The effects of international human rights soft law

Katerina Linos and I have just finished putting the final touches to our paper ‘The Language of Compromise in International Agreements’ and we’re excited about its journal publication shortly. We hope it will make a significant contribution to debates surrounding international law, organizations and human rights. Using an original dataset from the 1991 Paris Principles on the Design of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in addition to several sources of qualitative evidence, we find that the degree of flexibility in soft law agreement language influences state behaviour. Continue reading The effects of international human rights soft law

What is the functional need/specific benefit of global human rights governance?

The actors, mechanisms, and processes of contemporary global human rights governance have their antecedents in a desire to prevent massive violence and warfare. However, the remit has rapidly evolved to encompass a range of global policy challenges, from universal health provision to sustainable development. Human rights provides one normative bedrock upon which to anchor a conception of governance in the service of the global common good. Notwithstanding debate over their meaning and conceptual parameters, there is widespread acceptance that human rights norms are substantially important, reflecting pragmatic, deeply-held shared concerns. Continue reading What is the functional need/specific benefit of global human rights governance?

How can the Int’l Criminal Court be Strengthened?

On 30 April I participated in a seminar at Chatham House on renovating international governance institutions sponsored by Open Society Foundations.  It was a fascinating discussion spanning international finance, health, democracy and human rights.  I had the pleasure of leading a discussion on the international criminal court.  Strikingly, in much discussion of global governance institutions the question of international enforceability is rarely tabled.  Debate is often foregrounded in an emphasis on cooperation and aligning interests over enforcement action in the face of trenchant resistance to transnational regulatory goals.  In part, this reflects a prevailing ‘common sense’ position which privileges applying a problem-solving pragmatism to the global governance problematique. Continue reading How can the Int’l Criminal Court be Strengthened?

Governing the UN Sustainable Development Goals

With colleagues at UCL and the London International Development Centre, we have published a piece on the governance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in The Lancet Global Health.  This publication reflects a highly interdisciplinary collaboration which took the form of a series of intensive workshops through 2014-15 convened by Dr Jeff Waage and Chris Yap.  The report provides an analytical review of the SDG process, drawing on experts in different SDG areas identifying potential interactions. This exercise generates a Continue reading Governing the UN Sustainable Development Goals

European Union Studies Association, Boston 2015

To round off my (economy) jet-setting for the time-being, I have just returned from my first European Union Studies Association conference in Boston. This was new terrain for me, not strictly being an EU specialist. However, my research on new modes of governance, responsive regulation and transgovernmental networks in the human rights domain resonates with a lot of really great EU-focused scholarship (for instance, here and here). I participated in a very enjoyable panel on New Perspectives on the Interplay Continue reading European Union Studies Association, Boston 2015