Work On! Call for Applications: 2022 Summer Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Work On! is an occasional item about workshops, roundtables, and other fora that do not necessarily include publication:

American University Washington College of Law’s Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is pleased to announce the  2022 Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. Offering a robust program that includes 17 courses in English and Spanish, and bringing to you the top human rights experts in the field. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn, in real-time, from experts that are actively addressing the most relevant and current issues in the human rights field. Participants will also network with mid-career professionals, human rights defenders and activists, and law students from all over the world!

The Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is an important referent in the world in topics of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and it is the only Academic Institution in the US with programs in English, Spanish and Portuguese. American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL), International Law program is ranked #6 among all the law schools in the country according to U.S. News & World Report. AUWCL has also been featured as the best schools for diversity and International Law, and in 2021 received the A+ ranking in International Law from preLaw Magazine.

Follow the links below for more information on courses, professors and registration. 

Courses: https://bit.ly/2Be9WjA

Professors: https://bit.ly/39dmEN

Registration: https://bit.ly/2v58mQ8

Fill out the survey: https://forms.gle/tgo5qmynbTewySYm8

*The program will also have online offerings for those unable to come to the in-person program.    

*U.S. students seeking ABA credits can also enroll! Please contact the program for pricing at hracademy@wcl.american.edu

Write On! 2022 Environmental Crimes and Protection Conference: Call for Abstracts

The Common Good Foundation and the Jersey Law Commission (Channel Islands) will be hosting the 2022 Environmental Crimes and Protection Conference on March 17-18, 2022 in Coral Gables, Florida, USA.

The purpose of this international conference is to bring together professionals from various professional disciplines to discuss emerging trends and responses to environmental crimes and environmental protection. Some areas of interest for this year’s conference include: green colonialism, ecocide, technological responses to environmental crimes, slavery and the environment, gender-based violence and the environment, and the right to a healthy environment.

The deadline for abstract submission is January 31, 2022 at midnight (EDT). For more information, click here.

ECtHR’s Lost Opportunities in its Transformative Rulings: Queer Interpretation of Right to Privacy and Protection from Discrimination

European Court of Human Rights © Christian Lemâle

Previous year the European Court of Human Rights [‘the Court’ or ‘ECtHR’] delivered some significant rulings strengthening ECtHR’s jurisprudence on Article 8 and Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights [‘Convention’] concerning Queer rights. The author in this article revisits three rulings of the ECtHR to argue that, nevertheless of being progressive rulings, the Court did fall short in addressing some major issues.

Firstly, in AM v. Russia, the Court ruled that Russian Court violated Trans individual’s rights under Article 8 read with Article 14 of the Convention by ending all contact between a trans woman and her children without a balanced and reasonable assertion of the legitimate interests [see here & here].

In the AM case, the Russian authorities and the applicant’s wife argued that the applicant is suffering from Transsexualism and further contended that the applicant’s intention to disclose her gender transition information to her children will impact their mental health and psychological development. This institutionalised prejudice of Russian authorities, nevertheless of ‘homosexuality propaganda law’ being held as unconstitutional in the state, exacerbates the ‘vicious wheel’ connected with prejudiced perceptions against trans individuals and a lack of education and awareness on Queer rights. The Court fails to address this elephant in the room, that how these prejudiced notions could impact the children’s education and perception about their parent’s gender identity.

When addressing the ‘best interests of the children’s, the Court had the chance to conceptualise the children’s right to non-discrimination on the grounds of their parents’ gender identity under Article 2 Convention on the Rights of the Child [‘CRC’], and the right to preserve personal relations and direct communication with both parents continuously under Article 9/3 CRC. Further, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child General Comment no. 14 also stipulates their right to receive information on Queer Community challenges as well as gender identity and transition under Article 13 CRC and the right to education under Article 28 and, Article 29 of the CRC. Arguably, the ECtHR could have delved into significant length concerning the challenges with utilizing negative preconceptions about transgender individuals to rationalize restraining relationships and communication between transgender parents and their children.

