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In this issue: SIM Peter Baehr Lecture 2022, research, teaching and training   Read online
SIM Newsletter Fall 2022, Issue 30
SIM Peter Baehr Lecture 2022
This past month, the annual SIM Peter Baehr was delivered by human rights activist and lawyer Mpanzu Bamenga. This year’s lecture, marking SIM’s 41st anniversary and honoring the late Peter Baehr, was entitled ‘Human Rights - a Responsibility for Each and Everyone of Us’. Intertwining his personal life story with insights on the two sides of law: as a possible system of injustice but also as a potential tool for justice, Bamenga went into dialogue with the audience, including many of our LLM students, on the importance of taking responsibility to make human rights a reality in everyday life. The full text will be published in our Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights. With the inspiration our speaker provided, we enter another academic year full of research, teaching and impact activities which we present to you in this Newsletter!

Antoine Buyse, SIM director
SIM Research and PhDs
PhD Defence Elif Durmus

On 29 September, SIM fellow Elif Durmus defended her PhD dissertation at Utrecht University. The title of her thesis is: ‘Breaking free. Local Governments’ Boundary-Defying Engagement with Human Rights and Migration. Elif Durmus completed her PhD in the Cities of Refuge Project, working on the engagement of local governments and their networks with human rights, migration and international law. She studied how ideas become norms, and how norms spread, take root and become law, through the case of local governments and human rights. She analysed these processes at the local, but also national and transnational and international levels.
PhD Defence Claire Loven

On 30 September, SIM fellow Claire Loven defended her PhD dissertation at Utrecht University. The title of her thesis is: Fundamental rights violations by private actors and the procedure before the European Court of Human Rights. A study of verticalised cases.’ Claire’s research focused on fundamental rights violations by private actors and the procedure before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). More specifically, the research is about the Court's current approach to so-called 'verticalised' cases. Verticalised cases are cases that originate from a conflict between two private actors at the domestic level. The procedural issues that may arise in them has not received much attention. To fill this gap, the research offers a detailed examination of verticalised cases coming before the Court.
ESIL Conference 2022
Many SIM researchers presented at the annual European Society of International Law (ESIL) Conference 2022 hosted by Utrecht University. The conference was co-organized by SIM fellow Machiko Kanetake. Salvo Nicolosi spoke at the Pre-Conference Interest Group Session on Migration and Refugee Law of the ESIL. Kushtrim Istrefi presented together with Dr Vassilis Tzevelekos on their ongoing project related to the European consensus of the European Court of Human Rights. Julie Fraser spoke in a panel addressing in- and ex-clusivity in university curricula on 'Context, Power and Positionality: International Law in the Classroom'. Tina Stavrinaki participated in the closing panel to discuss the way forward for inclusivity in international law.

The European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) has commissioned a group of Utrecht law school researchers to develop a baseline study related to national human rights institutions in all Council of Europe member states. Led by Antoine Buyse, a small research team consisting of SIM fellows Claire Loven and Janneke Gerards and two legal research master students will work on this project in the coming months.
ICC and Societal Change

Julie Fraser presented a paper at the conference on Courts as an Arena for Societal Change at Leiden University on 8 July 2022. Her presentation, ‘Talking the Talk’: Pursuing societal change by the International Criminal Court (ICC) via local norms, explored how the ICC could employ Islamic law in its cases to better engage with affected communities in Muslim societies. This is part of Julie’s empirical legal research project being conducted on the Court in The Hague.
Refugees and Access to Justice

On 23 September, Salvo Nicolosi spoke on ‘Refugees from Armed Conflicts: Potential and Limits of the Temporary Protection Doctrine’ at the War and Peace Conference in the 21st Century, organized by Ludovika – University of Public Service (UPS) in Budapest. He also contributed with a post on ‘Frontex and Migrants’ Access to Justice: Drifting Effective Judicial Protection?’ to the Debate on Frontex and the Rule of Law, hosted by the Verfassungsblog. On this topic, he also spoke on 13 October at a Conference on ‘Ruling European External Borders, Between Rule of Law Crisis and Accountability Gaps’ organized at the European University Institute (EUI). On 17 November, he will be speaking on Frontex and Human Rights at the Annual Conference of the Academy of Law and Migration (Tuscia University of Viterbo)
Conference at ECtHR

On 4 July, Kushtrim Istrefi co-organised a conference in the premises of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The purpose of the event was to present the main findings of a project entitled ‘A Quantitative Textual Approach of the European Consensus Method of Interpretation in the European Court of Human Rights’. The project is a collaboration of ECHR lawyers, political scientists and computer scientists and was funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS). This event was also used to celebrate the birth of the European Convention on Human Rights Law Review, in which Kushtrim Istrefi serves in the editorial board. The event was attended by former President Robert Spano, registrar Marialena Tsirli, and other judges of ECHR and CJEU and professors of ECHR law.
Human Rights Based Approach Handbook for Higher Education

Felisa Tibbitts is developing for The Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI), based in Lund University (Sweden) a Human Rights Based Approach Handbook for Higher Education. In connection with this she moderated and presented at an RWI webinar on 29 September 2022, which included representatives from Belarusian, Mexican, Polish and Swedish law schools.
Gender in International Criminal Law and its Practice

Julie Fraser hosted a panel discussion on Gender in International Criminal Law and its Practice at Utrecht University on 27 June 2022. The panellists, Iva Vukusic, Rosemary Grey, Antonia Pereira de Sousa, and Pubudu Sachithanandan, discussed the prosecution of sexual and gender-based crimes as well as gender equality at the International Criminal Court.
Institutional Challenges and Gender Identity

On Friday 2 September, Lorena Sosa, Marjolein van den Brink and Gijs Hablous (Radboud University Nijmegen) spoke at a panel on 'Institutional Challenges to Address Transgender and Intersex Needs' during the International Empirical Legal Studies Conference in Amsterdam. Marjolein addressed the challenges to legal gender markers and the legal challenges to non-binary identities, Lorena discussed the topic of institutional challenges for including trans and intersex persons in European frameworks on gender-based violence and Pauline Jacobs discussed the issue of institutional challenges in relation to transgender prisoners.
NNHRR Annual Toogdag 2022

A number of SIM researchers spoke at the Netherlands Network of Human Rights Researchers (NNHRR) annual Toogdag at Leiden University with the theme of Human Rights in (Times of) Crisis. Antoine Buyse spoke in the plenary session on ‘Rule of law and civic space - connected crises.’ Julie Fraser presented at a panel on COVID-19 examining the implicit role of culture and cultural rights in combating crises like the COVID pandemic. Laura Henderson spoke at a panel on Information in Crisis presenting ‘Judging uncertain information in times of crisis.’
Human Rights in Social Work Education

On 30 September 2022, Felisa Tibbitts contributed virtually to a panel “Human Rights in Social Work Education” as part of the European Social Work Symposium that took place in Ghent. This network currently includes instructors from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Ireland who are engaged in promoting human rights as a special interest group within the European professional association for social workers.
ICC Conference

Julie Fraser and Brianne McGonigle Leyh were invited to participate in a conference in The Hague organised to celebrate 20 years of the International Criminal Court on 1 July 2022. The event, entitled “International Criminal Court at 20: Reflections on the Past, Present and the Future”, attracted the Court’s elected officials from over the two decades, including the original President Philippe Kirsch and Prosecutor Ocampo.
SIM Impact
Advice on Human Rights to Dutch Government

