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In this issue: SIM collaboration, research, teaching and training   Read online
SIM Newsletter Winter 2023, Issue 31
Collaboration with the College voor de Rechten van de Mens
in honour of SIM Board Member Yvonne Donders
On 2 February, SIM co-organized with the Dutch NHRI, the College voor de Rechten van de Mens, the event 'Tips and tricks for a new UN Human Rights Committee', in honour of Yvonne Donders. Antoine Buyse chaired one of the panels which featured human rights legend Theo van Boven, former SIM director Kees Flinterman and current SIM colleague and vice-chair of the UN CERD Committee, Tina Stavrinaki.
Welcome at SIM
New SIM Colleague
Roman Teshome

Roman Teshome recently obtained her PhD in public international law at the University of Amsterdam. Her PhD research looks into development-induced displacement, i.e. a form of internal displacement where people are forcibly moved to make room for development projects, from international human rights law perspective. Roman holds an LLM in Human Rights from Central European University and an LLB from Addis Ababa University. She has published academic articles in several journals including the Human Rights Law Review and the American University International Law Review. Roman was the winner of the Human Rights Essay Award in 2021.
New SIM Colleague
Hadeel Abu Hussein

Hadeel Abu Hussein holds a PhD in Law from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her research explores the evolution of land law within ethnic states and international law and how states are constructing land regimes to exercise the exclusion of marginalised groups, engaging with the insights of legal geography theory. Her experience as an academic researcher includes research fellowships and lectureships at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law and the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law, Heidelberg, Germany, at the Bonavero Institute for Human Rights, Oxford Law Faculty, Mansfield College, University of Oxford.

New SIM Fellow
Anneloes Kuiper
  Anneloes Kuiper has joined us as a new SIM Fellow. She is assistant professor at the Molengraaff Institute for Private law. Her main teaching subject is international and European tort law, including human rights related topics such as positive obligations, the horizontal application of human rights and remedies and just satisfaction. Her research in general is focused on the interaction between public international law, EU-law and national law and on the interpretation and application of international law in domestic legal systems. More specifically, some of my recent research topics are the application of and obstacles for the ‘right to a remedy’ in national tort law, the development of human rights in relation to climate change, and the presumed role and possible effects of the EU Court of Justice interpreting international human rights law (due to the convergence between international human rights law and EU-law in the proposed Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence directive).  
SIM Research and PhDs
PhD Defence Sara Miellet

On 5 December 2022, SIM Fellow Sara Miellet defended her PhD dissertation at Utrecht University. In her dissertation, entitled ‘Unmoored, not Adrift’, Sara Miellet examines what prompts municipal actors to develop rights-based approaches to the reception and inclusion of forced migrants, for which she conducted qualitative, empirical research in Utrecht, Nuremberg and Heidelberg, as well as small-sized Dutch towns and rural municipalities.
PhD Defence Roman Teshome

On 25 January 2023, SIM colleague Roman Teshome defended her PhD dissertation at University of Amsterdam. Her PhD research looks into development-induced displacement, i.e. a form of internal displacement where people(s) are forcibly moved to make room for development projects, from international human rights law perspective.

European Equality Law Network at UU wins new tender with European Commission
We are delighted to announce that Utrecht University was awarded a new four-year tender by the European Commission for the coordination of the gender strand of the European Equality Law Network! It counts among the biggest projects managed at Utrecht Law School, and the coordination team consists of Linda Senden and SIM members Alexandra Timmer, Birte Böök and Franka van Hoof. The Network consists of legal experts from 36 European states who gather independent, expert information on legislation, case law and national developments to support the Commission in fulfilling its role as guardian of the treaties, responding to new challenges and setting agendas for law- and policy-making in the field of gender equality and non-discrimination.

The European Equality Law Network has been successfully managed at Utrecht University for over 20 years. Over the past years, the European Commission has increasingly relied on the Network, e.g. basing several legislative proposals and infringement proceedings on our reports. Examples of our most recent reports which were of significant importance to the European Commission include amongst others, The transposition of the Work-Life Balance Directive in EU Member States: A long way ahead and the Criminalisation of gender-based violence against women in European States, including ICT-facilitated violence. The coordination team of the European law network has also just published its yearly update of the Comparative analysis of gender equality law in Europe 2022. Other yearly publications include a European Equality Law Review, 36 country reports, two thematic reports and regular flash report updates describing very recent developments in the participating states. For further information on the network and its publications please visit our website
Generating Respect Project

On 16 January 2002, Katharine Fortin took part in the Final Conference of the Generating Respect project, which looked at engaging religious leaders humanitarian norms in armed conflict. Lead by Ioana Cismas and Ezequiel Heffes, the conference sought to engage academic, humanitarian, diplomatic and religious circles in a conversation about why and when engagement with religious leaders can be beneficial to humanitarian norm-compliance and how it can be pursued effectively.
Gender Persecution at ICC

Julie Fraser participated in the American Branch of the International Law Association’s International Law Weekend in October 2022. As part of the conference hosted at Fordham University in New York City, Julie spoke on a panel addressing Prosecuting Sexual and Gender-based Crimes at the International Criminal Court and chaired by Prof Milena Sterio. This panel discussed the Prosecutor’s now finalised policy on Gender Persecution.
  NWO VENI Closing Seminar
  On November 11th, Lorena Sosa and Alexandra Timmer co-organized the Closing Seminar ‘Structural gender inequalities in EU and human rights law’ at Utrecht University, concluding their NWO VENI projects. The seminar consisted of three inspiring ‘Dialogues’ with experts reflecting on the central issues identified across both VENI projects. Judge Sacha Prechal (European Court of Justice) and Prof. Linda Senden (UU) discussed with Dr. Timmer the different concepts, practices and challenges found in EU gender equality law, followed by Dr. Marjolein’s van den Brink dialogue with Dr. Tina Stavrinaki (SIM, UN CERD) and Prof. Rosa Celorio (George Washington University, Inter-American Commission of Human Rights) the different violence regimes addressed in human rights law. Lastly, Prof. Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko (University of Galway), Dr. Dolores Morondo (Deusto University) and Dr. Sosa delved further into legal theory, discussing the emergence of transformative concepts, their potential and the challenges they bring to human rights law. Prof. Antoine Buyse closed this day of joint celebration with some final reflections.  
African Union Peace Operations

Róisín Burke presented on a co-authored book chapter, with Prof Ai Kihara Hunt based at the University of Tokyo, titled ‘An Alternative Approach: the African Union’s Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regulatory Framework’ (in Gilder etc al, ed, 'Multidisciplinary Futures of UN Peace Operations' (Springer, forthcoming, 2023)). The paper examines emergent conduct and discipline policy and regulatory frameworks for African Union Peace operations, focusing in particular on recent policy developments in late 2018 and their implementation, or lack thereof. It also explores cooperation between the AU and UN on issues around conduct and discipline in peace operations, in line with UN due diligence policy commitments, which are likely to impact on the relationship between these bodies in future peace operations.
Roundtable on Law of Armed Conflict

Between 8-10th November, Katharine Fortin and Alessandra Spadaro attended a roundtable convened by the Lieber Institute for Law and Land Warfare of the United States Military Academy at West Point on the ‘Making and Shaping of the Law of Armed Conflict’. Chaired by Professor Sandesh Sivakumaran, the roundtable brought together some thirty civilian and military legal experts to debate and discuss different aspects of the law of armed conflict. Katharine Fortin presented a paper on the rule of customary international law in the making and shaping of the law of armed conflict. Alessandra Spadaro presented a paper on the role of human rights mechanisms in the making and shaping of the law of armed conflict.
Psychology and Human Rights

On 17 October 2022, Felisa Tibbitts participated in the “Spotlight Panel: An Inclusive Perspective on the Training of Future Scientists” for the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference called “Science, Technology and Human Rights”. This panel focused on human rights education and the training of science professionals. Other panelists included the editors of the Cambridge Handbook of Psychology and Human Rights (2020), a publication to which Felisa contributed a chapter on human rights education.
Climate Change and Global Inequality

Julie Fraser presented on 26 January 2023 as part of an interdisciplinary panel addressing Climate Vulnerability and Global Inequality. The panel was chaired by Maanik Nath, an economic historian at UU, who moderated a discussion on the impacts of climate change and its reproduction and exacerbation of global inequality. The event was organised by the (In)Equality Platform of UU’s Institutions for Open Societies, which is co-run by Alexandra Timmer.
Immigration and Rule of Law Crisis in EU

Salvo Nicolosi participated at the final conference on Immigration and Rule of Law Crisis in EU, held in Grana on 2 and 3 February 2023. He participated as a member of the Scientific Committee of the Research Project on the Policies of Integration of Migrants and Refugees from National and European Perspectives, funded by the Autonomous Community of Andalusía.
Climate Change in Delta Regions