In the second ruling, the Fedotova v. Russia, the Court ruled that Russia’s failure to provide same-sex couples with the opportunity to have their relationships formally acknowledged in form of a marriage, or in any other form is in violation of Article 8 & 10 [see here and here].

Nevertheless, the application was brought for recognition of same-sex marriage, the Court doesn’t feel adequate to discuss Article 12 [‘right to marry’] anywhere in the ruling. The Court concluded that the moral views of the majority cannot be used to deny sexual minorities access to forms of legal recognition. Taking reference from queer interpretations of the ECHR (here and here), which consider the inherent heteronormative (i.e. bi-genderism) notion of most of the Convention’s rights and how to transgress this dialectic. Regardless of the fact (which is still unclear), whether the applicant didn’t include Article 12 or not, the Court itself could have incorporated Article 12 of its own volition.

Not only Supreme Courts of other jurisdictions [the US and South Africa] but also the international institutions like Inter American Court of Human Rights [‘IACtHR’] have rejected the anti-majoritarian notion. It can be argued, that the Court’s rationale of Schalk and Kopf v. Austria, i.e. the appreciation of the majority opinion, remains viable. Furthermore, it can be argued that the ECtHR entirely embraces Article 12’s “heterosexual structure,” principally rendering the article inapplicable to same-sex relationships.

The second issue is the necessity of the non-discrimination principle under Article 14. The applicants did claim on Article 14, however, the Court concluded that it was not relevant because it heretofore ruled the violation of Article 8. Since Dudgeon v. UK, it has been a well-established tenet of the ECtHR that rules that discrimination does not need to be investigated if it is not “a crucial element of the case“. It is unrealistic to contend that the lack of legal recognition does not have a severe discriminatory intent in a nation where same-sex individuals are continuously stigmatised and marginalised, where even the Constitutional Court supported the law on prohibition on “homosexuality propaganda.”

Lastly, in the  X v. Poland case, the Court ruled that there had been a violation of Articles 8 and 14 of the Convention after the domestic courts had refused to grant custody of the child on the grounds of the mother’s sexual orientation [on mother’s relationship with another woman].

Nevertheless, the observations that the Court concluded in its rationale, which was first observed in the Hoffmann v. Austria and have been repetitively reaffirmed in many of its rulings about allegations of discriminatory treatment against divorced parents, the Court overlooked an outstanding opportunity to state unequivocally that a parent’s sexual orientation does not influence their parental capabilities. The Court could have gone a step forward like it did in Vojnity v. Hungary, where the Court made clear that parents’ religious beliefs per se cannot influence their capacity to raise their children.

In Atala Riffo v. Chile, the IACtHR concluded that the Chilean Courts’ judgement to take children from their homosexual mother’s custody based on her sexual orientation was discriminatory, emphasising that ‘an abstract reference to the child’s best interest… without specific proof of the risks or damage to children that could result from the mother’s sexual orientation’ is not acceptable’

What is more disappointing is that the third-party intervention also highlighted Poland inequalities and prejudices in legal and practical matters concerning rainbow families and the attitude towards the Queer community being negative and Queerphobic. Later, the same was also emphasized by Judge Wojtyczek in his dissenting opinion. However, the Court still neglected to address this concern.

Conclusion: The Test Continues

These judgements are undoubtedly significant and are progressive in protecting trans parents’ rights, same-sex marriage recognition and discrimination on gender identity & sexual orientation. The author doesn’t question their contribution, however, the abovementioned arguments do signify the ECtHR’s inherent narrow approach in Queer Interpretation of Article 8 and 14. The ECtHR’s upcoming opportunities here, here and here, will further demonstrate the extent to which the Court is inclined to tread unprecedented ground in terms of acknowledging rainbow family relationships.

Go On! International Law Webinar

Transnational Justice Project

Go On! makes note of interesting conferences, lectures, and similar events.