SIM director Antoine Buyse and SIM fellow Barbara Oomen, as members of the Human Rights Committee of the Dutch Advisory Council of International Affairs, are among the co-authors of its recent report on the future of Dutch human rights policy in a changing geopolitical landscape. The report, entitled ‘Human Rights: Core Interest in Geopolitics’ is currently only available in Dutch yet, but a translation in English is being made. The report to the Dutch government goes into the pressures that the rule of law, democracy and human rights are currently facing. It traces the changes in current geopolitics, going back to the origins of human rights, and concludes that a different strategy in Dutch foreign policy is needed, basing itself on the conviction that human rights is a core interest and that new and more consistent human rights narratives and partnerships are needed.
Kushtrim Istrefi appointed to the Venice Commission

In September 2022, Kushtrim Istrefi has been appointed a substitute member of the Venice Commission. The Venice Commission provides legal advice to its member states on how to bring their legal and institutional structures into line with European and international standards in the fields of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It is an advisory body of the Council of Europe. Asked about his recent appointment, Kushtrim commented “I am most humbled and honoured to join Europe’s leading and largest advisory body on democracy, rule of law and human rights especially in these challenging times for the European public order. I look forward to working with other esteemed members of the Commission to fulfill the ambitious and noble mandate of the organization”.

Dialogics of Justice in Practice

On 30 September 2022, Brianne McGonigle Leyh took part in an expert meeting on the Dialogics of Justice organized by Prof. Nicole Immler, Chair of Historical Memory and Transformative Justice from the University of Humanistics. The purpose of the expert meeting was to exchange ideas and experiences on the challenges and opportunities of reparations and repair, recognition, and justice after historical injustice. Researchers are carrying out empirical research - in the Netherlands, Indonesia, Nigeria, Bosnia and other places – to explore the social dimension of recognition claims to answer the urgent need for more knowledge on making recognition procedures more effective. he key aim of the project is to reach beyond an individualised victim-approach and to address also the structural aspects of injustices, by examining the dialogue between claimants and accused institutions, such as the state, the military, the church and multinationals.

Sex/Gender Registration in Academia

In 2019, at the request of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Marjolein van den Brink and Jet Tigchelaar (Legal Theory, UU) drafted a framework for stakeholders to decide whether gender information is actually necessary. Following-up on their report, and in the wake of renewed attendance for the policy, including at the UU, Van den Brink and Tigchelaar, together with UU IT engineer Judith Loman, organised a panel at the bi-annual HOlink conference for education supporting staff (17 June), where the causes and consequences of sex/gender registration were discussed. The discussion between supporting staff from various parts of academia and teaching staff, turned out very fruitful. For example, it turned out that in (software) practice it is easy to get rid of the automatic indication of students’ sex on participation lists for the courses taught in the law school.
UN CRPD Expert Monitoring

On October 6, 2022, Jenny Goldschmidt participated in an expert monitoring meeting of the Netherlands’ National Human Rights Institute on Participation and the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
UN CERD Committee 107th Session

Tina Stavrinaki chaired a day of general discussion on racial discrimination and the right to health during the 107th session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This event is available here and here.
VPRO Tegenlicht Meet Up in Amsterdam
On 26 September 2022 the Dutch television program VPRO Tegenlicht aired an episode entitled ‘Trust Me, I’m a Journalist’, covering the work of two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Christiaan Triebert from the Visual Investigations team at the New York Times. Christiaan Triebert’s work utilizes open source investigations. Open source investigation refers to the use of open-source material for information and evidence gathering functions. In a public follow up to the program, on 28 September Brianne McGonigle Leyh was invited to speak on the risks and opportunities around open source investigations and the setting up of an Open Source Investigations Lab at Utrecht University. Other guests included the program’s director, Shuchen Tan, Bellingcat researcher Annique Mossou, and journalist/disinformation specialist Marieke Kuypers.
SIM Teaching and Training
SIM Summer School Success!

