent migration policies?



Professor Sriram's article “Beyond transitional justice: Peace, governance and rule of law,” was published in the International Studies Review, one of the leading publications of the International Studies Association, and details can be found here.

 

Sylvie Namwase, a research student at the CHRC recently co-edited the volume Protecting the human rights of sexual minorities in contemporary Africa.  It is published by Pretoria University Law Press and is available for free download here.


Prof John Strawson's edited volume Law After Ground Zero originally published in 2002 has been republished in hardback by Routledge.

Following the events of September 11, a new legal order is emerging in which the 'terrorist threat' has been used as justification to marginalise human rights. This collection of themed essays offers an emphatic defence to the threats confronting our human rights culture. In analysing the role of the United Nations, the conduct of the Afghan war, domestic anti-terrorist legislation and the new debate about Islamic law, Law after Ground Zero demonstrates the future challenges that law will face within our global society.  It also offers accounts of how events have impacted on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Iraq and Afghanistan itself, as well as debates about international law, human rights and women's rights. This unique work will interest those studying or researching in the areas of international law, human rights and humanitarian law, international relations, politics, critical legal studies, Islamic law, culture and socio-legal studies.

Dr. Narmala Halstead, Reader in Anthropology, UEL

February 8, 2017

Time: 13:00 – 14:00 hours

US1.01, University Square Stratford, UEL

As post-truths, alternative facts and the rise of ‘sameness’ certainties populate the contemporary, raw racism and other hate-acts bid for the new norm. Consider this: an Indian cashier is asked if he will go home to India on the morning after the Brexit vote and, in turn, is defended by his ‘English’ co-worker. A Portuguese health worker is told off for her accent and is defended by someone who looks like her but with the ‘right’ voice.

This seminar considers that in everyday settings alongside and in contestation of violence, are many voices that form small and not so small acts of shared understandings, kindness and care as part of being human and through cosmopolitan notions of stranger-welcome.

The seminar explores these spaces as indicative of many reflexive individuals who bring their thinking and action to bear on issues of difficulties, as interventionist in   the age of the ‘140-letter character’ sound-bites and other public ‘performances’.

Narmala draws on long-term research in different countries, ongoing research in London, work in human rights and lived experiences to explore these issues through the role of reflexivity. She will discuss her work on self-reflexive individuals in cities and villages, and her current work on ‘experiences in and out of the ordinary’ in London, to develop this talk and to consider how it provides for civic engagement and intervention. She is developing non-textual formats on reflexive selves -   research participants and others are also being invited to nominate contributions to this work.

Thinking anthropologically considers that in privileging the voices and views of others, we inhabit and share worlds in ways that can challenge/ offer positive change to contemporary problems of difference and similarities. In teaching and learning anthropology, we draw in and out the potentiality and the existing knowledge of  acting reflexively as openings beyond bounded and absolute positions.

In Dialogue with anthropologists’ series Organised by the Anthropology and Contemporary Worlds Research Group, UEL

To read Chandra Lekha Sriram's article 'Rwanda takes the initiative to prosecute international crimes
itself' published in The Conversation click here.



Professor Sriram has published a new book with Oxford University Press and Hurst on Transitional Justice in the Middle East and North Africa. This edited volume includes leading scholars of the region and of human rights and transitional justice in the first book-length treatment of transitional justice processes in the wake of the “Arab Spring”.  Details can be found here. A working group summary report produced by the Center for International and Regional Studies, Georgetown University, Qatar, on the multi-disciplinary research initiative that led to this publication is available here.







