Strengthening the international human rights system: Rights, regulation and ritualism

 UNCeiling5_attributeMiquel Barceló - Room XX (detail). Image- United Nations

Project leader(s)

The research project ‘Strengthening the International Human Rights System: Rights, Regulation and Ritualism’ is funded by an ARC Laureate Fellowship and awarded to Hilary Charlesworth. The project will run until 2015. The aim of Laureate Fellowships is to support research excellence and to develop a new generation of researchers, thus building Australia’s international competitive research capacity. Further information about ARC Laureate Fellowships is available on the ARC website.

This project focuses on a problem endemic to the international human rights system: why are international human rights standards widely accepted in theory but so hard to implement in practice?

Although the international community has created a complex and sophisticated system of human rights standards, these principles are regularly sidelined or ignored by countries that have accepted them. The project draws on regulatory scholarship to analyse how states respond to human rights principles, focusing particularly on the notion of ritualism. The concept of regulatory ritualism means formal participation in a system of regulation while losing sight of its substantive goals. The project documents techniques of ritualism employed in the international human rights system and explores their relationship to the weaknesses and failures of the system. It identifies ways of resisting forms of human rights ritualism that undermine human rights commitments. The major intellectual aims of the project are to:

  • identify and analyse the ways that regulatory ritualism operates in the international human rights system through a series of case studies; and
  • develop new theoretical models to improve the implementation of international human rights principles.

The project’s strategic aims are to:

  • support and train a new generation of international human rights scholars;
  • build Australian capacity in analysis of international human rights practices; and
  • create new research linkages with international human rights organisations, particularly the United Nations.

Regarding Rights blog

Regarding Rights provides a forum for voices from activism and academia to comment on important issues in human rights.

Human rights reading group

The Human Rights Reading Group is for PhD students and scholars interested in discussing ideas and issues in human rights law, theory and practice. The group meets once a month to talk about a different text – whether journal article, book chapter, film or novel – that touches on human rights.

Visiting PhD Scholar program

The Laureate Fellowship supports a scholarship program allowing talented Australian and international PhD scholars who are working in the field of human rights to visit the CIGJ for periods of between six to eight weeks.

Working papers

Cover of Cynthia's book, Liberal democracies and the torture of their citizens

Liberal democracies and the torture of their citizens

05 April 2017

Journalist Richard Ackland comments on ‘Liberal democracies and the torture of their citizens’

Civil society resistance in liberal democracies in a time of rising non-accountability

23 December 2016

How far will governments go to prevent scrutiny of their actions and how can civil society effectively resist anti-democratic government policies?

Image of soldier in front of image of Lady Justice

Rethinking the international criminal justice project in the global south

16 December 2016

While some African states have clearly rejected the ICC, the majority remain members. How can we explain the fracturing of the Court’s support in Africa?

View of Sri Lankan populace through barbed wire.

The role of civil society in Sri Lanka’s Universal Periodic Review

12 December 2016

Civil society push back against the Sri Lankan government’s consistently self-congratulatory narrative demonstrates that the UPR has the potential to facilitate truth telling and to promote transparency and objectivity.

Investment treaty law and arbitration: common controversies

14 November 2016

Anthea Roberts continues her introduction to investment treaty law and arbitration, focusing this time on controversies.

Pages

Authers_Ben_2015

Dr Benjamin Authers

Benjamin Authers was educated in in law and literary studies at the University of Adelaide, Dalhousie University (Canada) and the University of Guelph (Canada). From 2011-2015 he was a...

John Braithwaite

Professor John Braithwaite

John Braithwaite is an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow and Founder of RegNet (the Regulatory Institutions Network), now School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the...

Charlesworth_Hilary_2015

Professor Hilary Charlesworth

Hilary Charlesworth was educated at the University of Melbourne and Harvard Law School. She is Professor and Director of the Centre for International Governance and Justice in the School of...

 Ganbat_Nara_2015

Ms Nara Ganbat

Nara is a lawyer from Mongolia specialised in public international law and human rights. She started her career at Amnesty International’s branch in Ulaanbaatar as a campaign coordinator...

Larking_Emma_2015

Dr Emma Larking

Emma has a law/arts degree from Monash University and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Melbourne. Before commencing her PhD she was a practising solicitor and subsequently Associate in...

Sally Merry Engle

Sally Engle Merry

Professor Sally Engle Merry is Professor of Anthropology, Law and Society at New York University. Her work explores the role of law in urban life in the US, in the...

Parry_Jacqueline_2015_640x360

Ms Jacqueline Parry

Before joining RegNet, Jacqueline worked mainly in the fields of forced migration and human rights. Between 2007 and 2014 she completed assignments with the United Nations High Commissioner for...

 law&justicecluster

Law & justice

RegNet is one of world’s leading centres for socio-legal work on Law and Justice. Our work on international law, rule of law, restorative justice and legal pluralism is shaped by interdisciplinary empirical research in Asia and the Pacific and in Australia, contributing new theoretical insights that contribute to better public policy.

 Human rights_hero

Human rights

This cluster comprises a number of projects that examine the regulatory dimensions of international and national human rights standards.

Updated:  12 February 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet