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

Mosaic image of Nelson Mandela

Hilary Charlesworth presents 2015 UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture

03 November 2015

Hilary Charlesworth will speak about human rights and citizenship in the 21st centrury.

UN Human Rights Council ceiling (Image: Jean-Marc Ferré, Allegra Laboratory)

Regarding Rights blog - Madeleine Sinclair

09 October 2015

Acts of reprisals have become more varied and severe over time.

Screenshot of EJIL interview of Hilary Charlesworth video podcast

Hilary Charlesworth interviewed on feminist theory in IL by EJIL

30 September 2015

Hilary Charlesworth is interviewed by Joseph Weiler, Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law.

'Doodles from lectures', Ruth Hartnup (flickr)

CIGJ new working paper series

30 September 2015

CIGJ presents new working papers related to the ‘Strengthening the International Human Rights System: Rights, Regulation and Ritualism’ ARC project.

UN Human Rights Council ceiling (Image: Jean-Marc Ferré, Allegra Laboratory)

Regarding Rights blog - Fleur Adcock

25 September 2015

Calls for an international mechanism to monitor implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are growing louder.

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 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.

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Human rights

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

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet