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Centre of Governance and Human Rights Working Papers and Reports


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  • ItemOpen Access
    Capital, Politics and Pedagogy: The Case of Education Inside the United Nations
    (Centre of Governance and Human Rights, University of Cambridge) Kester, Kevin; Srinivasan, Sharath; Mohammadzadeh, Babak
    The UN is often questioned about its ongoing relevance and involvement in contemporary matters of peace and security, but its involvement in and provision of higher education for peace for the 21st century is rarely examined. This working paper investigates the use of higher education as a peacebuilding tool within the UN apparatus, looking at the issue from three different angles. First, I briefly describe the work that the UN universities are engaged in: their historical origins and operations today. Second, I examine the objective qualifications that UN officials / academics possess that presumably enable their admission into the UN and work in the institution. I examine this generally across UN agencies and then specifically in regard to faculty in one UN university. Third, I share commentary from scholars I interviewed in the pilot study in Ethiopia and Somaliland and at the UN university to corroborate and challenge the results of the qualifications review, and to elaborate on the education that the UN promotes. Findings of the study point toward social reproduction through peace capital in the UN, and UN university. Such results raise skepticism and challenge orthodox assumptions of the UN and international peace education as contributing to social transformation. On the contrary, my study exposes the ways in which the unintended consequences of the field reproduce social inequality. This contrasts sharply with the transformation touted in other academic literature (Clarke-Habibi, 2005; Felice, Karako & Wisler, 2015).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Framing Human Dignity: Visual Jurisprudence at the Constitutional Court
    (Centre of Governance and Human Rights, University of Cambridge) Garnsey, Eliza; Srinivasan, Sharath; Mohammadzadeh, Babak
    The South African Constitution affirms “the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom”. The Constitutional Court in Johannesburg was established as a key institution in South Africa’s new democracy. Built on the site of a former prison, the Court is not only distinctive architecturally including integrated artworks in the fabric of the building, it is a unique space by international comparison because it houses a large visual art collection developed by and for the Court—the core theme of which is respect for human dignity. Drawing on six months fieldwork at the Constitutional Court—which included fifty-four interviews with judges, staff, artists, advocates, and visitors to the Court—this paper examines the connections between human dignity and art at the Court. The aim is to investigate whether the realisation of human dignity by the Court, is disconnected from the aesthetics of the art collection. Is the performance of dignity in the art collection a utopian ideal, achievable objective, or unrealised potential? The art collection is a kind of visual jurisprudence which responds to, but also comprises, conceptions of human dignity as a right, a value and a touchstone of democracy—conceptions which are closely entwined with South Africa’s human rights governance, but that manifest in very different ways. The collection envisages the journey to human dignity as ongoing; it is promised but remains ungraspable. In this way, the Court is simultaneously a ‘good place’—a site constituting human dignity—and a ‘no place’, a prospect yet to be realised—a sight of human dignity. This tension is important in calibrating an idea of human dignity within a transitioning human rights discourse in South Africa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The power of publics: competing imaginaries of the radio audience in Kenya and Zambia
    (Centre of Governance and Human Rights, University of Cambridge) Srinivasan, Sharath; Diepeveen, Stephanie; Srinivasan, Sharath; Diepeveen, Stephanie
    With the liberalisation of the airwaves and the rising use of mobile phones since the 2000s, call- and text-in shows have become popular and lively features on broadcast media in Eastern Africa. Amidst expanding possibilities for listeners to speak and contribute to live radio broadcasts, new ways of imagining the position of the audience emerge. The audience is not simply comprised of passive listeners of publicly broadcast information, but actively engaged in contributing and reacting to what is aired. Yet the nature and political potential of the ‘audience-public’ is not straightforward. Interactive radio and TV shows are not just introducing specific audience members into the discussion, but who they are, what they represent, their influence and contribution to the space are uncertain. As audience members engage, those who manage and shape the broadcast must imagine, interpret and respond. Each participant in the discussion –whether listening, or involved in the station – producing, hosting, etc. – must come to terms with the nature of the interaction, Who is engaged? How should they respond? What are their reasons for being engaged and how might the introduction of this indeterminate audience-public relate to their intentions? Given the plurality of subjectivities, information, roles and intentions of those involved, the audience and why it matters can be imagined in multiple and competing ways. This paper interrogates how different actors involved