Announcements

  1. Call for Papers

Get your article published in an internationally indexed journal with a high  impact factor of  1. 73.  International Journal of Socio-Legal Analysis and Rural Development (IJSARD) is an online quarterly peer reviewed international journal on ‘Law’ and ‘Rural Development’. As the name suggests the journal will focus on the analysis of different laws for better understanding and research. The society needs the laws for proper functioning and thus the journal focuses to draw a special emphasis on various disciplines of social sciences, rural development and analysis of various aspects of law to improve the quality of research and explore the more realistic aspects of civilization’s sustainable developments. Establishing equilibrium between the society and law it will find the present and futuristic scope of growth and prosperity. Rural development is an essential part of a sustainable society.

Word limit:
Articles: 5,000-10,000 words.
Short Articles: 2,500-5,000 words.
Case study : 2,500-6,000 words

Theme
The articles must be related to Law and social sciences or rural development. They may relate Law or social sciences and rural development with other disciplines like Health, Agriculture, Law, Technology, Sustainable development, Environment and Climate change etc. The authors may take in account national and international perspectives.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Each submission must be accompanied with…

  • An abstract of not more than 200-250 words.
  • Main article.
  • List of References.
  • Short description about the author.
  • Formatting and Other Essentials:
  • Main text: Times New Roman, Font Size 12, 1.5 spaced.
  • Footnotes: Times New Roman, Font Size 10, single spaced.
  • Citation Method:  Any uniform citation.
  • The articles must be original and must not have been published earlier.

The articles must be sent to ijsard.editor@gmail.com by  20th January, 2017.

The submission must accompanied by a declaration that the contribution submitted is a piece of original research work of author and has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere.

  • All submissions will be subject to a plagiarism check. Professionals, Academicians, Scholars and Students of all disciplines are eligible to contribute.
  • Co-authorship will be allowed to a maximum of three authors and three separate certificates shall be issued for the publication of article in the journal.
  • The hard copy of certificate of publication.
  • The copy of the journal will be sent to them along with a certificate of publication and CD.
  • A sample paper for their reference.
  • The journal in form of a CD.
  • All the selected articles will be on the website.

Website: www.ijsard.org
Email: ijsard.editor@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ijsard
For any query, contact or visit website here.

2. Academic Networking Opportunity – A Message from the Law & Society Association:

This is an invitation to become a member of the newly-to-be-established “Queer Theory & Law in Global Society” Collaborative Research Network under the umbrella of the Law & Society Association. Because our work touches on the topic of the research network, we would love for you to join the conversation. At the moment we are looking simply for expressions of interest.

Continue reading

Standing Rock goes to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

image001The Indian tribes protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) took the Standing Rock movement to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on Friday, 2 December 2016. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and Yankton Sioux Tribe, with Earthjustice and the American Indian Law Clinic – UC Boulder, submitted a Request for Precautionary Measures Pursuant to Article 25 of the IACHR Rules of Procedure Concerning Serious and Urgent Risks of Irreparable Harm Arising Out of Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline to the IACHR. (Petition links at Stand with Standing Rock website)

The Commission has the authority to,

on its own initiative or at the request of a party, request that a State adopt precautionary measures. Such measures, whether related to a petition or not, shall concern serious and urgent situations presenting a risk of irreparable harm to persons …

The United States is a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The petition makes three central claims:

  • the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should not grant an easement across federal lands;
  • the United States failed to adequately consult and to prepare an adequate assessment of environmental and social impacts of the pipeline, required under both U.S. and international law; and
  • the United States has failed to protect peaceful protestors.

Continue reading

On the Paris Agreement’s imminent entry into force

The Paris Agreement will enter into force on 4 November 2016. The agreement requires the deposition of instruments of ratification or acceptance by at least 55 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. With the latest ratifications by the EU and New Zealand respectively – only a couple of days after India deposited its instrument of ratification – these conditions were fulfilled yesterday, on 5 October 2016. By that day, 72 Parties to the Convention had deposited their instruments accounting in total for 56,75 % of total global greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement will enter into force 30 days from this day – less than a year since its adoption!

Such rapid entry into force arguably is record-breaking; unparalleled in multilateral treaty making – environmental or not.

The adoption of Paris Agreement in December 2015 was hailed as a victory of multilateralism; as a sign of hope that the states of this world can get together and cooperate in the face of a global commons challenge. Yet, in Paris negotiators were in the dark about how long it would take before the agreement would become law; an international treaty. Certainly no-one expected this to happen within less than a year or only a little over six months since it was opened for signature on 22 April 2016 in New York.

It was no small achievement that states managed to reach an agreement on such complex issue as climate change. Yet, garnering their political will behind its legal bindingness is a significant feat which calls for some reflection.

How was it possible? Part of the answer lies in the very architecture and content of the agreement. It basically has been purpose-built to make it easy for states to come on board. By letting Parties come forward with their nationally determined contributions, the agreement managed to “pick up” every state where it is at this point of time, preserving the sovereign space. Without being overly prescriptive or intrusive, it brings states together under the same goals and principles, such as progression and highest possible ambition. Importantly, it aims at increasing collective ambition over time and through iterative, quinquennial processes to where ambition needs to be in order to achieve those goals – thereby creating a place for learning, experience, reflection and permanent political attention to climate change. Unsurprisingly, the legally binding obligations in the agreement are few and of purely procedural character. The effect of this is that most Parties – if not all – do not need to change their national laws in order to implement the agreement. Such “weightless burden” eases and accelerates domestic ratification procedures.

But the Agreement is no paper tiger. It is deferential to sovereign interests, yes. It had to. At the same time, it gives a sense of direction and of collective purpose. It combines international normative “pull” with meaningful international cooperation and coordination, with horizontal peer “pressure”, and with repetitive national processes which will demand the continuous work on effective and ambitious climate policies, despite changing governments or economic circumstances.

Another reason for this “rush to ratification”, is the unwavering support of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. In what might become his administration’s greatest legacy, he brought significant climate momentum to the UN system in organising high level events on climate change; the latest being the “special ratification event” on 21 September 2016 at which 31 states alone deposited their instruments of ratification or acceptance, crossing the first threshold for entry into force and jumping close to the bar on the second.

And, of course, there is the unprecedented alignment of political will of the world’s super powers; the US and China. In terms of political leadership, the Paris Agreement is one of the legacy projects for US President Barack Obama. His administration—along with China—has worked hard in recent months to ensure that the agreement takes effect. No doubt, the fact the US and China moved together created momentum, hope, expectation on others and a powerful surge to do the same. Importantly, the joining by the US and China also gave the necessary comfort to smaller emitters that the “big ones” are on board.

Yet, it is no G2-deal. 195 Parties to the UNFCCC adopted the agreement in Paris, 191 have signed it since, 74 have ratified or accepted so far. This means that the consensual scope is much broader than only between major powers. It is a truly multilateral deal. The obligations and entitlements are allocated fairly, in accordance with responsibilities and capacities. The agreement left the bifurcated approach of the Convention behind, which divided the world in Annex and non-Annex countries. It appeals to the vulnerable as well as the powerful, the economically advanced as well as to those that are least developed. Yet, across the large spectre of countries, it spans the normative canvas on which each and every Party can find its place in the common quest of avoiding dangerous anthropogenic climate change.

Moreover, the agreement itself has created a center of gravity. It draws in its force field the scientific community, a large and diverse array of stakeholders, civil society, private actors, companies, banks, insurances, all economic sectors, education, constituencies, voters. Science has never been as conclusive as now. Technology has seen rapid advances. Climate change has started to move from a burden to an opportunity – putting more emphasis on “change” and transformation of societies along low-greenhouse gas emission pathways. This, also, creates pressure and expectations; expectations which seem to compel states to ratifying the agreement. Pressure axes run vertically as well as horizontally (i.e. among states).

