Model Guidelines on Equality, Non-Discrimination, and Diversity within Research

As a result of the #MeToo movement, women within academia have been reflecting on the need to set clear standards to change workplace culture and set the foundation for best practices.  There is currently an initiative at the University of Oslo Faculty of Law to promote new guidelines which articulate postive actions, identify negative practices, and set forth relevant substantive and procedural standards.  It is published here with the aim of serving as a model to other faculties and universities.

Model Guidelines on Equality, Non-Discrimination, and Diversity within Research

The Faculty of Law is committed to providing a positive research environment which recognizes diversity as a strength and source of creativity. The Faculty of Law seeks to enable researchers of diverse backgrounds to be able to pursue their intellectual aspirations and enjoy a meaningful careers. The increased recruitment of women and persons of diverse backgrounds to research positions and research leadership positions is an aim of the Faculty of Law. For women and persons of diverse backgrounds to enjoy equality in research programs, this requires equal right to inclusive participation, respect, and access to possibilities for advancement and enjoyment of the workplace environment. Research programs/groups are obligated to prevent discrimination by taking concrete action to correct discriminatory attitudes and structures and promote a respectful workplace environment.

Positive Structural Actions The Faculty of Law will take specific measures to ensure that all researchers, irrespective gender, transgender identity or expression, national, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation or age will have equal access to research opportunities and shall not be subjected to diminished prestige and lack of power.

Recruitment: Research programs will make best efforts to recruit women and persons of diverse backgrounds as researchers and research leaders- through processes that are inclusive, clear, accessible, and transparent. The Faculty of Law will endeavor to enable researchers to pursue research-related teaching.

Evaluation: The heightened visibility of women and persons of diverse backgrounds as researchers and research leaders risks increased pressure and overly critical examination of their performance, prompting overachievement or underachievement. Evaluations should be designed to identify such risks and respond with an adequate strategy.

Transparancy: The Faculty of Law commits to upholding the principle of transparency in recruitment, evaluation, advancement, and demotion/dismissal of women and persons of diverse background within research programs.

Reporting: Research programs will submit reports on what actions they have taken to promote equal participation and advancement of women and diverse researchers. Research groups are to identify and correct both formal and informal mechanisms of subordination and marginalization. Research Leaders are to set empowerment goals for female and diverse researchers at all levels. LIMU will conduct an evaluation in situations where there are women leaving research projects.

Prizes and Citations: The Faculty of Law will commit to nominating women for research prizes, maintain a bibliography of research by women, promoting a citation policy which reminds academic staff to cite women researchers, assist women researchers in attaining access to research conferences, etc.

Seminars/Workshops to promote Advancement and Retention of Women Researchers:  The Faculty of Law commits to increasing the appointment of women to Research Leadership positions and ensuring retention of women leaders. The Law Faculty will offer workshops to women researchers on relevant topics, such as improving the CV, writing research applications, publishing in international journals, Understanding Gender Dimensions of Leadership/Women Role Models. Women researchers at all levels will be given information on their rights and possibility for redress.

The Faculty of Law will also offer regular gender training to Research Leaders to promote awareness, such as Recognizing Unconscious Gender Bias, Devaluation, Exclusion, and Stereotyping when evaluating and interacting with women research staff, Strategies for Retention of Women Research Leaders, Supporting the Work-Life Balance, etc. Research leaders are to understand that commitment to gender equality is measurable in words and actions.

Research Forum: The Faculty of Law will establish a Research Forum where researchers can meet to discuss research ideas and experiences with each other and discuss gender equality practices.

Mentor Program: Women researchers and researchers of diverse backgrounds may benefit from access to mentors to discuss the challenges of pursuing research.[1] The Faculty of Law will expand the mentor program to encourage women researchers and researchers of diverse backgrounds (including research fellows, researchers, and research leaders) to seek and serve as mentors.

Access to research assistance: The Faculty of Law will provide research assistance to women researchers in order to facilitate meeting research deadlines.[2]

Mobility: Women researchers have lower rates of mobility. One aspect is the challenge presented by combination of parenthood responsibilities with a research career. The Faculty of Law shall aim to solicit funds to create a grant for parents seeking to pursue research stays abroad in order to support costs relating to childcare, education, or other costs related to the maintenance of children abroad.

Women researchers will not be forced to commute away from small children when part of a research project. Facilitation of part-time physical presence should be pursued in order to support the balance of family commitments and academic career.

Individual Discrimination, Harassment, Exclusion, Devaluation & Tokenism

The Faculty of Law is committed to countering discrimination, exclusionary practices, devaluation of research, humiliation, and harassment within research programs and recognizes a no-tolerance position on these practices. Research staff shall not be subject to discrimination on the grounds of sex, ethnicity, age, disability, or sexual orientation.

The Faculty of Law will provide a course on discrimination, harassment, exclusionary practices, marginalization, devaluation of research, and stereotyping (“overly-sensitive-difficult-insubordinate-oppositional”) to research staff and disseminate these guidelines. Passive-aggressive exclusion is unacceptable. Examples of such behavior include failure to include a researcher in meetings or events, ignoring or overlooking a researcher in meetings and events, subtle insults, forgetting to cite or list a researcher in reports, devaluation of research, and failure to provide constructive feedback- instead providing unclear feedback or no feedback.

The Faculty of Law will seek to provide a safe work environment for women researchers by taking measures to ensure that women will not be harassed by employees or students on social media.

Definitions of Discrimination and Harassment

EU Directive 2006/54/EC of 5 July 2006 on the Implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation

Article 2- Definitions

Direct Discrimination- where one person is treated less favorably on grounds of sex than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation

Indirect discrimination– Where an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would put persons of one sex at a particular disadvantage compared with persons of the other sex, unless that provision, criterion, or practice is objectively justified by a legitimate aim, and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary

Harassment- Where unwanted conduct related to the sex of a person occurs with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment

Sexual Harassment– Where any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature occurs, with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment

Tokenism- The achievement of gender balance among researchers and research leadership is valued by Research Funds, such as the European Research Council. It is important that women researchers not be treated as tokens within research programs, in which they are recruited because of their gender in order to prove the non-discriminatory quality of the program. They are permitted to form part of a research program but not allowed to enjoy full participation due to coercive, authoritarian treatment, denial of advancement opportunities, exclusionary practices, psychological stress, alienation, devaluation, or demotion.  These practices carry a risk of additionally promoting gender stereotypes (the workaholic, the mother, etc.)  This results in demotivation, frustration, negative self-image, isolation, marginalization, and reduced aspirations and performance.

Complaint Mechanism: Persons who experience discrimination, harassment, or exclusion are to contact the Head of Department, alternatively LIMU or LAMU, or the Speak Up procedure. All Department Heads are to inform researchers about the availability of these procedures.[3]

 Termination, Dismissal, or Demotion within Research Programs

The Faculty of Law will conduct a gender assessment of termination of contract, dismissal, and demotions involving women within research programs. All such proceedings must meet procedural requirements of written notice, identification of substantive grounds for termination, representation by union and administration, and fair opportunity to respond.

 Documenting a Demotion

The project director or manager must be able to produce specific documentation in order to support an involuntary demotion. Examples of specific documentation include a poor performance evaluation, disciplinary warning letters, or documentation of lack of work, reorganization, or change in sponsored program needs.

LIMU, the Faculty Administration, and the Union must assist and advise project directors and managers in documenting a case for demotion.

Notifying Researcher and Reviewing a Demotion

The LIMU, administration, and Union must review the supporting documentation for a demotion before a demotion is implemented.

If a researcher elects a voluntary demotion, the union or administration must be available to counsel the employee.

Providing Notification Memorandum to Researcher/Written Request by Researcher

If the demotion action is involuntary, the project director or manager must provide, after consultation with the office responsible for personnel matters, a written notification memorandum to the researcher who is being demoted. The written notification memorandum must explain the reason(s) for the demotion, the effective dates for the demotion, and whether the demotion is temporary or permanent.

For a voluntary demotion, the researcher must provide his or her project director or manager with a written request for the demotion.

Retaining the Notification Memorandum/Written Request

For involuntary demotions, a copy of the notification memorandum sent to the researcher must be retained in the personnel file. When a researcher requests a voluntary demotion, a copy of the written request must be retained in the personnel file.

 

 

[1] https://www.uio.no/english/for-employees/competence/gender-equality/mentoring-programme/

[2] https://www.uio.no/for-ansatte/enhetssider/jus/ledelses-og-utvalgsmoter/limu/

[3] http://www.uio.no/english/about/hse/speak-up/index.html

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Call for Papers: Vulnerability, Protection, and Agency: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Migration

24-25 May 2018, Law Faculty, University of Oslo, Norway

Organized by the Research Group on International Law and Governance in collaboration with the Research Group on Human Rights, Armed Conflict, and Law of Peace & Security, and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO)

Migration is presenting a challenge to migration practitioners, policymakers and academics given the manifestation of extra-territorial approaches, increased reliance on technology, and weakening of accountability for violations of rights. Migrants are increasingly limited in accessing rights and in receiving protection from harm when fleeing, both en route and upon arrival.   The phenomenon of irregular migration, often organized by human smugglers, foments vulnerability. Legal and operational structures result in discriminatory treatment, detention, and deportation, signaling what Boaventura de Sousa Santos characterizes as “abyssal thinking”.  The majority of migrants and displaced persons actually remain within their own countries or regions in Africa and Asi, thus we also seek understanding of the consequences of internal migration/displacement and “trapped migration” e.g. the Rohingya exodus, the Syrians, and Ukrainians.

A juxtaposition is the articulation of migrants’ agency, relating to their journey, drive to seek protection and regular status, and survival.  Their agency is both strengthened and weakened by the use of technology and social media, modes of travel, smuggling and use of migration brokers, the migration industry (detention, biometrics, security), transnational remittances.

Finally, we consider the complex situation of the asylum bureaucracies; there are disagreements among and within Ministries of Justice, Immigration Boards, Immigration Judges and regular case workers as to the legality or morality of regulations and policy implementation.  There are tensions regarding limited accountability of state and non-state actors acting in a official capacity as well as the negative and positive impact on the agency of migrants.  Migrants have mixed experiences communicating with interpreters, police, caseworkers, and other actors.

The lack of an international refugee law court has resulted in a flood of cases being presented to human rights courts and committees at the universal and regional levels resulting in increased fragmentation without attaining normative clarity.

This conference calls for papers proposing how to move beyond the abyss, welcoming perspectives from law and the social sciences (including geography, anthropology, sociology, criminology, and IR); interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged.  We call for paper proposals from scholars, policy makers, or practitioners, at different stages of their careers, Phd candidates, post-docs, and professors.   Proposals for a poster session will also be evaluated:

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Go On! Legitimacy of Unseen Actors in International Adjudication

 

On 26 and 27 October, the Conference on the Legitimacy of Unseen Actors in International Adjudication will take place in The Hague, co-organised by the PluriCourts Centre of Excellence (Oslo University) and the Europa Instituut (Leiden University).

 

‘Unseen actors’ are central to the ‘institutional makeup’ of international courts and tribunals as registries and secretariats, law clerks and legal officers may exert varying levels of influence on the judicial process.

 

At this conference, legal and political science scholars and members of adjudicatory institutions will consider and discuss the legitimacy of assigning ‘unseen actors’ certain roles in the judicial process as well as the implications thereof for the dispute settlement mechanism as such.

 

The Conference Programme and link for registration are now available at http://www.leidenlawconference.nl/8-conferences/31-unseen-actors . For more information, please email Prof. dr. Freya Baetens at freya.baetens@jus.uio.no .

 

Policy Brief on Women in Da’esh- From Recruitment to Sentencing

Ester Strømmen has recently published a PRIO policy brief on Women in Da’esh

Da’esh has stunned the world with gross human rights abuses, gendered violence, and practices of sexual slavery, and yet, the organization has attracted a large amount of female recruits. Women who have joined Da’esh have been met with a storm of disbelief and gendered commentary, and have even been designated their own term – ‘jihadi brides’. This policy brief by Ester Strommen from PluriCourts, the University of Oslo, explores agency and women in Da’esh: why women join, their roles, and how women are treated if they return to the West. The brief illuminates how gendered understandings of Western female foreign fighters are affecting judicial processes and potentially creating gaps in our security structure. It examines how gendered narratives in sentencing may be in conflict with UNSCRes 2178 and CEDAW.

 

Read the full policy brief here.

Ester Strømmen is research assistant at PluriCourts at the Department of Public and International Law, University of Oslo, Norway.  She works within the pillar on International Criminal Law. She holds a Masters of Law (LLM) in Public International Law from the University of Oslo, and an M.A. (Honours) from the University of St. Andrews in International Relations. Her research areas include international criminal law, counter terrorism and human rights, foreign fighters and gender and terrorism.