On Monday 20 February 2017, the Kahane Oxy-at-the-UN Program hosted Professor Chandra Sriram to discuss the efficacy of transitional justice, referencing lessons from the Middle East after the Arab Spring. More details about the event are available here.
CHRC members Sally Holt, Tim Hall and Aaron Winter, in cooperation with Citizens UK, have secured support from UEL's London Scholars Programme for a new project: Step Up to Stop Hate. The project will work with youth age 16+ in four Newham schools and colleges to raise awareness and understanding around hate crime and provide practical guidance on how to act and seek support as a victim or bystander. Peer-to-peer workshops will be designed and delivered by UEL students trained, supported and supervised by UEL staff. Workshop participants will learn how to recognise hate crime, share their own experiences, and explore different options for responding to hate-driven incidents, including safe intervention techniques and reporting. They will then be supported by community organisers from Citizens UK to develop and carry out their own projects. 
This chapter, co-authored with former colleagues at the office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM), draws on the practical experience of the  HCNM in both using and developing soft law to protect minority rights and help build peaceful societies. It is published in the edited volume Tracing the Roles of Soft Law in Human Rights (Oxford University Press).   

3-year PhD studentship at UEL Centre on Human Rights in Conflict

The University of East London, Centre on Human Rights in Conflict, is pleased to announce a 3-year PhD studentship. A successful candidate will be supervised by a team led by Professor Chandra Lekha Sriram, and become a member of the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict (CHRC: www.uel.ac.uk/chrc).

Each studentship is for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress with a maintenance allowance of £16,510 for the 2017-18 academic year, plus a training bursary of £2,000. The stipend is tax-free.

For full details, please download the CHRC PhD Studentship PDF. For details on how to apply, visit the UEL Studentships page.

Chandra Sriram and Sally Holt have been awarded a research grant by the Folke Bernadotte Academy, the Swedish Government’s agency for peace, security and development. The grant is to conduct research in Colombia on efforts at accountability and peace, focusing on rule of law, gender, and land rights. The two-year project will begin in January 2017 and develop academic findings and policy suggestions.







Professor Chandra Lekha Sriram is part of a successful bid to the Global Challenges Research Fund.  The project, led by Dr. Kirsten Ainley at LSE, includes Chandra as a co-Investigator in a “Strategic network on justice, conflict and development”.  The project will hold strategic meetings with experts and stakeholders in Colombia, Sri Lanka, and Uganda, as well as a meeting in Lebanon for Syrian experts and stakeholders.  These will form the foundation for a continuing network as well as future research activities.











CHRC's Sally Holt is assisting the Europe Foundation in Georgia to mainstream minority concerns into their program development, design and monitoring. As part of this consultancy, she will also deliver training for Foundation staff on international standards and mechanisms for the protection of minority rights, as well as advocacy strategies to enhance minority participation and integration.







On 4 November 2016, CHRC Director, Professor Chandra Lekha Sriram, gave an invited Lecture at the International Nuremberg Principles Academy. This lecture, as part of the 70th anniversary conference commemorating the Nuremberg Trials, took place in the historic Courtroom 600, where the original trials took place. Professor Sriram spoke about the relationship between domestic accountability, peace, and democratisation and the effects of international trials. Further details can be found here.

A short version of Professor Sriram’s talk will be published by the Academy and available on the Centre’s website shortly.




On 18 October 2016 the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff, delivered a public lecture on 'Guarantees of Non-recurrence: the Future of Dealing with the Past' as part of a series of events celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict. Click here to watch a video of the lecture.


Maja’s article ‘Is there a right time for gender just peace? Feminist anti-war organising revisited’ has been published in a special issue of the journal Gender and Education Volume 28:3: If not now, when? Feminism in contemporary activist, social and educational contexts. You can download the article here: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/6nVNADmDdyKSs6viBQZ3/full

Sally Holt delivered a statement at the UN human rights headquarters in Geneva on 13 June as part of a CHRC initiative led by Jeremie Gilbert to lobby the UN's Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights to adopt a General Comment on land rights. The statement was delivered on behalf of a global conglomerate of organisations working on securing land rights across the globe. This effort, supported by UEL's Impact Fund, will be pursued in the next few months leading up to the Committee’s Autumn session.