►  The Transnational Justice Project announced open registration for the third (of four) Critical International Law Salon Series, which will be held on online February 4, 2022, from 12:00–14:00 ET. The theme of this webinar is Engaging International Human Rights in the Aftermath of a Global Crisis and it will involve discussion from the following panelists:

Lionel Zevounou, Université Paris Nanterre, France
Siba Grovogui, Cornell University, U.S.A.
Nicola Palmer, Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, U.K.
Kjersti Lohne, University of Oslo, Norway

For more information see the poster below or click here.

Write On! Reminder: 2022 Human Rights Essay Award Competition

ACADEMY ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN LAW 2020 (Fully Funded) - ASEAN  Scholarships

This installment of Write On!, our periodic compilation of calls for papers, includes calls for submissions to the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University, as follows:

The Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law, has announced it is currently accepting submissions to the upcoming 2022 Human Rights Essay Award Competition. The American University Washington College of Law will award two winners—one for submissions in English and one for submissions in Spanish—with a full scholarship (including lodging and transportation to and from Washington, D.C.) to complete the Certificate of Attendance or Diploma in the 2022 Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law which will take place from May 30 to June 17, 2022.  The topic of the 2022 Award is “Climate Change and Human Rights: Impacts, Responsibilities, and Opportunities.” Participants have the flexibility to choose any subject related to this topic, however, the scope of the essay must directly relate to this year’s topic, or it will be disqualified. The deadline to enter your submission is January 31, 2022.  

If you would like additional information or have any questions, we invite you to visit our website here or contact us via email at humanrightsessay@wcl.american.edu

On the Job! Legal Officer: Corruption Sanctions Coordinator at REDRESS

On the Job! compiles interesting vacancy notices, as follows:

► Applications are welcome from REDRESS, in coordination with the UK Anti-Corruption Coalition, for the position of Legal Officer: Corruption Sanctions Coordinator. The holder of this full-time, two-year position in London will lead the organization’s work on UK anti-corruption sanctions. The closing date for applications is Monday, January 3, 2022.

For more information on the position and how to apply, click here.

Can WTO MC12 Deliver for Developing Countries?

Conclusion of the negotiation on services domestic regulation at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on December 2nd (2021) shows that, despite the postponement of the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) work on advancing its agenda continues. But can the WTO MC12 deliver for developing countries?

Conducted on a plurilateral basis, only 67 of the WTO’s 164 members participated in negotiations on the new agreement which commits the signatories to incorporate measures for increased transparency, predictability, and effectiveness of licensing, qualifications, and technical standards for service providers. There is nothing revolutionary here. It is noteworthy, though, that only two of the G-90 group of developing countries (Mauritius and Nigeria) participated in the negotiations. So, even as the WTO celebrates this accomplishment, it also provides stark evidence of the schism between developed and developing members. While the organization moves on to engage new priorities of the more advanced economies, older issues of importance to many developing countries remain unresolved.

Is the Doha Development Agenda Dead?

Developing countries remain invested in the Development Agenda of the Doha Round of 2001. Launched as negotiations which would place at their heart the needs and interests of developing countries, progress has been grindingly slow. One key Doha Development Agenda (DDA) item, for example, is the work to review the Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) provisions in WTO Agreements to make them more precise, effective, and operational. SDT provisions in WTO Agreements give developing countries some flexibility in implementing their commitments and permit developed countries to treat them more favorably. The report prepared for MC12 on this issue (November 17, 2021) highlights the continued divergent views and lack of engagement by Members on the substance of ten proposals submitted by the G-90 group of developing countries. The G-90 proposals (access to the text has been restricted) seek to, among other things, establish implementation timelines, guarantee technical assistance and capacity-building programs, and ensure that governments have the policy space to pursue policies to meet their development objectives. With the lack of consensus, the likelihood that a draft Declaration on this issue so central to the interests of developing countries will be on the agenda at MC12 is remote.