in the radio broadcast imagine and respond to audience participation, and how these imaginaries become politically significant. This paper draws predominantly on interview and observation data on the perspectives of station hosts, guests and frequent callers of selected media houses and interactive broadcast shows in Zambia and Kenya. It examines the dynamic, plural and conflicting ways in which the audience is being reconstructed as an active ‘public’. In so doing, it shows the centrality of the imagined audience in the construction of the broadcast as a ‘public’, specifically how the indeterminate audience becomes the basis for competing imaginaries about power, authority and belonging. The political significance of the ‘audience-public’, it is argued, lies in the very fact that multiple and competing imaginaries are at play, which are invested in by actors pursuing diverse ends and thereby create tangible political effects.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Media Practitioners and Public Opinions on Interactive Broadcast TV Shows in Africa: Citizen TV (Kenya) and Muvi TV (Zambia)
    (Centre of Governance and Human Rights, University of Cambridge) Mudhai, Okoth Fred; Srinivasan, Sharath; Diepeveen, Stephanie
    Interactive TV and radio shows are popular phenomena in Kenya and Zambia. Drawing primarily from interview and observation based research in TV stations in Kenya and Zambia, this paper examines the role of media practitioners in shaping interactive broadcast programmes, and the nature and possibilities of audience participation. Looking at the cases of Muvi TV’s The Assignment in Zambia and Power Breakfast and Cheche on Kenya’s Citizen TV, it considers the agency of the host and presenter of interactive shows. This working paper analyses the various ways that hosts implement ground rules for appropriate behaviour of audience members and seek to create space for different voices. It then turns to analyse the constraining e ects of the wider political and regulatory environment in the two countries, for instance, Zambia as a ‘Christian nation’ and a relatively peaceful country, and Kenya as a ‘volatile nation’ due to insecurity, including terrorism-related threats and ethnic tensions. In so doing, this paper finds that despite structural factors and individual limitations, the hosts of these shows see themselves, and have been seen by audiences, guests and political elites, as key drivers and celebrities that shape access and nature of participation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Who Participates? Audience and Participants in Interactive Shows
    Mitullah, Winnie; Mudhai, Okoth Fred; Mwangi, Sammy; Srinivasan, Sharath; Diepeveen, Stephanie
    To develop insight into the nature and signi cance of audience engagement in interactive radio and television shows in Kenya, this paper examines ‘who participates’ in interactive media in Kenya drawing from a combination of household survey data collected in two constituencies, interviews with serial callers, and interviews and observations at a number of radio stations and one television station. The paper explores the extent to which media interactivity has widened and deepened political participation in Kenya, and some of the reasons why. It rst examines the demographics of who calls and texts in to interactive shows, with a speci c focus on the gender of participants. It then turns to a more in-depth examination of the characteristics of ‘serial callers’, individuals who regularly and frequently participate in these shows. In so doing, this working paper reveals inequalities and constraints on participation in interactive media, with those who participate tending to be young men with money and with modest level of education. Those who participate most frequently are also found to be motivated by diverse factors, including personal ful lent as well as a desire to represent the interests of others in their communities.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Let’s Be Responsible Citizens! Contesting the agenda of a sponsored call-in radio programme
    (Centre of Governance and Human Rights, University of Cambridge) Fraser, Alastair; Srinivasan, Sharath; Diepeveen, Stephanie
    This working paper considers in detail how the hosts of and listeners to one call-in radio programme in Zambia were influenced by, resisted and co-opted the agendas of the sponsor that paid for its production. It develops a detailed case-study covering fifteen episodes of, ‘Let’s Be Responsible Citizens’, broadcast on Phoenix FM in Lusaka in late 2011 and right through 2012. It shows how the original aspirations of the show’s sponsor, Lusaka City Council, can be understood in terms of nurturing popular subjectivities that might enable the state to impose market solutions to the provision of social goods. The Council hoped that this might in turn have enabled them to survey and bring a particular kind of order to the unruly spaces of the capital city. The Council also aimed to evangelise a model of city governance that shifts power away from the dense networks of representative political structures that exist in the city towards consensus-oriented, technocratic modes of assessing social needs and distributing resources. However, the programme struggled to attract audience participation in episodes framed in these ways and, in accepting that they needed to bring the show closer to the concerns of the listeners, the Council enabled the host and callers to ‘Let’s Be Responsible Citizens’ to subvert the show’s original intentions. Negotiations over the show’s agenda provide a window on how debates about political accountability, legitimate authority and who has the responsibility to meet social needs play out in increasingly media-saturated societies.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The political economy of sponsored call-in radio in Zambia