Peer pressure might, indeed, be the strongest reason for states to join the agreement. It has become politically correct, even “cool”, almost a competition, to ratify (quickly). Once a critical mass of countries had come forward, there seemed to be a gravitational pull on others. Not to miss the train, both in national and in international politics, created important momentum. Of course, there are also certain privileges to be had: Once the agreement enters into force, its decision-making body – the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (or short CMA) – will assume its competences. Only the Parties to the Paris Agreement would – and should – be eligible to participate in decision-making under this body. Now, while the “rule-book” of the Agreement remains largely to be written, a certain fear of missing out started to spread around the world. This in turn caused some side-eying on who else is joining the agreement – and a collective rush to parliamentary ratification procedures, or, for some, submitting an executive letter to the UN Secretary General.

A final, and perhaps not insignificant, reason lies in political “anti-leadership”. A country may only be as strong as its political leader. Because political leaders are a renewable resource, they come and go – with different takes on climate change. Some dedicated and constructive; others the complete opposite. Once the agreement enters into force, a Party can only get out by withdrawing from the Agreement. Withdrawal comes at a political cost – which may or may not prevent some Parties from taking this step – unless they have a leader who does not care or does not know or both. Now, withdrawal from the agreement is only possible after three years from entry into force – and even then will the withdrawal take effect only after one more year has passed. Which means that for four years after entry into force, no Party can leave the agreement. Four years is the duration of most elective periods for presidents and other heads of state. A Trump card, so to say, if it were needed.

With the imminent entry into force, the prophecy of the agreement – at least when it comes to taking effect – becomes self-fulfilling. The gravitational pull created the incentive necessary for others to join the agreement. It is evoking new behaviour, sufficiently influencing states so that their reactions (and actions) fulfil the conditions for entry into force, against all odds.

The hope is that this also extends to the effectiveness of the agreement itself, causing behavioural changes that matter. The first CMA in Marrakesh this November will show whether there is a positive feedback between belief and behaviour – or whether the agreement just enters into “farce”.

Interview with Georges Abi-Saab

In the latest edition of our series titled “Conversations with Leading Judges”, it was my great pleasure to interview Georges Abi-Saab, Honorary Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.  He was Member (and former Chairman) of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (since 2000). He was also Member of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Monetary Fund and of various international arbitral tribunals (ICSID, ICC, etc.)  Abi-Saab served as Judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice and Sometime Judge on the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda and Commissioner on the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC). He has published widely on international law in both English and French, including his General Course on Public International Law at the Hague Academy.

The interview touches upon a wide array of topics including pluralism within International Law, the New International Economic Order, politicization of the WTO Appellate Body, diversity within international adjudication, and other topics.  The  video interview is available at:http://www.jus.uio.no/english/services/knowledge/podcast/guest-lectures/2016/interview-with-his-honour-judge-georges-abi-saab.html

The full set of interviews is available at:  http://www.jus.uio.no/english/research/areas/intrel/interviews/

Accountability Counsel Internships

One of the premier human rights law firms in the country – Accountability Counsel – is looking for students and recent graduates interested in international law, human rights, accountability, dispute resolution, complex negotiations, environmental justice, corporate accountability, women’s rights, and/or international development.

Accountability Council:

assists communities around the world to defend their environmental and human rights. …

and seeks to

hold corporate and institutional violators accountable through our dual approaches: direct support to communities and policy advocacy.

The organization in particular works on behalf of people and communities harmed by internationally-financed projects through community driven and policy level strategies to access justice.

The following opportunities are now open for our Fall 2016 unpaid Fellow and Intern Programs:

  • Law Fellow – San Francisco – 2L and 3L law students or recent law school graduates (within one year of graduation).
  • South Asia Law Fellow – Washington, D.C – 2L and 3L law students or recent law school graduates (within one year of graduation).
  • Policy Fellow – Washington, D.C. – law students, graduate students currently studying policy and/or another related field, or recent graduates (within one year of graduation).
  • Data Analyst Fellow – San Francisco – graduate students and recent graduates (within one year of graduation) in a related field of data or statistics.
  • Communications & Operations Intern – San Francisco – undergraduate students or recent graduates (within one year of graduation).
  • Data Intern – San Francisco – undergraduate students or recent graduates (within one year of graduation).