Conference on the Legitimacy of Unseen Actors in International Adjudication

On 26 and 27 October, the Conference on the Legitimacy of Unseen Actors in International Adjudication will take place in The Hague, co-organised by the PluriCourts Centre of Excellence (Oslo University) and the Europa Instituut (Leiden University).

 

‘Unseen actors’ are central to the ‘institutional makeup’ of international courts and tribunals as registries and secretariats, law clerks and legal officers may exert varying levels of influence on the judicial process.

 

At this conference, legal and political science scholars and members of adjudicatory institutions will consider and discuss the legitimacy of assigning ‘unseen actors’ certain roles in the judicial process as well as the implications thereof for the legitimacy of the dispute settlement mechanism as such.

 

Please find the Call for Papers here: http://www.jus.uio.no/pluricourts/english/news-and-events/events/2017/2017-10-26-unseen-actors.html . The deadline for submission of abstracts via email to unseenactors@jus.uio.no is 31 May. Feel free to email Prof. dr. Freya Baetens (freya.baetens@jus.uio.no) for further information.

Advanced Summer Programme Countering Terrorism: Legal Challenges and Dilemmas

In the past years, terrorism has continued to gain ground as one of the most complex and pressing problems of contemporary societies. Terrorist attacks have hit countries around the world, pushing governments to adopt new policies and measures attempting to address a constantly evolving threat. In order to understand and respond to the global problem of terrorism, the Asser Institute and the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT) are offering the unique Advanced Summer Programme on Countering Terrorism: Legal Challenges and Dilemmas. During an intensive week, experts will provide participants with key insights into the current issues surrounding counter-terrorism from a legal perspective, together with state-of-the-art tools to respond to terrorism.

Programme
The comprehensive programme addresses counter-terrorism from a variety of perspectives. Topics covered include the definition of terrorism; the notion of ‘global war on terror’; the legal framework surrounding the use of armed drones for targeted killings; the protection of human rights while countering terrorism; preventive and repressive responses to the phenomenon of foreign fighters; challenges regarding the prosecution of (returning) foreign fighters; and the role of intelligence gathering and sharing in counter-terrorism. The lectures are complemented with study visits to international institutions in The Hague.

What will you gain?
A solid understanding of the different challenges, underlying dilemmas, and rule-of-law responses when countering terrorism; An outstanding opportunity to explore, together with high level speakers, longterm,effective, international rule-of-law-based strategies and measures for countering terrorism; and unique networking opportunities with speakers and participants from diverse backgrounds.

Who should participate?
The summer programme is designed for front-line practitioners, policy makers, diplomats and (military) lawyers. Professionals working at think-and-do tanks, international organisations, universities (including PhD students) and in the criminal justice sector who want to expand their knowledge of the underlying legal tenets and dilemmas in countering today’s and tomorrow’s terrorism are also invited to apply.

28 August – 1 September 2017, The Hague
Fee: € 1695
Registration: www.asser.nl/CT2017
Registration deadline: 23 July 2017
Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
Contact: educationtraining@asser.nl

Write On! THE ROLE OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS: JURISPRUDENCIAL ADVANCES AND NEW RESPONSES

CALL FOR PAPERS

Workshop – Oslo, Norway
15 May 2017

Aims
This workshop has three specific aims. Firstly, it focuses on the identification and discussion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ (IACtHR) valuable contribution to the field of International Human Rights Law, particularly in connection to new issues reaching this judicial body. Secondly, aware of existence of negative reactions provoked by some IACtHR’s decisions in determined States, the workshop aims at identifying and analyzing specific factors determining or influencing such rejection. Lastly, this workshop encourages the discussion of possible alternatives for solving those challenges. Through a systematic view of these three aspects, the organizers of the workshop wish to contribute to a better understanding of the role of the IACtHR in the region.

Selection and Format
Participants will be selected on the basis of abstracts submitted in response to this call for papers by 20 March 2017. We are looking for concept notes and working papers on the topics described below or similar. Papers should present innovative ideas and be unpublished at the moment of presentation. Submissions must be addressed to Leiry.Cornejo@EUI.eu or n.t.zuniga@nchr.uio.no. Please include your CV and current institutional affiliation.

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