    (Centre of Governance and Human Rights, University of Cambridge) Fraser, Alastair; Srinivasan, Sharath; Diepeveen, Stephanie
    This working paper provides a context for the assessment of hopes that there might be a transformation in political accountability in Africa as a result of previously powerless and voiceless populations having their agendas strengthened via interactive media. It describes the ways in which many radio programmes, on which the voices of audience members are heard live on air, are brought into being through the ‘sponsorship’ of groups that already have significant power and voice. These include political parties, foreign aid donors, and local and international Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), all of which have incentives to use interactive media as a tool of evangelism – to secure public engagement with, and endorsements for, their preferred visions. Using the case of Zambia, it emphasises the negotiating strategies that journalists and station owners deploy to secure resources while maintaining space to allow hosts and audience members, rather than solely sponsors, to shape the agenda of on-air discussions.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Citizen Media Research and Verification: An Analytical Framework for Human Rights Practitioners
    (Centre of Governance and Humen Rights, University of Cambridge, 2016-01-27) Koettl, Christoph
    This paper examines the role of open source research in human rights fact-finding and seeks to address a gap in the current literature, which lacks a human rights perspective, is dominated by journalistic approaches, or focuses on specific tools. It focuses on citizen media, the visual subset of open source information, and provides a practitioner’s perspective that is based on several years of analyzing open source materials for a global human rights group. The paper includes case studies on video and image verification, and identifies best and worst practices. The author argues that open source content, specifically citizen media, can play a crucial and increasingly important role in human rights documentation, if analyzed using sound and transparent methodologies based on well-established factfinding principles. It presents, for the first time, a tool-independent analytical framework that will allow both seasoned and new human rights researchers to review and assess open source content. Specific recommendations are offered for human rights organizations, funders, academics, and technology companies in order to realize the full potential of open source content for human rights documentation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    ICTs and Human Rights Practice
    (CGHR, Dept. of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge, 2015-09-30) McPherson, Ella
    The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is creating a wealth of new opportunities as well as a variety of new risks for human rights practice. Given the pace of innovation in the development and use of ICTs, our understanding of their impact on human rights lags. This report provides a crucial and in depth look at ICT initiatives and trends across the key human rights practices of prevention, fact-finding, and advocacy, identifying both risks and opportunities. In prevention, ICTs can be harnessed to protect human rights defenders, to prevent violations in police-civilian interactions, and in data-driven early warning systems and communication-based conflict prevention. That said, ICTs also create new security risks for human rights defenders and can violate the right to privacy. In fact-finding, ICTs afford the spontaneous and solicited participation of civilian witnesses in the production of human rights evidence. Of course, a greater volume and variety of information from unknown and untrained sources creates problems of misinformation and verification, which technology only goes so far to mitigate. In advocacy, ICTs provide new channels for quickly and visibly mobilizing publics, for directly engaging with advocacy targets, and for spreading awareness of human rights. That said, the effects of these new advocacy channels are unclear, and they may imperil categories of human rights and the reputations of human rights organizations. The report also considers how digital divides and the political economy of ICTs influence the nature, extent, and distribution of these opportunities and risks. In doing so, it outlines a research framework for understanding ICTs and human rights practice to underpin academics’ and practitioners’ assessment, development, and deployment of ICTs for and in the spirit of human rights. An earlier version of this report, prepared for an expert meeting ahead of the June 2015 session of the UN Human Rights Council, informed the thematic report on ICTs and the right to life presented at that session by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions. As such, the projects profiled represent a snapshot of that timeframe; this report is therefore accompanied by a regularly updated, student-run Tumblr blog,, which welcomes submissions on new initiatives.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Interactive media audiences in Africa: A comparison of four constituencies in Kenya and Zambia
    (CGHR, Dept. of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge, 2015-09-09) Abreu Lopes, Claudia; Mudhai, Okoth Fred; Mitullah, Winnie V.; Simutanyi, Neo; Balongo, Sam; Diepeveen, Stephanie; Fraser, Alastair; Milapo, Nalukui; Mwangi, Sammy; Tembo, Emmanuel; Srinivasan, Sharath
