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In this issue: NQHR's 40th anniversary, research, teaching and training   Read online
SIM Newsletter Winter 2022, Issue 28
Dear colleagues and friends,

In the past year, SIM itself celebrated its 40th anniversary. This year we turn to a second jubilee: our own Utrecht-based Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights also reaches the milestone of four decades. To celebrate, we organised a special online meeting of our esteemed international board with representatives from all continents this month. And to give back to the wider academic community of which we are part, we also held a very-widely attended workshop for early career researchers on "how do peer reviewers assess academic articles", featuring three of our international board members. Among the treasure trove of advice they provided, the best takeaways were "Don't take reviews personally, but see them as feed-forward" and "Rejection is not the end of the world, so don’t give up!". I couldn't agree more.

Enjoy this newsletter with updates on the work and publications of SIM researchers!

Antoine Buyse, SIM director and NQHR editor-in-chief
Four Decades of Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights
Online Peer Review Workshop
In 2022, SIM's flagship international journal, the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, celebrates its 40th anniversary. In February a special online international board meeting took place to take stock. The NQHR also organised an event to give back to the academic community: a workshop entitled 'How do peer reviewers assess academic articles?' geared towards early-career researchers entitled. NQHR international board members Barbara Oomen, Ian Seiderman, and Elina Pirjatanniemi gave advice to the researchers in the audience and answered questions.
SIM Impact
Third-Party Intervention

On 20 December 2021, a coalition of academics, including SIM researchers Antoine Buyse and Kushtrim Istrefi, submitted a third-party intervention to the European Court of Human Rights in the so-called 'Academics for Peace' cases. The intervention addresses the connection of the case with academic freedom and its importance in and for the Convention system. For more, see here.
Legislation Advice

The Armenian human rights NGO New Generation Humanitarian NGO is working on a draft bill to enable trans persons to change their legal gender marker. Marjolein van den Brink has been engaged to advise on the contents of the draft text, following up on a recommendation of the Dutch embassy in Yerevan. She will also assist the NGO in their presentation of the proposal with the responsible ministers and other stakeholders, highlighting in particular international human rights obligations in this area, as well as the relevant Dutch legal framework.
Seminar on Online Teaching for Turkish Academics

Felisa Tibbitts carried out a weekend seminar for the Gender Equality and Solidarity Network on how to move from classroom-based teaching to online learning (18-19 December). This was the third group of instructors, most of whom are no longer allowed to teach in Turkish universities, that she has carried out such training for over the past three years.
Training on Documentation of Human Rights Violations 

On 3 November Brianne McGonigle Leyh gave a training organized by the Public International Law & Policy Group on best practices around documentation of human rights violations. Participants were Ukrainian civil servants and civil society leaders following the online course related to transitional justice and human rights.
The Future of Human Rights

Antoine Buyse, Laura Henderson, and Kees Flinterman were among a group of experts interviewed about the future of human rights in the December issue of Wordt Vervolgd, the member's magazine of the Dutch section of Amnesty International.
African Teacher Training

Felisa Tibbitts completed a three-module curriculum for UNESCO on Global Citizenship Education including Human Rights Education and led weekly live sessions with English-speaking African primary school teachers. This task was linked with her broader work with UNESCO’s global ASPnet network, focusing on teacher training institutions.
Expert Roundtable on Afghanistan

On 1 October 2021, Julie Fraser spoke as part of an expert roundtable on Afghanistan looking at Pathways to Peace hosted by the Public International Law & Policy Group in the USA. The event was moderated by Milena Sterio and panellists included the former Afghan Ambassador to the WTO, Amb. Haqjo. Julie addressed what accountability options remain internationally and the situation of women’s rights. Details and the recording of the event are here.
Expert in a Parliamentary Hearing 

In January 2022, Barbara Oomen participated as an expert in a parliamentary hearing on human rights in Afghanistan and gave a lecture in the project College Tour Junior to children at primary school De Lonneboot in Nieuw- & St Joosland.
Human Rights Tulip

In December 2021, Antoine Buyse was again a jury member of the Human Rights Tulip, the prize awarded every year by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands to support the work of human rights defenders worldwide. This year's winner was Ugandan human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo.