The 2022 SIM Summer School course “Introduction to International Human Rights Law” was conducted on-site for the first time since the last two years from 4-8 July 2022. The 22 participants came from over 10 countries with diverse educational and professional backgrounds, including representatives from Amnesty International and the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice. Overall, the participants expressed satisfaction with the summer school experience and the quality of the course. The summer school was co-coordinated by Felisa Tibbitts and Julie Fraser.
Human Rights in Higher Education Panel

The panel on Human Rights and Higher Education took place on 5 July at Utrecht University. The event was co-sponsored and co-organized by SIM and the Soroptimists. Panelists were Dr. Alexandra Timmer (Utrecht University), Prof. dr. Yvonne Donders (College voor de Rechten van de Mens), Dr. Fatimazhra Belhirch (Stichting voor Vluchteling-Studenten), Mr. Jon Verriet (Netherlands Commission for UNESCO) and moderated by Felisa Tibbitts. They were asked to address the question of how to increase the power of human rights within the university setting. Read the article of the Soroptimist here (in Dutch).
EMA Graduation

On 25 September, a new generation of students graduated in Venice at the Global Campus of Human Rights in the European Master on Human Rights and Democratisation - a festive and special moment. We are especially proud of 'our' three Utrecht students Gerard Paituví Sánchez , Chiara Passuello and Tom Pearson - warm congratulations!
Human Rights Defenders Training

In June 2022, the Global Campus in Venice (Italy), with which SIM on behalf of Utrecht University is affiliated, organised a new edition of its human rights defenders training. Marjolein van den Brink was one of the guest trainers. Together with former EMA / SIM student Charles Antoine Leboeuf she presented and discussed human rights gains and challenges for LGBTIQ* individuals.
AHRI 2022 Pretoria

From 1 to 3 September, the annual conference of the Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI) took place in a hybrid format in Pretoria, South Africa. SIM fellow Naomi van de Pol presented in Pretoria on her PhD research on ‘Neuro-interventions in criminal justice: The prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment’ and SIM director Antoine Buyse presented online on ‘Copy-paste? Transferring the human rights protecting civil society to online spaces’. At the conference the Pretoria Declaration on Technology and Human Rights was adopted.
Human Rights Education Training

The College voor de Rechten van de Mens (National Human Rights Institute) is engaged in adult training in human rights education (HRE). On 13 September, Felisa Tibbitts carried out an in-person presentation for the College on HRE, addressing international human rights education standards, good practices, and the relevance for the training of professionals.
Lecture on Rights of Transgender Prisoners

On 8 July 2022, Pauline Jacobs delivered a lecture during the Summer School 'Human rights & Persons Deprived of Liberty' that was organised by the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University. The title of the presentation was: 'Placement and Protection of Transgender Prisoners'. The presentation took place via Zoom and was attended by approximately 60 persons from all different parts of the world.
APA Training on HR-Based Approach and Psychology

On 21 September 2022, Felisa Tibbitts carried out a virtual staff training with the American Psychological Association (APA) on the human rights-based approach, psychology, and the APA, strengthening and complementing the association’s existing commitment to infusing human rights within their work.
SIM Collaborates
Poverty, Human Rights and University Diversity Policies

SIM collaborated with Jeroen Rijnders of the UU’s Class Conscious Academics Network to organize a ‘Classy Salon’ featuring Professor Emerita Geraldine Van Bueren on Poverty, Human Rights and University Diversity Policies on 11 October. SIM researcher Alexandra Timmer featured on a panel together with Dr. Jos Philips ad Prof. Leoniek Wijngaards, to discuss experiences of class and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion policy at Utrecht University. We talked about the difficulty of defining class, the legal constraints of affirmative action and the concrete steps to increase class participation in academia.
Montaigne-SIM Seminar on ECHR Positive Obligations

On 29 September, Montaigne and SIM co-organised a seminar to revisit and rethink the notion of positive obligations in ECHR law. Although the notionhas been well covered in the literature, the Court’s continuous case law on positive obligations as well as new societal developments and challenges gave reason to revisit the topic. The seminar, organised by SIM fellow Claire Loven on the eve of her PhD defence, featured presentations by Ed Bates (University of Leicester), SIM fellow Janneke Gerards (Utrecht University), Catherine van de Heyning (Antwerp University), Philip Leach (Middlesex University London), and Ingrid Leijten (Tilburg University) as well as concluding words by Antoine Buyse.
Transformative Policing Seminar