    To better understand who participates in media-driven public discussion and opinion-making, this working paper presents the results of a randomised household survey implemented in four constituencies in Kenya and Zambia, one urban and one rural constituency in each country. The survey was conducted as part of Politics and Interactive Media in Africa (PiMA), a collaborative research project analysing the nature and political implications of expressions of public opinion in broadcast media in Kenya and Zambia, via new information and communication technologies (ICT) such as mobile phones. This paper presents descriptive survey results that are the basis of a deeper comparative analysis of drivers of listenership and participation in interactive broadcast media shows, also published in the PiMA Working Paper series. Nevertheless, a few results are highlighted here. The survey reveals that level of radio listenership of interactive shows in the two Kenyan constituencies is high, particularly in Kenya, ranging between 80-90%, whereas in Zambia listenership levels range between 40-60%, contrasting with listenership to radio shows generally (70-85%). Radio listeners tend to listen to all types of shows, from politics and development shows to social/cultural and music/entertainment shows. Yet country differences in interactive show listenership are not reflected in the levels of participation in interactive radio shows. Both in Kenya and in Zambia, roughly 20% of the total population have participated at one time or another in interactive shows. However, contrasting with listenership, participation tends to be more segmented across types of shows. Rural and urban constituencies show an inverse pattern of participation in Kenya and Zambia, with higher levels of participation in the urban sample from Zambia (21% versus 12% in the rural), and the rural sample from Kenya (21% versus 19% in the urban). Across the four sites, male and more educated listeners are more likely to engage interactive shows. Three to four times more men engage in interactive shows than women. Of the women who participate in interactive shows, they tend to be younger, single, more educated and wealthier compared with those who do not participate. Calling in to the studio is the most frequent form of engagement in radio shows, especially in rural areas. SMS is more popular in urban constituencies, particularly in Kenya. Only 10% of those who have participated in interactive media shows have ever used social media to communicate with stations. Across all sites, the main barriers to participation identified are cost and expectations of not getting through.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Background Paper: Politics and Interactive Media in Zambia
    (CGHR, Dept. of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge, 2015-06-23) Simutanyi, Neo; Fraser, Alastair; Milapo, Nalukui
    This background paper provides an overview of the history and context of interactive media and public opinion in Zambia. It is prepared as part of Politics and Interactive Media in Africa (PiMA) - a collaborative study involving the University of Cambridge, University of Nairobi and University of Zambia. The main objectives of the PiMA project are: (a) to explore the extent to which media interactivity is widening (and deepening) political participation in Africa; (b) to investigate how public opinion is collected and represented by African media and for what (and whose) purposes; and (c) to establish the extent to which public opinion expressed via interactive media affects accountability mechanisms and policy-makers’ behaviour. The primary purpose of this background paper is to provide a political and policy context to the Zambian case study, and introduce the history and context of interactive media in Zambia. The paper is organised into four sections. The first section provides a brief history to the evolution of broadcast media in Zambia. The second section outlines the legal and policy context of broadcasting in Zambia. The third section discusses the state of interactive media in Zambia and its attendant challenges. The fourth section examines the state of public opinion formation through media platforms.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Background Paper: Politics and Interactive Media in Kenya
    (CGHR, Dept. of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge, 2015-06-23) Mitullah, Winnie V.; Mudhai, Okoth Fred; Mwangi, Sammy
    This background paper provides an overview of the history and context of interactive media and public opinion in Kenya. It is intended to contextualise and inform the study, Politics and Interactive Media in Africa (PiMA), a collaborative study by researchers from the University of Cambridge, University of Nairobi and University of Zambia. The main objectives of the PiMA project are: (a) to explore the extent to which media interactivity is widening (and deepening) political participation in Africa; (b) to investigate how public opinion is collected and represented by African media and for what (and whose) purposes; and (c) to establish the extent to which public opinion expressed via interactive media affects accountability mechanisms and policy-makers’ behaviour. This working paper is organised into three sections. The first section discusses the policy and legal context for interactive media in Kenya. The second section discusses the history of broadcast media and interactive shows. The final section examines the intersection of public opinion and interactive media in Kenya.