Felisa Tibbitts has been re-appointed as a chair in human rights education for the second term of five years (2022-2026). Katharine Fortin has been appointed as a new member of the Utrecht Young Academy. Congrats to them all!
SIM Research
Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination Annual Legal Seminar
Alexandra Timmer, Franka van Hoof and Birte Böök as part of the European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination conducted an annual legal seminar that took place on 26 November 2022. Despite being online, the seminar was a very interesting and much-appreciated event. As usual, it brought together almost 200 representatives of the European Commission, EU Member State governments, equality bodies, EU umbrella organisations, academics from across Europe, and members of the network itself. The seminar opened with a very inspiring Key-note speech by Adam Bodnar, former Commissioner of Human Rights of Poland, lawyer, and human rights activist which was followed by 6 workshops on various non-discrimination and gender equality themes in the afternoon.
Building a common European front against gender-based violence

On 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the gender equality stream of the European Equality Law Network, published a study that examines the criminal legislation of 31 European States on gender-based violence against women including online violence. The comparative study is co-authored by Lorena Sosa and coordinated by Alexandra Timmer, Birte Böök, and Franka van Hoof. The report was written at the request of the European Commission to feed into their preparatory work for the legislative proposal to prevent and combat gender-based violence and domestic violence. The legislative proposal is expected to be presented by the European Commission in March 2022.
Comparative Report of Gender-Based Violence

On November 26, Lorena Sosa presented with Sara de Vido their comparative report on 'Criminalisation of gender-based violence against women in European States, including ICT-facilitated violence', in the annual legal seminar on non-discrimination and gender equality organised by the European Equality Law Network for the Directorate Equality and Union Citizenship of the European Commission. In the workshop, they provided an overview of the report with special emphasis on online violence, including hate speech, stalking, domestic violence, sexual violence and rape, and femicide.’ The seminar was attended by almost 200 representatives of the European Commission, EU Member State governments, equality bodies, EU umbrella organisations, academics from across Europe and members of the network itself. 
Gender and Crime

On 25 and 26 November 2021 the Kriminologisches Forschungsinstitut Niedersachsen organised an interdisciplinary online conference on ‘Gender & Crime). Together with Tatiana Zimenkova (Hochschule Rhein-Waal), Verena Molitor (Universität Bielefeld) and Christine Quinan (University of Melbourne), Marjolein van den Brink presented a paper with the (working) title: ‘Zwischen Geschlechtergrenzen und Genderbinarität: Der Beitrag der Gesetzgebung/Rechtsprechung zu Ungenauigkeiten, Exklusionen und Othering bei Polizeiarbeit mit der queeren Community, an internationalen Grenzen und bei Inhaftierungen‘. The workshop was attended by some 170 people. The contribution of Van den Brink and colleagues will be published in a conference volume.
Online Seminar on UN Accountability

On 7 January 2022, Róisín Burke and Ai Kihara Hunt (the University of Tokyo) organised an online seminar on ‘Recent shifts in the UN’s Approach to Accountability for Misconduct and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse’. The event was hosted by The University of Tokyo Humanities Center. The Panel focused on develops in the UN’s approach to accountability for misconduct and sexual exploitation and abuse within the UN system, and on shifts in focus to victims’ rights and the work of the UN Office of Victims’ Rights Advocate. Speakers included, Assistant UN Secretary-General Jane Connors (the UN Victims’ Rights Advocate), Maria Fernanda Perez Solla (Senior Victims' Rights Officer, United Nations, Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA)), Dr Ai Kihara-Hunt, and Róisín Burke.

Visiting Scholarship at University of Washington

Julie Fraser was hosted as a visiting scholar by the Department of Law, Societies and Justice at the University of Washington in September and October 2021. Julie met with colleagues performing socio-legal research across disciplines on topics including human rights, international courts, and criminal justice. Julie met with the Chair of the Department, Professor Katherine Beckett, and director of the Centre for Human Rights Professor Angelina Godoy.

International Humanitarian Law in Islam

Julie Fraser was invited to a high-level conference in Rabat, Morocco in October 2021 examining the Provisions and Rules of International Humanitarian Law in Islam. The conference was hosted by the Al Quaraouiyine University, Fez, and the National Commission for International Humanitarian Law. Julie’s presentation was entitled: The Role of Islamic Law in the Prosecution of Violations of International Humanitarian Law at the International Criminal Court: New allies in times of armed conflict. (photo above with Dr Ahmed Al-Dawoody, ICRC)
Addressing Hate Speech through Education

Felisa Tibbits presented on a virtual panel discussion organized by UNESCO and USC Shoah Foundation on the topic of “How to counter antisemitism: the role of educators and education." She presented specific strategies that educators and school leaders can use to combat discrimination and hate speech. She highlighted that addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech. It does mean keeping hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous, particularly incitement to discrimination, hostility, and violence, which is prohibited under international law. Meaningful inclusion of human rights norms and legal standards in school curriculum concerns deep engagement with the ethics of non-discrimination, the rights of vulnerable groups, and solidarity with them in protecting and ensuring that their human rights are respected.
Generating Respect Conference

On 6th December, Katharine Fortin took part in the Opening Roundtable for the Generating Respect Conference 2021 which was entitled ‘Religious Actors and Humanitarian Norms Compliance in Armed Conflict: Roles, Influence, Engagement. The opening roundtable was entitled ‘Civilian Engagement as a Strategy to Enhance Norm Compliance in Armed Conflict’ and was organized by the Generating Respect Project and Geneva Call. Other speakers at the roundtable were Dr Rebecca Sutton (Glasgow University), Professor Andrew Clapham (Graduate Institute) and Mr Omar Ahmed (Geneva Call). On 7th December, Katharine acted as a discussant on a panel entitled ‘Religious Leaders in Armed Conflict- Lessons from the Field: Yemen & Syria’. The speakers were Marta Fulan, Generating Respect Project, Omar Ahmed, Geneva Call and Yousef Syed Khan.

Reinvesting International Law

Julie Fraser co-hosted a panel at the American branch of the International Law Association’s International Law Weekend: Reinvesting in International Law. The panel on 29 October was co-hosted by Milena Sterio and entitled: Prosecuting the Crime of "Ecocide" at the ICC and Elsewhere. The panellists, Kate MacKintosh, Jojo Mehta, and Leila Sadat, discussed the history and development of the crime of ‘ecocide’, its potential codification in international law, and its ability to address environmental destruction in practice.

Presumption of Innocence in Criminal Law

On 21 January Julie Fraser and Brianne McGonigle Leyh organized an online seminar for the Montaigne Research Center on the Presumption of Innocence in Criminal Law. Speakers included Dr. Michelle Coleman, who recently wrote a book on this topic, Kate Gibson, a renowned international criminal defense lawyer, and Dr. Joep Lindeman, an expert in Dutch and European criminal law.
SIM Teaching, Training and PhDs
PhD Defence - Human Rights Education and Racism 

Lisenne Delgado successfully defended her thesis in December 2021. She researched how human rights education is related to racism. The United Nations and Curaçao were her study cases. She found that in providing human rights education there is a danger of perpetuating legacies of White supremacy and the legacies of European colonialism. Depending on how human rights education is provided it therefore either contributes to racism or the elimination of racism. She was under the supervision of Barbara Oomen and R.M. Allen.
PhD Defence - Local authorities, human rights and the reception and integration of forced migrants in Greece and Italy

On 17 December 2021, Tihomir Sabchev successfully defended his PhD dissertation titled 'Local authorities, human rights and the reception and integration of forced migrants in Greece and Italy'. In the last four years, he studied the responses of Greek and Italian municipalities to the arrival and settlement of asylum seekers and refugees under the supervision of Barbara Oomen and Moritz Baumgärtel. In case you have missed the defense, you can watch the recording here. Some of the articles included in his dissertation have already been published and can be accessed via the Cities of Refuge website.
Transitional Justice Training for The Hague Academy for Local Governance

On 13 October Brianne McGonigle Leyh gave training organized by the Hague Academy for Local Governance. Her training was on transitional justice and the rule of the law. Participants traveled from all over the world to The Hague from countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Uganda, Palestine, and Colombia.
PhD Defence - Defining the Control of Territory by Armed Groups in Armed Conflict

On 15th December, Katharine Fortin sat on the jury Joshua Niyo’s PhD defence at the Graduate Institute, together with Professor Paola Gaeta. The thesis was entitled ‘Defining the Control of Territory by Armed Groups in Armed Conflict’ and was supervised by Professor Andrew Clapham. Joshua Niyo defended the manuscript magna cum laude. 
Lawyering Justice Talk

On 1 December 2021, Brianne McGonigle Leyh and Marieke de Hoon (University of Amsterdam) spoke with students involved with the Lawyering Justice law students at the Free University of Amsterdam (VU). Brianne spoke about the history and work of the International Criminal Court in the lead up to the Assembly of States Parties taking place in the second week of December 2022.
Visiting Lectures

October 2021, Diana Odier-Contreras gave a lecture to current PhD researchers on 'Legal and interdisciplinary legal research: opportunities and challenges' at the University of Poznan, Poland. The subsequent month, she gave a lecture on the Future of the Inter-American Human Rights System to LLM students at Radboud University Nijmegen and a lecture on human rights regional systems to junior diplomats at the Clingendael Institute. Then, on 9 December 2021, she participated in the (online) studium generale of Bhayangkara University of Jakarta with the lecture "Remedies in International Criminal Law.”
Global Campus of Human Rights
Antoine Buyse and Marjolein van den Brink have continued their involvement in the Global Campus in Venice. SIM, on behalf of the UU, is especially involved in the European Master on Human Rights and Democratisation (EMA); Buyse as EMA director on behalf of the UU, and Van den Brink as the daily coordinator for the three EMA students who come to study in Utrecht in the second semester.