Any interested students/recent graduates should consult the website for more information.  To apply, students must complete an online application form.

Read On! New Book on Public Law of Gender

I am delighted to contribute my first post to this excellent website to let readers know of the final book in a six volume series, Connecting International Law with Public Law, which I initiated as part of my former position as Director of the Centre for International and Public law at the ANU (2006-2015).  The first five volumes looks at themes including Sanctions, Access to Medicines, Environmental Discourses, Allegiance and Identity, and Security Institutions and have been published through Cambridge University Press.

The final volume has just been launched and it is of particular interest to the IntLawGrrls community.

I have co-edited this final volume with my friend and former ANU colleague Dr. Katharine Young, who is now at Boston University, and it is called The Public Law of Gender: From the Local to the Global. The volume brings together leading lawyers, political scientists, historians and philosophers.

The book examines the worldwide sweep of gender-neutral, gender-equal or gender-sensitive public laws in international treaties, national constitutions and statutes, and documents the raft of legal reform and critically analyses its effectiveness. In demarcating the academic study of the public law of gender, the book examines law’s structuring of politics, governing and gender in a new global frame.

Of interest to constitutional and statutory designers, advocates, adjudicators and scholars, the contributions explore how concepts such as equality, accountability, representation, participation and rights, depend on, challenge or enlist gendered roles and/or categories. These enquiries suggest that the new public law of gender must confront the lapses in enforcement, sincerity and coverage that are common in both national and international law and governance, and critically and pluralistically recast the public/private distinction in family, community, religion, customary and market domains.  The book outlines the common and distinct challenges and issues across various fields and it provides those working with gender-sensitive laws and gender-neutral laws with an assessment of the various ways in which public law interacts with gender, by intent or outcome. It also uncovers the local and global perspectives and the obstacles facing gender equality, equity and parity, showing how traditional agendas of feminist theory now translate in a global legal frame.

I would encourage any one interested in reviewing the volume (or any of the set of six, or indeed the whole set!) for a journal to contact Elizabeth Spicer at Cambridge University Press- espicer [at] cambridge.org.

Professor Kim Rubenstein, ANU College of Law, Public Policy Fellow, Australian National University

Talking about a revolution

In 2012, David Boyd released a book titled “The Environmental Rights Revolution” (UBC Press) in which he argues, “from Argentina to the Philippines, something remarkable is happening … a new human right is blossoming…” But is a new human right blossoming? Can we claim, as Boyd does, that we are in the throes of an environmental rights revolution?

Boyd finds that 147 of the 193 member countries of the United Nations now include explicit references to environmental rights or responsibilities. Section 45 of the Spanish Constitution, for example, states “Everyone has the right to enjoy an environment suitable for the development of the person.” Section 24 of the South African Constitution states, “Everyone has a right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being.” The Honduras constitution provides “The State shall maintain a satisfactory environment for the protection of everyone’s health.” Of the 92 constitutions that include substantive environmental rights, only 22 refer to an ecologically balanced environment. In his analysis of the words used to describe the environment right, Boyd finds a common phrase is “fit or adequate for human development or well-being”.

At the regional level, the African Charter includes in article 24 the right of all peoples to “a generally satisfactory environment favourable to their development.”  The San Salvador Protocol to the American Convention includes a right “to live in a healthy environment and to have access to basic public services” in article 11.1.  In Europe, the Aarhus Convention stipulates that its objective is “to contribute to the protection of the right of every person … to live in an environment adequate to his or her health and well-being.”  The Arab Charter on Human Rights also refers to the right “to a healthy environment”.  None of these texts include a right to the environment per se, but all secure a right to health or public services or due process or development in so far as these are impacted by the state of the environment.

What these texts reveal is that while there has been a proliferation of environmental rights provisions in both domestic and regional law, very few of these provisions include a right to the protection of the environment except in so far as it is necessary for securing health or development. Environmental rights, then, are primarily extended or particular rights to health or development. While this is an important and laudable evolution in human rights law, possibly one that is revolutionary, this is not an environmental revolution.

You might be thinking “So what?” After all, a human rights approach to environmental matters is likely one that centers around human needs, and rights to a healthy environment or sustainable development are good for the environment (certainly better than nothing, you might argue) even if environmental goods are obtained obliquely. Where, you might be wondering, is my revolutionary spirit?  Continue reading

For the life and health of my children: We MUST include Human Rights in the New Climate Accord

We humans have caused climate change, a real threat to humanity thus it requires human solutions.  We also have lost precious time on eternal discussions about the existence of climate change, despite imminent evidence.  Our efforts to deliver solutions must be inclusive and ambitious if they are to ensure that the lives and livelihoods of all people are protected.

If and how to include human rights protections in new climate accord was one of the primary issues discussed during October’s Bonn Climate Conference. These protections were notably left out of the no-text presented by the co-chairs, and then added back in at the insistence of several countries, many from the Global South, and hundreds of civil society organizations.

I could write a long list of legal, political, ethical, and economic arguments as to why human rights must be included in the Paris Agreement. In my opinion, however, they can all be distilled into two primary and powerful arguments: my children!

At 4 and nearly 2 years old, they are already experiencing the realities of a changing climate.  Some days, for example, they cannot go to the park because of increased air and climate pollution levels in Mexico City, be it black carbon or ozone, or both.  Unfortunately, the worst is yet to come, as hurricanes, droughts, floods, glacier loss, and fires are all increasing.

UntitledNow the question for my kids is not whether they will suffer from climate change, but to what extent.

Some may say I’m exaggerating, and that my kids aren’t among the most affected. They’re right.

Many others are suffering, and will continue to suffer, far worse consequences, such as: the Kunas in Panama, who are loosing their land due to sea-level rise; the 62 million people living on 52 small island states, including Tuvalu and Barbados; the 70 million people in the Andes, all of whom depend on water from glaciers and paramos, which are expected to dissapear within a few decades.

Despite the evident urgency, official responses have been shamefully slow. The United Nations recently announced that current national commitments aren’t enough to prevent world temperatures from surpassing 2oC by 2100, when my children will be 89 and 87 years old.

How, then, can we speed up agreements, increase ambition, and close the gap between what is needed and what is promised by States?

Human Rights are an important part of this answer. If implemented, they can help to:

  1. Recognize the realities of climate change and its impact on the enjoyment of human rights of all peoples, particularly those in vulnerable situations.
  2. Remind States of their existing obligations to protect and respect human rights, obligations which are fundamentally shared by corporations and other international entities. Incorporating human rights in the climate change agreement will not create new obligations; it will instead allow us to be consistent and comply with preexisting commitments.
  3. Avoid increased threats to world stability that have been linked to climate change due to impacts such as: local resource competition, livelihood insecurity, migration, extreme weather events and disasters, volatile food prices, transboundary water management, sea-level rise, coastal degradation, and the unintended effects of climate policies.
  4. Spur effective solutions, such as the rethinking of energy. These kinds of solutions haven’t yet been achieved due to a lack of ambition and political will.

For my son and daughter, and the millions of children of the world, we must accept that climate change is a human rights issue. For the health of future generations, and that of those already suffering from its impacts, we must do all we can to create effective solutions.

The new climate accord, which will be signed in Paris this December, must include human rights protections in its Preamble, as well as in its operative text. Only then, with an overarching respect for the rights of all people, can begin to see the results we need in the fight against climate change.

We must take the climate crisis seriously.

If not, we will be trapped in short-sighted negotiations that won’t provide my children the hope of a dignified and healthy life. They will be left inside, unable to play in the park, to enjoy the world beyond our doorstep. And those in more vulnerable situations may be left with nowhere at all to find the shelter they seek.