Unresolved issues that date back to the 1995 Agreement on Agriculture were also integrated into the Doha Development Agenda with the goal of correcting and preventing distortions in world agricultural markets. Domestic support in the form of subsidies or direct payments to farmers and other agricultural interests distort trade by propping up uncompetitive industries or sectors and depressing prices. Under the 1995 WTO rules, all countries are allowed to provide support up to specified levels. 25 years later such trade-distorting domestic supports total almost one trillion US dollars. Most developing countries lack the financial resources to make such payments, making it the purview of rich countries. Having reached agreement at the 2015 Ministerial Conference on eliminating agricultural export subsidies, negotiations continue to set rules that will curtail these more egregious forms of support. On this issue as well, there is no sign that enough progress will be made to place it on the MC12 agenda.

For developing countries, these and other topics on the Doha Development Agenda remain central to their interests and are very much alive as negotiating issues, no matter how much developed countries seek to declare otherwise.

Can MC12 Deliver for Developing Countries?

MC12 can nevertheless deliver for developing countries. The Trade Facilitation Agreement of 2013 to reduce the bureaucratic delays and red tape that hamper the movement of goods and services across borders has been a bright spark. The first agreement concluded multilaterally, i.e., by all WTO members, in almost 20 years, it recognized the capacity constraints of developed countries and provided concrete commitments on technical assistance and capacity building. Members hope that at MC12, a similar approach can lead to another multilateral outcome with an Agreement on rules to eliminate fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing. Also part of the Doha Development Agenda, this issue has received renewed focus at the WTO and as a UN Sustainable Development Goal. SDT provisions have been an integral, if contentious, part of the negotiations. Members are taking advantage of the delayed start to MC12 to continue negotiations on the draft text.

Even as they strive towards progress in these areas, however, the ongoing plurilateral negotiations deserve the attention of developing countries. A case in point is the negotiations towards an Agreement on Investment Facilitation in which 100 WTO Members are currently engaged. This is an important issue to get right. The rules that emerge will, one way or the other, become enshrined in the trade architecture. SDT provisions are being contemplated with the usual focus on technical assistance for capacity-building. However, an Agreement to truly facilitate development through investment also means agreeing on rules that help honest governments and fair-minded investors determine an equitable distribution of profits derived from exploitation of a country’s resources; rules that help countries to negotiate fair deals that support development-oriented and sustainable outcomes.

(This is a cross-post from our DevelopTradeLaw blog site, where we also did a previous post exploring the role of WTO Ministerial Conferences and how the MC12 agenda had been taking shape.)

Write On! 2022 LPICT Rosalyn Higgins Prize

This installment of Write On!, our periodic compilation of calls for papers, includes calls for paper submissions for the 2022 LPICT Rosalyn Higgins Prize, as follows:

The Law & Practice of International Courts & Tribunals (LPICT) is accepting submissions for the Rosalyn Higgins Prize. The annual Rosalyn Higgins Prize awards EUR 1.000 of Brill book vouchers and a one-year LPICT subscription. The article should speak to law and practice of the International Court of Justice, either focusing solely on the ICJ or with the ICJ as one of the dispute settlement mechanisms under consideration. The winning article will also be published in LPICT and made freely available online for ninety days to maximize its dissemination.

Competition for the Prize is open to all: scholars, practitioners, and junior and senior professionals. Submissions will be selected via a double-blind peer review process by a Prize Committee, including both co-Editors-in-Chief. Submissions now open! Deadline: 30 April 2022

For more information, click here.

Write On! Extended Deadline for ACS Constitutional Law Scholars Forum Call for Papers

This installment of Write On!, our periodic compilation of calls for papers, includes calls to present proposals for constitutional law, ethics, or technology in law practice, as follows:

About Us | ACS

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy  announced a call for papers for the Seventh Annual Constitutional Law Scholars Forum,, to be held February 25, 2022, at Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law Campus in Orlando, FL. The Forum invites scholarly proposals at any stage before publication for the following topics: Constitutional Law, Ethics, or Technology in Law Practice. The Forum provides an opportunity for international and national scholars to
vet their work-in-progress in a welcoming, supportive environment. The Forum is not accepting
proposals from students at this time. Participants may present in person or virtually. The deadline to submit proposals is now January 1, 2022.

For more information, click here.