In November both Buyse and Van den Brink taught in Venice. Buyse spoke on election rights in Europe and Van den Brink coordinated the week-long elective course on Gender, together with Teresa Pizarro Beleza (NOVA) University, Lisbon).
Invited by the project department of the Global Campus, Van den Brink also contributed to the Human Rights Defenders training which the Global Campus organises twice yearly. Among the attendees are Sakharov fellows. Van den Brink especially focused on human rights from a SOGIESC perspective (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics).
ERA Training on Discrimination Case Law

On 15 December 2021, Antoine Buyse gave an online presentation for practising lawyers and judges from across Europe in the ERA training workshop on discrimination case-law in Europe. Antoine presented on “Recent ECtHR case-law on speech and discrimination”
ERA Training on LGBTQI Rights in the EU

In December 2021 the ERA organised a (live!) seminar for legal professionals on the application of EU non-discrimination law. Marjolein van den Brink was invited to speak about ‘LGBTIQ rights in the EU’. In January 2022 she moderated an online session on legal gender recognition, with Susanne Gössl (University of Kiel) and Lena Holzer (Graduate Institute, Geneva, and former SIM & EMA student!)
Podcast: Travelling Concepts on Air, over 4000 downloads!

Season 2 of Travelling Concepts on Air has just kicked off with the concepts of Sea Level and Surveillance, with Equilibrium, Facts, and Youth, and other concepts on the way! Together, Tessa Diphoorn from cultural anthropology and Brianne McGonigle Leyh 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. We encourage all listeners to assign one or more of the episodes in your teaching.
MOOC Course on the European Convention of Human Rights

Register now for the newest edition of our Massive Open Online Course, 'Human Rights for Open Societies, an Introduction to the ECHR', which will run on 10 February. The MOOC is organised by Antoine Buyse, Janneke Gerards and Claire Loven on the Coursera platform. Find a link to the course here and in the registration section of the newsletter below.
SIM Summer School 2022
SIM in the Media
In January, Antoine Buyse was interviewed in a number of Dutch media about the twitter comments of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture about Dutch police violence, including in the radio programme Met het Oog op Morgen, in the RTL4 evening news, on nos.nl and in the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
Alexandra Timmer spoke on live tv and radio at BNNVARA: De Nieuws BV: Nieuwe Regelgeving Tegen Online Vrouwenhaat
On 5 November 2021, Brianne McGonigle Leyh spoke on BBC News Ulster on the topic of universal jurisdiction and the domestic prosecution of serious international crimes.
Barbara Oomen was interviewed in the Dutch podcast 'Coronatoegangsbewijs en het recht', Bits of Freedom, Amsterdam. On 11 January 2022, she also appeared in the Dutch podcast ‘NPO Dit is de Dag’ about the Netherlands and Human Rights. She was a guest on the platform De Nieuwe Wereld TV to talk about the importance of fundamental rights in a democratic constitutional state.
In light of Human Rights Day on 10 December 2021, Felisa Tibbits was interviewed by Utrecht University’s media department about her role and the content of the new Dutch citizenship education law for schools, which contains a human rights education element. The interview can be found here.
Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights
European Equality Law Review
  The European Equality Network also published the second issue of the 2021 European Equality Law Review on 26 November 2021, which provides an overview of legal and policy developments in the field of gender equality and non-discrimination across Europe from 1 January to 30 June 2021. In addition, the issue features three in-depth articles.  
Antoine Buyse, Katharine Fortin, Brianne McGonigle Leyh and Julie Fraser, ‘The Rule of Law from Below – A Concept Under Development’ (2021) 17(2) Utrecht Law Review pp. 1–7.
Salvatore Nicolosi and Solomon Momoh, 'International Solidarity and the Global Compact on Refugees: What Role for the African Union and the European Union?' (2022) Journal of African Law 1.
Brianne McGonigle Leyh, ‘The Role of Universities and Law Schools in Documenting Serious International Crimes and Advancing the Rule of Law’ (2021) 17(2) Utrecht Law Review pp. 87–101.
Katharine Fortin, 'Of Interactionality and Legal Universes: A Bottom-Up Approach to the Rule of Law' (2021) 17(2) Utrecht Law Review pp. 26-41.
Julie Fraser, 'Culture as Key to Realising Rights in Times of Crisis: COVID19' (OpinioJuris, 23 December 2021)
Elmin Omičević, ‘Between Security, Secrecy and Scrutiny: Enigmatic External Activities by European Agencies and Bodies in the Fight against Crime’ (Europeanlawblog, 24 November 2021)
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