  • ItemOpen Access
    PiMA Survey Design and Methodology
    (CGHR, Dept. of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge, 2015-06-23) Mudhai, Okoth Fred; Abreu Lopes, Claudia; Mitullah, Winnie; Fraser, Alastair; Milapo, Nalukui; Mwangi, Sammy; (PI) Srinivasan, Sharath
    The Politics and Interactive Media in Africa (PiMA) project investigates participation in radio and television programmes through new information and communication technologies (ICTs) as it is shaped by the political, social and media context in Zambia and Kenya, as well as the implications of such interactions for democratic governance and poverty alleviation. The empirical research combines different methodologies, including interviews with key informants, focus groups with audience members, in-studio observations and surveys of the general population. This paper describes the methodology for conducting surveys in four sites in Kenya and Zambia. The objective of the surveys was to obtain representative samples of two constituencies per country. Constituencies were selected according to their social and economic characteristics, in order to capture a wide variety of contexts. A random procedure was deployed in all stages of sampling, ensuring representativity of households and individuals of voting age in the four constituencies. The results of the survey can be generalised to the particular constituencies with a margin of error of approximately minus or plus 5% for a 95% confidence interval.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ritual and Myth in the Russell War Crimes Tribunal on Vietnam
    (2015-05-13) Pérez-Jara, Javier
    This article provides a sociological explanation of the performative core of the Russell Tribunal's power and legitimacy following a certain speech-act theory, in particular, an amalgam of Patrick Baert's positioning theory, Jeffrey C. Alexander's dramaturgical approach, and Ron Eyerman and Alexander's notion of cultural trauma. It will argue that the social success and survival of a human rights organisation on a global scale such as the Russell Tribunal mainly depend on a range of rhetorical and dramaturgical devices through which their creators position themselves and their institution, along with their adversaries, within specific social, political and intellectual contexts. The performative dimension of power clarifies how wars are fought and won not only on the battlefield, but also in the hearts and minds of citizens on both the home front and the enemy side. This and similar sociological factors need to be taken into account when explaining the success and transcendence of human rights organisations beyond the state's power.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Governance in rebel-held East Ghouta in the Damascus Province, Syria
    (Centre of Governance and Human Rights, 2014-10) Angelova, Ilina
    This paper will describe the evolution of the civilian administration in East Ghouta in order to explain the development of the resilience mechanisms which have allowed this Damascus suburb and rebel stronghold to withstand chemical attacks in August 2013, a 23-month long siege, repeated aerial bombings and ground invasions by the Syrian regime as well as, most recently, the advance of the Islamic State (IS) in those territories. A detailed discussion of the various administrative bodies, created and run by civilian actors and responsible for the provision of the basic services for a population of 2 million people, will reveal the emergence of a governance model centred on the role of the city council and its constituent medical, relief, services and information offices. This civilian administration model, similar to the one implemented in the “liberated” areas in the Aleppo and Idlib governorates, is considered by many civilians and members of the opposition as an embodiment of the original principles of the Syrian revolution because of its commitment to moderate Islamic values and a transparent electoral process, as demonstrated by the January 2014 electrons in East Ghouta. As such, it offers an alternative to the governance models of Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State, implemented in other parts of Syria. However, even though the civilian administration in East Ghouta has repeatedly illustrated its resilience to external attacks and adaptability vis-à-vis the deteriorating humanitarian situation, the obstacles to its survival have multiplied. In addition to the violent attempts of the regime and IS to take over this territory, the encroachment of armed groups on the activities of the civilian actors, the exhaustion of medical and food supplies, and the difficulty in standardising the governance structures on the local and provincial level have proved to be some of the overwhelming challenges to the governance model in East Ghouta that, until today, continue to question the endurance of the “liberated” territories around Damascus.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Africa’s Voices: Using mobile phones and radio to foster mediated public discussion and to gather public opinions in Africa
    (2014-05-13) Abreu Lopes, Claudia; Srinivasan, Sharath