Climate negotiations: What is going on?

Recently the ADP* had its 3rd of 4 pre-negotiations held in 2015 before the climate summit in December. As a young PhD candidate in climate change law, being an observer to the climate negotiations is a unique chance and a privilege. Sitting in the room where the talks take place makes you able to witness how treaty provisions are shaped and drafted. After the negotiations, scholars will be dissecting the text of the agreement, but you were there when it was put together.

What is the role of an observer? Generally meetings of the UNFCCC bodies are convened for negotiations between Parties to the Convention. NGOs – including research centers- can be appointed as observers. According to Article 7, paragraph 6, of the Convention “[a]ny body or agency, whether national or international, governmental or non-governmental, which is qualified in matters covered by the Convention, […] can be represented at a session of the Conference of the Parties as an observer”.

So far the main result of the negotiation sessions is the Geneva text (GNT) released at the ADP Session in Geneva (February 2015). As ADP co-chairs have made clear several times, this text is the only official draft negotiation text on the table. All themes under discussion are reflected in the GNT’s sections which are: preamble, definition, general/objective, adaptation, loss and damage, mitigation, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity building, transparency and monitoring, time frames and commitments, implementation and compliance, and procedural and institutional provisions. Negotiations are still ongoing. There is a unanimous view that there exists an urgent need to accelerate the work Besides that, the progress achieved so far by the ADP is a testament to the strong political will of all Parties to ensure the successful implementation of the ADP mandate and to their commitment for a universal climate agreement to be adopted in Paris at COP 21.The submission to date of intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) on behalf of 52 Parties is also a demonstration of such commitment.

The most common question that I am usually asked is whether there is any risk that States Parties will not to sign any agreement as in Copenhagen (2009). I think we should be careful with our expectations for what reaching an agreement will mean. The main objective of COP 21 in December is to produce a cooperation framework among governments.. More than looking for a legally binding agreement that will solve everything right now, we should evaluate how much countries are themselves are ready for to change towards a low-carbon economy.

Compliance mechanism is one of the topics under discussion. There are two alternative options on the table. One is to make a compliance mechanism following the model of the Kyoto Compliance mechanism. The other is to establish a climate justice tribunal. Besides the challenges related to structure and membership of these bodies, the greatest threats/challenges would be how to agree who would trigger compliance procedures. In the best scenario, the Paris Agreement will provide a sketch of a compliance mechanism, which will be worked out in detail in later meetings. This happened with the Kyoto Compliance Mechanism that was sketched out in the Protocol of 1997 and its workings finalized through a package of COP decisions under the Marrakesh Accords of 2001. The value of the agreement will correlate with the achievement of a similar outcome.

*The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. In the framework of the UNFCCC bodies, this body has the specific mandate – to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties-, which is to be completed no later than 2015 in order for it to be adopted at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP), – next December 2015 (Decision 1/ CP. 17, 2011).

Join AIDA in NYC for debut of Coral Reef Protection best practices

Join me and my AIDA colleagues on Wednesday, September 30th in New York City to celebrate AIDA’s work to defend coral reefs.  We are releasing a guide that will help governments craft the best possible protections for coral reef ecosystems. This publication (also available in Spanish) is the product of AIDA’s collaboration and partnership with Mayer Brown LLP and the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice over the past two years. Together, we have worked with pro-bono attorneys from all over the world to identify best regulatory practices that can help ensure reef protection.

Coral reefs across the globe are being destroyed by coastal development and resource extraction, pollution, and the impacts of climate change.  AIDA is working to defend reefs in the Americas by helping governments improve protections, policies and laws.  The guide will be an essential tool in this work. Because the findings in the guide are broadly applicable, we hope to share it with reef advocates and governments in many nations.

Feel free to invite friends and colleagues, and forward this invitation to others you think might be interested either in our corals work or in AIDA in general.  Please RSVP online to attend!