AHRI Conference, 2-3 September 2016

About the author(s):

Katharine Fortin is an Associate Professor at Utrecht University where she teaches IHL and IHRL. Before joining Utrecht University, she worked at the ICTY, ICC and Norton Rose Fulbright. She is the author of The Accountability of Armed Groups under Human Rights Law (Oxford University Press, 2017) which won the 2018 Lieber Prize. She has written widely about the framework of law that applies to armed groups in non-international armed conflicts and is one of the editors of the Armed Groups and International Law blog.

wtu-dom (1)On 2-3 September 2016, the Netherlands Institute Human Rights is very honoured to be hosting the Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI) Research Conference 2016. The AHRI research conference is one of the largest inter-disciplinary and general research conferences on human rights. The conference is open to both AHRI members and non-AHRI members and junior and senior academics.

The overriding theme of the 2016 conference is the fiftieth anniversary of the ICCPR and ICESCR. The conference provides an opportunity to reflect on the past and future of human rights protection. As a member of the conference organising committee, I would like to encourage readers of this blog to consider submitting proposals for individual papers and panels on the following six thematic tracks (please see here for submissions guidelines):-

• 1. Indivisibility and Interactions of Norms and Regimes

This track invites submissions which look into the interactions between different sets of rights and between different human rights protection regimes. How do the two sets of rights represented by the two UN Covenants, civil-political and socio-economic, interact? How do regional regimes affect global human rights institutions and vice versa? And how does crossfertilization across regions and between states in the area of human rights work in practice?

• 2. Citizenship, Migrants and Refugees

This track juxtaposes the insiders and outsiders of human rights protection as one of the fiercest battlegrounds. How do differences in treatment between citizens and refugees and migrants play out in practice? Which normative underpinnings frame these policies and to what extent can they be challenged? Do we need to re-define the concepts of citizenship and refugees and rethink rights related to freedom of movement and territoriality? Are existing treaties up for revision or are entirely new frameworks necessary?

• 3. Non-state Actors and Human Rights

This track welcomes contributions related to influential actors and institutions beyond the state. Whereas the two UN Covenants focused traditionally on the role of the state, one may question whether they are still useful tools to address the human rights behaviour, both positive and negative, of non state actors such as armed groups, businesses and civil society organisations.

• 4. The European Union and Human Rights

This track, organized in cooperation with the EU FRAME Project, explores how the European Union, both as a global player and in its internal policies geared towards its Member States, respects and protects human rights. To what extent does coherence exist between these internal and external policies? How does the EU deal with the two sets of rights represented by the UN Covenants?

• 5. The Global Economy and Human Rights

This track welcomes submissions related to the effects of global inequality, of the economic crisis and austerity measures, and the role of international financial and economic institutions and their impact on human rights protection. Does the idea of progressive realization of rights, as reflected in ICESCR, still make sense? And do we need to imbue our research with new concepts and methodologies to deal with the linkages between the economy and human rights protection?

• 6. New Avenues in Human Rights Research

This track invites exploration into new themes and methodologies of human rights research. Which issues reflect new human rights challenges for the present and what are the future prospects of current human rights norms, as e.g. laid down in the two Covenants? Do we need to re-think existing human rights historiographies? Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary papers are particularly welcome.


The 2016 AHRI conference is hosted by the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) of Utrecht University, and will take place on 2-3 September 2016. The conference coincides with SIM’s 35th anniversary, which will be celebrated in the evening of 1 September.

The conference is open to both AHRI and non-AHRI members and aims to bring together both junior and senior academics to present innovative human rights research in the law, the humanities, the social sciences and other disciplines. Travel and accommodation costs are expected to be covered by the participants themselves. Individual bursaries may be available for particular panels upon request. A registration fee of 70 EUR will cover amenities and lunches during both days of the conference.

The deadline for submission of abstracts and panel proposals is 25 March 2016. Submissions should be sent to AHRI@uu.nl. All abstracts will be reviewed by the AHRI Programme Committee and selections announced by early May 2016. Formal registration for the conference will be possible from mid-May onwards.

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