Julie Fraser presented as part of an interdisciplinary panel addressing Climate Change in Delta Regions on 30 November 2022. The panel was organised by the Water, Climate and Future Deltas community, part of UU’s Pathways to Sustainability. Fraser spoke about human and environmental rights, noting the historical shortcomings of human rights and the present innovative approaches to the rights of nature.
Human Rights in Clinical Legal Education

On 28 October 2022, Felisa Tibbitts facilitated a session on the human rights-based approach to clinical legal education as part of an in-person conference at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI), based in Lund University (Sweden). The session included clinical legal specialists and NGOs from Sweden, Belarus and Poland. Her presentation is available here.
War Crime of Unfair Trial

On 19 October 2022, Diletta Marchesi presented her research on the ‘war crime of unfair trial’ at a Montaigne Centre/ SIM brown bag lunch. The discussion was focused on the Al Hassan case in front of the International Criminal Court, armed groups and fair trial. Diletta was a visiting researcher at Utrecht University for three months, under the supervision of Katharine Fortin.
Cross-cultural Perspectives on Human Rights Education

On 21 October 2022, Felisa Tibbitts participated in a virtual panel on cross-cultural perspectives on Human Rights Education sponsored by the Global Justice and Human Rights Initiative of George Mason University (USA). A book focused on this theme is under development, which Felisa will be co-editing along with the organizer of the panel, Dr. Cher Weixia Chen.
CEDAW Commentary

Julie Fraser together with Ineke Boerefijn published six chapters in the revised edition (2022) of the Oxford University Press commentary on the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. The chapters provide commentaries on Articles 17-22 of the Convention, which address the Committee’s practices under the State reporting procedure. Alexandra Timmer co-authored the chapter on Article 5 CEDAW with Rikki Holtmaat.
Legal Identity, Citizenship and the Politics of Civil Registration

On 10 January 2023, Katharine Fortin took part in a workshop on ‘Legal Identity, Citizenship and the Politics of Civil Registration’ organized by Dr Imke Harbers at the UvA. The two day workshop included presentations on every aspect of civil registration, including focus on citizenship deprivation in India (Mohsin Bhat), legal identity and statelessness in Cambodia (Christoph Sperfeldt), Post-colonial citizenship and deconolonisation (Bronwen Manby) and political exclusion, ethnicity and uneven access to civil registration (Imke Harbers). There were also several presentations on civil registration in non-State territory, including by Marika Sosnowski, Ramesh Ganohariti and Katharine Fortin.
Gender-Based Violence in Times of Crisis

On 16 December 2022, Lorena Sosa participated as expert in the webinar ‘Inequalities in the Spotlight: Research Agenda on Gender-Based Violence in Times of Crisis’ organised by the EU-funded RESISTIRÉ project (Responding to Outbreaks Through Co-Creative Inclusive Equality Strategies). The speakers highlighted the increase of Gender-based violence (GBV) and lack of systematic data collection, and the methodological challenges and possibilities related to research on GBV and reflected on the possible shape of future research agendas.
AI in Warfare

On 15 February 2023, SIM Fellow Jessica Dorsey is coordinating a panel at the REAIM Summit in The Hague. She will participate in the breakout session on “Realities of Algorithmic Warfare: Use, Impact & Regulation” and speak to the legal challenges AI in the military domain brings with it. Concrete take-aways include a deeper understanding of how and where (semi) autonomous weapon systems are being experimented with and deployed today, how they are changing the character of warfare, at what cost to civilians and an exploration of political control and legal regulation possibilities to ensure responsible deployment and use.
Other Presentations

On 17 November 2022, Salvo Nicolosi spoke on Frontex and Human Rights at the Annual Conference of the Academy of Law and Migration at the Tuscia University of Viterbo. On 18 November 2022, Róisín Burke presented at a workshop on 'Multidisciplinary Futures of UN Peace Operations', hosted by the University of Reading in the UK.
SIM Impact
Meeting of UN Treaty Bodies

Tina Stavrinaki participated in the meeting of the United Nations treaty body focal points on working methods in the context of harmonization. The meeting was organized following the decision adopted by the Chairs of treaty bodies at their 34th meeting (31 May to 4 June 2022) to ‘operationalize the common position of the Chairs of 2019 and the recommendations of the co-facilitators of the 2020 treaty body review’.
UNESCO Conference

To mark the 30th anniversary of its Chairs/UNTWIN program, UNESCO hosted an international conference in Paris “Transforming Knowledge for Just and Sustainable Futures”. Felisa Tibbitts, UNESCO Chair of Human Rights in Higher Education, participated, along with nine other chairs from the Netherlands. As a follow-up to this conference, Felisa has submitted a think piece on the human rights-based approach to higher education for UNESCO’s forthcoming publication “A new social contract for higher education”.