    This paper presents the findings from a one-year applied research pilot project, Africa’s Voices, run by the University of Cambridge’s Centre of Governance and Human Rights (CGHR). Africa’s Voices developed out of CGHR’s wider research programme on politics, ICTs and interactive media in Africa. That research analyses how audiences interact with radio stations through mobile phones; how different actors including audiences, radio journalists, and governance actors (state officials, but also others such as community leaders and aid actors) perceive the importance of these interactions; and what the practical implications are for public discussion of political and social issues and for governance processes that shape access to and the quality of public goods. With Africa’s Voices, the CGHR research team piloted a programme format with local radio stations in eight sub-Saharan African countries with the objective of practically assessing the potential for deploying interactive radio to gather and comparatively analyse opinions of harder to reach sub-Saharan African populations. Besides evaluating optimal modes of working with smaller and more rural radio stations, the research has focused on patterns of audience participation in different formats of mediated public discussions and on the efficacy of different approaches to defining, gathering and measuring public opinion. This paper presents the results of the pilot and discusses them with respect to the abovementioned objectives. The paper also discusses some of the methodological and ethical challenges of using the affordances of ICT and interactive media that make them suitable for gathering and researching citizens’ opinion in Africa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Framing Peace, the case of conciliatory radio programming in Burundi and Uganda
    (Centre of Governance and Human Rights, 2014-03) Tayeebwa, William
    This working paper uses insights from completed research on ‘peace radio’ in Uganda to discuss the strategy for completing the same interrogation of ‘peace radio’ in Burundi. In relative detail, the paper discusses how and why the peace journalism model is the most appropriate theoretical framework to study the ‘peace radio’ model in Burundi. The paper presents three cases chosen for study namely: a) Murikira Ukuri programme, Kirundi for ‘enlighten with the truth’, produced by Studio Ijambo; b) Le Burundi Avance (Burundi Advancing) produced by the BINUB (Bureau Intégré des Nations Unies au Burundi); and c) the Rondera Amahoro programme, Kirundi for ‘in quest of peace’, produced and broadcast by RTNB (Radio Télévision Nationale Burundaise). From the Ugandan research, the ‘peace journalism’ model manifests a shaky uptake (Tayeebwa 2012). While Ugandan journalists and media actors were able to appreciate the media values of peace, they were still equally entrenched in their practice using the conventional media values that favour conflict and violence. In this paper, the research questions and methods to interrogate the Burundian cases are discussed.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Right to be Free from the Harm of Hate Speech in International Human Rights Law
    (Centre of Governance and Human Rights, 2014-01) Elbahtimy, Mona
    The current challenges posed by hate speech across the globe have prompted the need to better understand the evolution of the right to be free from the harm of hate speech as codified within Article 20(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This paper examines the right’s evolution within international human rights law (IHRL). Its purpose is to understand the core difficulties that have faced efforts geared to the development, strengthening and expansion of international standards that provide protection from the harm of hate speech. To elaborate upon such difficulties, the paper identifies four internal features of the right to be free from the harm of hate speech, representing the challenges facing its interpretation and implementation. These four features are the right’s ‘emotional’ component; the complexities in proving the proscribed incitement; the tensions between the listeners’ and speakers’ rights to liberty and equality; and the right’s group-identity component, which creates tensions between individual and group rights. The paper argues that these four internal features of the right have a strong and direct influence on understanding the difficult path the right has taken in its evolution within IHRL.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A Right to Enjoy Culture in Face of Climate Change: Implications for “Climate Migrants”
    (Centre of Governance and Human Rights, 2013-12) Wewerinke, Margaretha
    This paper considers the extent to which international human rights law offers protection to ‘climate migrants’ irrespective of whether these persons would qualify for refugee status. In contrast with most existing literature, it does not focus on States’ obligations arising from the right to life or the prohibition of inhumane treatment. Instead, the paper focuses on the right of persons belonging to minorities to enjoy their culture as protected under Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The paper peruses the Human Rights Committee’s interpretation of Article 27, with particular attention to its link with the rights of peoples to self-determination and to freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources as protected under Article 1 of the Covenant. Based on this analysis the paper challenges the presupposition that a normative gap exists, pointing instead at a need for further research into the interpretation of norms and obstacles to enforcement.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Beyond “Asian Values”: Rethinking Rights
    (Centre of Governance and Human Rights, 2012-11) Tew, Yvonne
    This paper assesses the supposed dichotomies between Western and Asian perspectives on human rights and shows how such tensions are often false and should be rejected. Despite the deep flaws inherent in the “Asian values” approach, however, its ideology remains a powerful internal framework that continues to influence the political and judicial elite in Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore. This is chiefly due to the lack of any competing theory regarding the conceptualization of human rights in the Asian context. The paper point out the gap in the jurisprudence in this area and concludes with some general observations on how to advance a model of rights protection to fill this lacuna.