On 25 April, Professor Chandra Lekha Sriram acted as a discussant for a seminar on accountability and justice in postconflict Sri Lanka at the University of London, SOAS: https://www.soas.ac.uk/human-rights-law/events/25apr2016-new-government-persistent-challenges--human-rights-accountability-and-justice-in-sri-lanka.html

The CHRC's Catherine Hobby will be speaking at the Institute of Employment Rights 1-day London conference on 'Human Rights vs. Bill of Rights: What's in it for workers?' on Wednesday 27 April 2016. For more about the IER see: http://www.ier.org.uk/

A similar event will take place in Liverpool on 19 May: http://www.ier.org.uk/node/2944

20 April 2016: As MPs debate today whether Islamic State's treatment of Christians and other minorities should be classed as genocide, UEL Professors John Strawson and Giorgia Dona speak out about the failure to learn lessons from previous genocides, including that in Rwanda: http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/uel_lecturers_call_for_action_against_islamic_state_genocide_1_4486758

John Strawson was interviewed by Premier Christian Radio on the Commons motion on Daesh and Genocide which is being debated today, 20 April 2016. An interview with Fiona Bruce the MP proposing the motion is also available here:

http://www.premierchristianradio.com/News/UK/MPs-to-vote-if-IS-killing-of-Christians-is-genocide
John Strawson was invited by Fathom Journal to respond to Perry Anderson’s long essay, ‘The House of Zion’, published in the November-December 2015 issue of New Left Review. Strawson argues that Anderson’s new position on Israel and Palestine offers only an abstract and rhetorical revolutionism that is unable to advance mutual recognition between the two peoples or secure their right to self-determination. Read the full text of Strawson's piece 'One-State is a Trap for Two Peoples in Palestine and Israel' here: http://fathomjournal.org/perry-andersons-house-of-zion-a-symposium-john-strawson/.
John Strawson said that the opinion of the UN working party on arbitrary detention carried little legal weight. It claimed that the UK and Sweden were arbitrarily detaining Julian Assange when he was in fact a fugitive from justice. The basis of the argument was that Ecuador had granted him asylum. This was an insult to the real refugees that we have at present in the Middle East and Europe. It was perversion of the asylum system to use as a way of shielding someone who was wanted for the investigation of serious sexual offenses including rape. The opinion seemed unconcerned with the human rights of the alleged victims. In many ways in was an affront to thousands of people who are being arbitrarily detained all over the world.  Strawson said, had the opinion been handed in as a student paper it might have scored a B+ for imagination but would have been lucky to get a C- for coherence.
Johanna Herman recently published a review of the book The Right to Reparation in International Law for Victims of Armed Conflict by Christine Evans in the Nordic Journal of Human Rights.  To access this article for free please use this link.
Professor Chandra Lekha Sriram participated in a symposium on Ruti Teitel's article "Transitional Justice and Judicial Activism: A Right to Accountability" on the Opinio Juris blog.  Her comments are available here.
Two members of the CHRC, Sally Holt and Jeremie Gilbert, recently authored the report "Moving towards a Right to Land: The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights' Treatment of Land Rights as Human Rights" with Minority Rights Group International as part of an initiative to support development of a UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) General Comment on Land Rights.  Rajiv Jebodh, a PhD student at UEL also contributed to the report, which provides a synthesis of the already substantial guidance on human rights and land issues elaborated by the CESCR and other UN bodies, focusing on thematic issues such as water, health and housing that have been identified as related to and impacting on land rights, as well as those groups requiring special attentions, such as minorities, indigenous peoples, women, children, IDPs and refugees. The next step of the process is to organise a seminar on land rights parallel to the CESCR session in June 2016 involving representatives of civil organisations working on land rights across the globe to highlight the importance of the issue is, and demonstrate global support for the evolution toward a ‘right to land’.
In November 2015, Chandra and Thomas Obel Hansen of the US University in Nairobi published an article in the International Journal of Transitional Justice: Fighting for justice (and security): Civil society strategies of accountability and their enemies.
In October 2015, Chandra published a working paper on Civil Society and Transitional Justice in Kenya as part of the Security in Transition Project at the London School of Economics. The paper came as part of a collaborative project with Iavor Rangelov of LSE and Phil Clark of SOAS, which involved a collaborative workshop with activists from Kenya, Uganda and the Balkans in Nairobi, and new field research in the relevant countries, funded by the MacArthur Foundation and the European Research Council.
On 8 October 2015, Chandra spoke at the University of Birmingham, GDSRC, as part of their program developing reading packs and supporting materials for DfID conflict advisers and others.  She spoke on “Responding to mass atrocities in conflict-affected settings.”  The talk was followed by a vibrant discussion of the challenges of addressing serious human rights violations, concerns about economic social and cultural rights violations in conflict-affected countries, and the current debates about expanding the concept of transitional justice.