On 13 September 2022 Contesting Governance’s Transformative Policing Research Group organized its fourth online seminar as part of its seminar series. Dr. Maxime Richard, the West Africa Researcher at the Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM, France), spoke on Policing and Peacebuilding in Côte d’Ivoire, focusing on the rural areas where many police functions are carried out by private security actors. Dr. Róisín Burke, a SIM and Contesting Governance platform member, acted as the discussant, posing questions on plurality and the role of gender in these private security constructions.
6500 Downloads and Counting

Season 2 of Travelling Concepts on Air has just wrapped up! Contesting Governance members, Dr. Tessa Diphoorn (cultural anthropology) and SIM researcher Dr. Brianne McGonigle Leyh (law), explore the promise and ideal of interdisciplinarity, focusing on the idea of travelling concepts. Travelling concepts refers to concepts that ‘travel’ across disciplines and often act as the focal point for interdisciplinary efforts. Concepts that we tackled in Season 2 included: sea level, surveillance, equilibrium, security, facts, sovereignty, queer, violence, youth, and crisis. We encourage all listeners to assign one or more of the episodes in your teaching. Students can then fill out the short survey found here.
Other News
NQHR New Editor in Chief

In August 2022, Katharine Fortin took over as the new Editor in Chief of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights (NQHR) from Antoine Buyse who had served in the position for almost a decade. The NQHR has recently been selected for a pilot by its publisher SAGE, to become fully open access. This means that no author processing charges will be required for publishing with the NQHR and no one will need a subscription to read the articles. Please do not hesitate to spread this good news among scholars working in the field of human rights and looking for a good outlet for excellent research.
Chair of Human Rights Education

A panel on Human Rights and Higher Education was organised at Utrecht University on 5 July. It marked the festive renewal of Felisa Tibbitts’ position as Chair in Human Rights Education at Utrecht University and as a part of SIM. The Chair is funded by the Union of Soroptimist Clubs in the Netherlands, Suriname and Curaçao. Soroptimist International is a global volunteer movement with a network of around 72,000 club members in 121 countries. Soroptimists promote gender equality.

The team of the SIM-run ECHR Blog has been extended with Matilda Rados is joining as assistant editor. She is currently a junior lecturer in international law and human rights at Utrecht University and editor in chief of the Utrecht Journal of International and European Law. She is currently coaching the Utrecht University team of the Helga Pedersen Moot Court Competition. Matilda specializes in the ECHR and transitional justice.
UN Human Rights Committee

SIM is very proud that our SIM foundation board member, professor Yvonne Donders, has been elected to serve as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, supervising the implementation of the ICCPR, as of 2023. With our SIM colleague Tina Stavrinaki as member of the UN CERD Committee, SIM continues to be closely connected to the UN Treaty Bodies system. Warm congratulations to professor Donders!
Upcoming Events
  Call for papers: Equality Law in Context: Illuminating Intersections in Search for Global Justice  
  The tenth annual conference of the Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law (BCCE) will be held at Utrecht University (the Netherlands) on 28-30 June 2023. We welcome paper proposals, particularly on intersections between equality law and other fields of law (e.g. employment law, criminal law, fundamental rights law, competition law etc) as well as other disciplines (e.g. sociology, political theory, political economy, history, gender and queer studies, economics, etc) and/or intersectional inequalities (e.g. racism, sexism, class inequality, ableism, etc) The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 15 November 2022. From Utrecht University, the conference is co-organized by Linda Senden, Lorena Sosa and Alexandra Timmer. Please find the call for papers here.  
  Upcoming PhD Defence  
  5 December: PhD Defence Sara Miellet, ‘Unmoored but not adrift’  
Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights
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