Visiting Program at Leeds

SIM Fellow Naema Tahir visited Leeds from 16-20 January, on invitation from the city of Leeds which is cultural capital of the United Kingdom for the year 2023. This event was in collaboration with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The visiting program was full of connections to organisations that engage members of the larger community to arts, as a way to empower members of different communities and implement various human rights, such as vocational training, cultural expression and education.


On 11 December, Antoine Buyse was one of the speakers at the final event in Amsterdam's Concertgebouw of the jubile week of the Dutch NHRI. The event was entitled 'Social and Economic Rights: Full Human Rights' and built on the recent report of the Human Rights Commission of the Dutch Advisoriry Council of International Affairs, of which Antoine is a member, about human rights as a core interest in geopolitics. The two other speakers were NHRI President Jacobine Geel, and Amsterdam's alderman of Social Affairs, Rutger Groot Wassink.
Forum on Business and Human Rights

On 30 November 2022, Tina Stavrinaki participated as a speaker in the panel “All persons at the centre: Confronting racism to catalyze the BHR agenda - Day 3 (Room XX) Forum on Business and Human Rights 2022”, with a contribution on remedies for victims of racism.
Duty to Investigate and Prosecute Torture

On 30 November 2022, Katharine Fortin took part in a two-days consultation organized by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, Alice J. Edwards. The invite-only consultation was on the ‘duty to investigate and prosecute torture’ and included 36 experts, covering all regions of the world with a victim-centred orientation.
Human Rights Approaches to Social Work

On 14 December 2023, Lorena Sosa gave a keynote on “Gender-based violence and structural inequalities: human rights responses” during a three-day Seminar on Human Rights Approaches to Social Work, organised by the University of Granada (Spain) in commemoration of the International day of Human Rights. In her talk, Sosa emphasised the crucial importance of social work in realising human rights and the need for a human rights approach guiding social work development and practice.
Fundamental Rights Agency

On 10 November, Antoine Buyse chaired and moderated a breakout room session on 'Rule of law ‘from below’ and the role of the civil society. It was part of a bigger online event on the rule of law organised by the European Union's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). The event brought together representatives from civil society across Europe with EU policymakers.
SIM Teaching and Training
Helga Pedersen Moot Court

Four students of the Master Program in Public International Law (human rights track) of Utrecht University participated in the regional rounds of the Helga Pedersen Moot Court Competition, which took place at Maastricht University. The Competition simulates the procedures of complaints to the European Court of Human Rights. This year, the team (composed of Buse Karatas, Firdes Shevket, Valeria Privalova and Katharina Behr) is coached by Kushtrim Istrefi and Matilda Rados.
Transitional Justice Training for the Hague Academy for Local Governance

On 2 November 2022, Brianne McGonigle Leyh gave a training organized by the Hague Academy for Local Governance. Her training was on transitional justice and the rule of the law. Participants travelled from all over the world to The Hague from countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Uganda, Palestine, and Colombia.
PILPG Ukraine Training

In December 2022, Brianne McGonigle Leyh, who is also a Senior Peace Fellow with the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), took part in PILPG’s online trainings on documenting atrocity crimes for Ukrainian civil society organizations and others working on legal questions in Ukraine. These trainings provide insights by experts drawing on their experience documenting and prosecuting crimes of aggression, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. Speakers include PILPG Senior Peace Fellows and Senior Legal Advisors with experience in international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and documentation.
ERA Training

On 6 December, Lorena Sosa gave a lecture for the Academy of European Law (ERA) in Trier on Intersectionality and the Istanbul Convention. The lecture was part of the course on Current Reflections on EU Gender Equality Law, geared towards academics, as well as lawyers and judges from the EU. In the training, Lorena drew from her research for the GREVIO Committee and European Commission to define the scope of state obligations from an intersectionality perspective across the different pillars of the Convention (prevention, protection, criminalization and policy coordination).
Model United Nations Event

On 21 January 2023, Brianne McGonigle Leyh gave a keynote lecture to help open the 8th annual Model United Nations event at Cals College outside of Utrecht. Having taken part in Model UN as a high school student back in the US, she knows how impactful these groups and events can be. Her talk focused on addressing social inequalities by harnessing the power of people, institutions, and new technologies.
Human Rights in Iran