The video of the talk can be found here and the link to the reading pack is here.

After nearly 40 years of service to the University of East London and its predecessors, John Strawson retired in August 2015.  We at the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict wish to take the opportunity to recognise the invaluable contributions John made over the decades with his research and teaching to the field of Middle East and Islamic Law and to the School of Law itself through his research leadership.  In particular, he has supported the CHRC immeasurably through his leadership and collaboration, and will continue to do so as the head of our international advisory group.  We are pleased that although John has retired from UEL, we will continue to benefit from his expertise and collegiality.

John will be giving a commencement lecture, on 25 November, and all are welcome. Details are available on the Events page, under 'Fall/Spring Seminars'.

Chandra Lekha Sriram, Director of the CHRC has published a paper with Anja Mihr examining the interaction of transitional justice and rule of law and security sector reform, identifying key concepts, actors, processes, and challenges in pursuing multiple processes simultaneously.  It is available for download here.
In January 2015 CHRC staff delivered the last in a series of workshops on human rights and conflict resolution for Greek and Turkish Cypriot youth. Over the course of the project more than 120 participants from diverse backgrounds have taken part in seven 3-day workshops held in Famagusta in the north and in the UN buffer zone in Nicosia.  Trainees were guided through a process of identifying and analysing problematic human rights situations and related conflict dynamics using a human rights framework, identifying strategic goals and potential targets for action, and exploring different tactics to achieve these goals. They now have the opportunity to apply for small grants to fund their own CR and human rights-related projects.

More pictures of the trainings and information about the Youthopia Project which is delivered through the Famagusta Youth Center (MAGEM) in northern Cyprus in cooperation with partners in the south, Youth Power, can be found on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/youthopiacy

Dr. Jérémie Gilbert who is a Reader in Law, and a member of the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict, has been recently invited to give an expert witness statement before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The court was established by the Organization of American States to enforce and interpret the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerns the Kaliña and Lokono indigenous peoples of Suriname and their land rights. This case arises from petitioners’ claims that the indigenous property rights of the Lower Marowijne Peoples are neither recognised nor respected in the laws of Suriname. Petitioners claim that the State’s laws, in violation of the American Convention on Human Rights, vest ownership of all untitled lands and natural resources in the State, fail to provide adequate remedies for protection of indigenous property rights, and do not recognize the juridical personality of the Lower Marowijne Peoples for the purpose of holding land titles or seeking protection for their communal rights.

Dr. Gilbert was invited to provide an expert opinion to the Court.

See order of the President of the Court available at:

http://www.corteidh.or.cr/docs/asuntos/kaliñaylokono_18_12_14_eng.pdf

Dr. Gilbert provided a statement regarding the interaction between protected areas and human rights law of indigenous peoples, and on the balancing of property rights between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. He answered questions from the representatives of the victims and the government, before providing more details answers to the judges.

The hearing is available to be watched online at:

http://vimeo.com/118808177
(Dr. Gilbert presentation starts at 2 hours within the video)

Professor Chandra Lekha Sriram, Co-Director of the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict was a guest on the BBC World News on 10 December 2014, discussing the release of the report of the Brazilian truth commission in the context of truth commissions globally. The interview is available here.

