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Institute for Human Rights: Working paper series

The Institute for Human Rights working paper series publishes ‘work in progress’.

The Institute for Human Rights working paper series welcomes submissions on a broad range of international issues, primarily (but not exclusively) related to human rights. Although the Institute primarily conducts legal research, submissions are also welcomed from related disciplines. The working papers are published at irregular intervals. The purpose of the series is to publish work in progress. However, submissions should be completed papers/articles and of scientific interest.

Instructions for authors

For more information and submissions, contact: Viljam Engström vengstro@abo.fi


No. 1/2016
Title: The Political Economy of Austerity and Human Rights Law
Author: Viljam Engström
Abstract: The ’Great recession’ that has been ongoing since 2008 has had a serious impact on the realization of economic and social rights in many countries. When the balancing between limited economic resources and the discretion granted to states for the realization of economic and social rights results in an adverse impact on the lives of individuals, the attention is commonly turned to improving the state of the protection scheme. Yet, as the economic crisis has re-invoked practically all classical debates concerning economic and social rights, it has also revealed the depth of the controversies involved. Further development of the economic and social rights protection scheme in face of austerity measures may therefore be an insurmountable task.

No. 1/2017
Multinational Peace Operations in Armed Conflicts: Identifying the Party
Author: Christian Saja
Abstract: Identifying the parties to an armed conflict is highly important, as it is a prerequisite for international humanitarian law to be able to fulfil its purpose. Many present-day conflicts involve a multinational element, such as an international peace operation. The paper discusses the problem of identifying who can be regarded as a party to a conflict on the multinational side, in particular in the context of UN and NATO operations. Three options in particular are examined: the troop-contributing nation, the international organisation or some combination of the two.

No. 1/2018
Why Environmentally Displaced Persons from Low-lying Island Nations Are Not Climate “Refugees”: A Legal Analysis
Author: Michel Rouleau-Dick
Abstract: While the media often use the term “climate refugee”, its legal significance is, at best, uncertain. “Refugee” is a legal term, defined by Article 1A of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees. Thus, when the populations in danger of being displaced by the effects of climate change are referred to as “climate refugees”, the implicit assumption is that they qualify for the legal status of refugees, according to its legal definition. This working paper clarifies the situation by analysing if environmentally displaced persons from low-lying island states, those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change,  would, upon leaving their country of origin, qualify as refugees under the legal definition of the term. The paper also assesses the relevance of the non-refoulement principle, another element of the international framework of protection of internationally displaced persons.

No. 1/2019
: Grassroots Social Movements: A New Narrative on Human Rights in Africa?
Author: Prosper S. Maguchu
Abstract: Recent geopolitical developments worldwide have led to a paradigm shift in both the context and strategies of doing human rights work in Africa. Grassroots social movements are increasingly allowing citizens to take a centre stage and in some cases to circumvent traditional actors in the promotion and protection of human rights; from Algeria to Zimbabwe both from the bottom up, and as a conversation space through which citizens come to terms with their own power to make a difference. This paper investigates the extent to which grassroots efforts which are mostly intertwined with other issues such as governance, anti-corruption and politics, could significantly resonate at the broadest possible level, shaping resilient futures and empowering communities to asset their rights. It aims to shine new light on the interfacing and intersectionality of grassroots social movements and human rights discourse in Africa as a potential new frontier for safeguarding and entrenchment of human rights.

No. 2/2019
Beröva terrorister medborgarskap — ett försök att trygga säkerheten på bekostnad av mänskliga rättigheter?
Författare: Lovisa Östman
Abstrakt: De senaste årens terrordåd och de tusentals gästkrigare som rest till Syrien för att ansluta sig till IS har fått myndigheter världen över att tillgripa allt mer rigorösa säkerhetsåtgärder. En av dessa åtgärder är att frånta medborgarskap från individer som betraktas som farliga för samhället, för att sedan kunna utvisa dessa. Åtgärdens lämplighet kan dock ifrågasättas av flera olika orsaker, inte minst för att medborgarskap anses vara en mänsklig rättighet. Denna artikel belyser varför medborgarskapet fyller en viktig funktion inom folkrätten och varför fråntagande av medborgarskap som resulterar i statslöshet är problematiskt.



Updated 8.1.2020