On 16 January 2023, Tina Stavrinaki participated as a speaker in the discussion organized by the Student Committee of the Public International Law Master. She presented the response by the UN mechanisms on the situation of human rights in Iran from a substantive and procedural perspective.
SIM in the Media
Greek Newspaper

On 4 December 2022, Kushtrim Istrefi published a piece on the Greek Newspaper Kathimerini entitled 'Greece, Cyprus and the Independence of Kosovo.'
Dutch Newspaper

On 18 January 2023, SIM Fellow Pauline Jacobs was interviewed by the Dutch Newspaper NRC on her research on transgender prisoners in the Dutch prison system. The interview (in Dutch) is accessible here.
Upcoming Events
  Workshop: ‘Heads and Tails’ – Admissibility and Remedies at the ECHR
  From 15-16 June 2023 the international academic workshop 'Heads and Tails': Admissibility and Remedies at the European Court of Human Rights will take place at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, organised by Utrecht University (Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice; Netherlands Institute of Human Rights - SIM) and Oslo University (Institute of Private Law).  
  Save the Date: 30 November 2023
Annual SIM Peter Baehr Lecture by ICJ Judge Hilary Charlesworth

More information will follow, stay tune in SIM communication channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and website).
Apply Now: SIM Summer School
Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights
Book Chapters
Antoine Buyse & Verónica Gómez, ‘Human rights organizations and civil society’, in: Kees Biekart and Alan Fowler (eds.), A Research Agenda for Civil Society (Edward Elgar 2022), pp. 99-110, open access.
Felisa Tibbitts & Sandra Sirota 'The Human Rights Imperative in Teacher Education' in: G. Atler,
& W. Fernekes (eds.), The Human Rights Imperative in Teacher Education (Rowan and Littlefield 2022)
Salvo Nicolosi, ‘The Legislative Trends of the Common European Asylum System’ in: Valentina Faggiani (ed), Desafíos y límites de la política migratoria en Europa y América (Thomson Reuters Aranzadi 2022)
Felisa Tibbitts and Sandra Sirota, 'Human Rights Education', in: R. Tierney, F. Rizvi, K. Ercikan and G. Smith (eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education, 4th edition (Elsevier 2022).
Julie Fraser and Ineke Boerefijn, ‘Article 17-22’ in: P. Schulz, R. Halperin-Kaddari, B. Rudolf, and M. A. Freeman (eds.), The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and its Optional Protocol, A Commentary, 2nd edition (Oxford University Press 2022)
Alexandra Timmer and H. M. T. Holtmaat, 'Article 5', in: B. Rudolf, and M. A. Freeman (eds.), The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and its Optional Protocol, A Commentary, 2nd edition (Oxford University Press 2022)
Susanne Burri, ‘Dutch Equal Treatment Law. A Sophisticated Field of Law’ in: Jo Carby-Hall, Zbigniew Góral & Aneta Tyc (ed.), Discrimination and Employment Law. Comparative Legal Perspectives, pp. 35-59 (Routledge 2022).
Journal Articles
Brianne McGonigle Leyh, ‘Using Strategic Litigation and Universal Jurisdiction to Advance Accountability for Serious International Crimes’, International Journal of Transitional Justice 1-17 (2022)
Maaike Matelski, Rachel Dijkstra, and Brianne McGonigle Leyh, ‘Multi-Layered Civil Society Documentation of Human Rights Violations in Myanmar: The Potential for Accountability and Truth-Telling’, Journal of Human Rights Practice 1–25 (2022)
  Birte Böök, Susanne Burri, Alexandra Timmer & Linda Senden, A comparative analysis of gender equality law in Europe 2022 (European Commission 2023)  
Antoine Buyse, Yvonne Donders & Nicola Jägers, Mensenrechten als leidraad voor ons buitenlandbeleid?, 10 November 2022 (Clingendael Spectator)
Kushtrim Istrefi, Kosovo is a Country, and a Country Means a State, Rules the Court of Justice of the European Union, 20 January 2023 (EJIL:Talk!)
Kushtrim Istrefi, The UK Supreme Court in the Scottish Case: Revitalizing the Doctrine of Remedial Secession, 14 December 2022 (EJIL:Talk!)
Salvo Nicolosi, Rescue at Sea and Asylum on Humanitarian Vessels, 23 December 2022 (EJIL:Talk!)
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