It's very exciting when an activist social media campaign goes viral. But what if all that energy is misdirected, or merely "slacktivism"? How can we harness social networking to work towards real engagement and positive change?  CHRC Research Fellow examines #StopKony #BringBackOurGirls #nomakeupselfie #YesAllWomen and the #IceBucketChallenge in this article for Carnegie Ethics Online
John Strawson has written a specially commissioned article for the Pluto Press blog that puts the Gaza conflict in a broader, regional context.  The post is available here.
Sally Holt, Research Fellow at the CHRC recently authored the FAO e-learning course 'Addressing Disputes and Conflicts over the Tenure of Natural Resources' .  This e-learning course provides guidance on managing competition over the use of land, fisheries and forests. The course introduces a process for analysing the underlying causes of disputes and conflicts. It also illustrates a range of dispute resolution mechanisms and some options for policy and legal reforms to prevent disputes and reduce vulnerability to conflict.  It is now available online.
During his recent visit to Israel, John Strawson, co-director of the CHRC wrote some thoughts on "Researching the Middle East: conflict, threats, possibilities" available at the CHRC blog.  Part I and Part II

The Centre on Human Rights in Conflict is pleased to announce the publication of the research report Local voices in internationalised justice: The experience of civil parties at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia by Research Fellow Johanna Herman.  

The experience of civil parties participating in Case 002 at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) provides important insights into victim participation in a mass atrocity trial. Understanding the expectations of civil parties and evaluating their experience so far will help us to improve victim support at future cases at the ECCC and other internationalised courts.

The report presents the findings from interviews with civil parties at the beginning of Case 002/01 and identifies key themes, lessons learned and areas for future research.  This project was funded by the Nuffield Foundation and led by Johanna Herman.

John Strawson, co-director of the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict has recently published the chapter "Translating the Hedaya: colonial foundations of Islamic law" in Shaunnagh Dorsett and John McLaren (eds.) Legal Histories of the British Empire: Laws, engagements and legacies (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2014), 157-170.
Johanna Herman, Research Fellow at the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict has written a blog post "How #bringbackourgirls could protect #allgirls" for the Huffington Post about the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign, the controversy surrounding armchair activism and ways to build on the momentum of the campaign to further the rights of women and girls in conflict.

The Centre for Human Rights in Conflict will be running a workshop on ‘Land Grabbing, Land Rights and Human Rights” on 6th June 2014. The workshop, which is funded by a grant from the Modern Law Review will address the controversial issue of ‘land grabbing’ which refers to a sharp acceleration in acquisition of lands globally by foreign investors in developing countries seeking to produce crops for export. This often results in forced displacement and loss of livelihoods for the local populations. Focusing on the links between human rights and land rights in theory and practice, the workshop will offer a unique opportunity to gather the thoughts and perspectives of key international scholars and practitioners whose work on issues related to land rights is rarely congregated. 

The seminar is organised by Jeremie Gilbert. Details are available on the Events page, under 'Workshops'.
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The Centre on Human Rights in Conflict is pleased to announce the publication of the second edition of War, Conflict and Human Rights: Theory and Practice.  The book is co-authored by Chandra Lekha Sriram and Johanna Herman from the CHRC and Olga Martin-Ortega from Greenwich University.  War, Conflict and Human Rights is an innovative, interdisciplinary textbook combining aspects of law, politics, and conflict analysis to examine the relationship between human rights and armed conflict. This second edition has been revised and updated, making use of both theoretical and practical approaches.  The book:
  • examines the tensions and complementarities between protection of human rights and resolution of conflict, including the competing political demands and the challenges posed by internal armed conflict;
  • analyses the different obligations and legal regimes applicable to state and non-state actors, including non-state armed groups, corporations and private military and security companies;
  • explores the scope and effects of human rights violations in contemporary armed conflicts, such as those in Sierra Leone, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the former Yugoslavia, and implications for the "Arab Spring";
  • assesses the legal and institutional accountability mechanisms developed in the wake of armed conflict to punish violations of human rights law, and international humanitarian law such as the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the International Criminal Court;
  • discusses continuing and emergent global trends and challenges in the fields of human rights and conflict analysis.

This volume will be essential reading for students of war and conflict studies, human rights, and international humanitarian law, and highly recommended for students of conflict resolution, peacebuilding, international security and international relations, generally.  To order with a 20% discount, please use the code from this flyer.

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