Félicitations aux gagnants de la bourse John Peters Humphrey de l'année 2020
University of Cape Town, South Africa
Proposed Program of Study
Research Title: "Towards Bridging the Gap in Women's Access to Justice: Rule of Law Programming and its Prospects for Combating Gender Based Violence".
There have been important developments in international human rights law to strengthen women's access to justice, and combat gender-based violence (GBV). Yet the gap between law and the reality that women continue to experience in their communities is enormous. Among the barriers to justice is the powerful impact of social and cultural norms that discriminate against women and perpetuate GBV. At the same time, 'rule of law' (law/justice sector reform) programming has become a dominant international development approach worldwide, viewed as essential to promoting human rights, justice and development. Yet, while academic scholarship on the rule of law is evolving, the link between rule of law and gender is questioned, and remains an understudied area.
This research is based on an extensive literature review and qualitative empirical research focused on women's perceptions and experiences of justice in Myanmar and Liberia. It will link theory with practice to explore the challenges and opportunities offered by the rule of law programming approach to help bridge the gap in women's access to justice in GBV cases.
My legal education and experience have given me the knowledge and skills to build a career in international human rights law practice that has spanned more than a decade and half a dozen countries. My PhD research enables me to continue honing my expertise, research and advocacy skills to a very advanced level. The University of Cape Town Faculty of Law is a highly regarded institution in the area of human rights and gender equality. My PhD supervisor, Professor Rashida Manjoo, the former UN Special Rapporteur for Violence against Women, is a leading global expert in this field.
LLM, University of Essex, UK
LLB, University of Windsor
BA, History/Political Science, Simon Fraser University
Proposed Program of Study
Title: The Role for International Law in Securing the Right to Health for Vulnerable Populations in Canada, Australia, and Beyond.
Despite its importance, the right to health is often considered too difficult to define, apply, and enforce. My thesis seeks to overcome these difficulties and identify how international law may be used to help secure the right to health. It will focus on Canada and Australia, but will have implications for other states. It will assess whether international law has affected how Canada and Australia approach right-to-health obligations (first, with respect to indigenous peoples and, scope permitting, other vulnerable populations for whom international instruments exist). It will bridge theory with practice by identifying how international law may be most effectively used to secure the right (particularly when treaty obligations may be considered unimplemented). My thesis will also examine how domestic policies—particularly recruiting health professionals from overseas—affect the realization of the right abroad. While recruiting from overseas may assist with securing the right domestically, it can undermine the right abroad if it drains talent from communities that have limited resources to address significant health challenges. Although international law may not oblige clearly health policy-makers to consider the extraterritorial human rights effects of their policies, my thesis will seek to show why, when, and how it ought to do so.
A goal of my research is to contribute to understanding how international law applies to---and, ideally, may be used to help solve---current and emerging challenges. My proposed program meets this goal and reflects Professor Humphrey's international legal interests because it is aimed at overcoming some of the challenges that persist with the realization of international human rights ideals. While my program focuses on the right to health, it will have broader implications because it will seek to demonstrate how socio-economic human rights claims may be most effectively framed. Professor Humphrey played a key role assisting with the formation of binding international human rights obligations for states; however, in some instances, it remains difficult to enforce these obligations. Injustice may also arise when individuals are adversely affected by states, but international human rights treaty obligations are not clearly triggered. The aspects of my proposed program that explore the justiciability of human rights and the extraterritorial application of human rights obligations will seek to show how the law may assist with preventing and/or remedying such injustices. As such, my proposed program could be considered an effort to continue Professor Humphrey's work toward ensuring that fundamental human rights are respected.
My long-term professional goal is to attain a tenure-track academic appointment. I am pursuing a PhD in international human rights law because it will allow me to develop as an academic, explore issues of long-standing personal interest, and gain a qualification that is increasingly required for a tenure-track appointment. The support of the John Peters Humphrey Fellowship would be particularly welcome in light of the fact that my SSHRC scholarship is only available for three years and I anticipate my program will take four years to complete due to the non-thesis requirements of the first year and the fact that I am undertaking the program as a single parent. I am grateful for being able to pursue a PhD, as it is an invaluable opportunity for me to focus on research and writing; grow as an academic; and develop my expertise in international law, generally, and in international human rights law, more specifically. Ultimately, I hope that my program will help me achieve my future goals by making me a more competitive candidate for an academic appointment, while also assisting with refining my research and writing skills and helping me develop a research agenda to guide my future inquiries.
LLM, University of Cambridge
JD, University of Ottawa
MA International Affairs, Carleton University
BA/SBc Political Science, Int’l Development & Chemistry, Saint Mary’s University
Université de Paris Nanterre
Proposed Program of Study
I intend to write about the notion of consent in the law State responsibility, a topic I believe to be understudied. It may be argued that consent forms the basis of an international legal order dominated by States, as States are free to enter into relationships with one another and to agree to become bound by certain obligations. But States may also express their consent to allow other States to depart from previously agreed obligations. While this may be inevitable and justified in a number of situations, consent validly given, and its parameters, must be clearly circumscribed, in order to avoid uncertainties and potential abuses. Two areas where this is even more relevant are in situations of intervention by invitation in the law on the use of force and in the context of maritime law enforcement operations. In both cases, though particularly the former, valid consent by States to some interventions may pave the way for further violations of other norms of international law, such as humanitarian and human rights law. Understanding these issues will allow a deeper comprehension of the impact States’ actions may have on compliance with norms of the utmost importance.
Professor Humphrey is often referred to as “the father of the modern human rights system” and had a career marked by an openness toward the world in a time where international law was still embryonic on questions of rights. I believe that the field I intend to study would have been of great interest for him. One of the situations at the heart of my project – intervention by invitation in the law of the use of force – is closely connected to ongoing issues of rights violation. More generally, while Professor Humphrey was optimistic about the adoption of human rights conventions and the development of international law, his work showed that he was realistic about the central role played by States in the adoption of such instruments and of the importance of allowing for the effective implementation of those rights in the domestic orders of various countries. The subject I wish to research is directly concerned with a similar tension, aiming to reconcile the interests of States wishing to retain some control in their legal relationships with other States with the appropriate preservation and application of rights and obligations essential to the functioning of a strong and efficient international legal order.
As stated above, I believe that the topic of consent in State responsibility has been understudied. If I am granted a John Peters Humphrey Fellowship, I will be able to fully dedicate myself to study in a field I have become passionate about. I have been working for the past four years at the International Court of Justice and I have seen the type of issues that come before tribunals and need to be litigated in order to further objectives of peace and stability among nations. By gaining a deeper understanding of an important part of international law, I believe I will grow as a lawyer. I am still unsure as to which kind of career path I wish to follow after my PhD studies – either as a legal officer working for an international organization or an NGO, or in academia – but undoubtedly, these studies would only help me reach my goals. I am grateful for your consideration of my application.
LLM, McGill Unviersity
LLB, Université de Montréal