Research in the spotlight

This section highlights the current research projects in the spotlight. These projects often transcend the strict division of our research lines

 

  • Human Rights Based Approaches to Development (in cooperation with Belgian Development Agency)

 

Ongoing projects

Public International Law, Human Rights and Sustainable Development. 01/10/2021 - 30/09/2026

Abstract

International law has remained within a state-centric paradigm even with the radical shifts in the global arena over the last half century, including the consistent rise of hybrid actors that simultaneously embody a public and a private character or public and private attributes. These hybrid actors are emblematic of the sustainable development and international law nexus. This project seeks to address the influence of hybrid actors on international law.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Making human rights law more distributive by design:righting socio-economic inequality. 01/10/2021 - 30/09/2025

Abstract

There is a renewed interest in extreme socio-economic inequality. On the one hand, it is acknowledged that extreme socio-economic inequality is economically and socially harmful. On the other hand, there is an acute awareness that climate change measures, and sustainable development more generally, necessitate a renewed debate on socio-economic distribution. Some have argued that the economy of the future must be distributive by design. Human rights law may make a distinctive contribution to socio-economic distribution, but has not shown as much interest in socio-economic inequality as in status inequality, and may also not be optimally equipped for that task. This project seeks to future-proof human rights law by making it not only redistributive, but also more predistributive by design. In particular, it will focus on strengthening the equality principle in human rights law.

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Research team(s)

Future-proofing human rights. Towards a thicker understanding of accountability. 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

Human rights are increasingly described as in crisis. One reason for this is that current accountability mechanisms cannot adequately deal with intricate and multilayered human rights violations that occur in rapidly changing and vastly complex social contexts. Thus, if human rights are to continue to offer a widely accepted framework for thinking about (social) justice, we urgently need to reconstruct the very notion of accountability on which it is pinned, so that better protection is offered. This project revisits the questions of what counts as a human rights violation, who holds human rights duties and how to actually deliver human rights accountability, in the context of pressing and complex challenges. Harnessing the legal, sociological, anthropological and criminological expertise of the consortium's members, it finds resources and strategies for thicker human rights accountability within human rights law, from other domains of law, and beyond the legal realm. The identification of a variety of avenues for achieving better human rights protection will provide the basis for a thicker conceptualization of the notion of (human rights) accountability.

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Research team(s)

Consolidate and scale up socio-environmentally sustainable, accessible and short food chains in the EU. 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

In the 2020 Farm to Fork strategy, the European Commission recognises that the current EU food system is characterized by significant economic, social and environmental externalities. In particular, small-scale farmers and SMEs receive a very limited percentage of the value generated, nature is degraded and consumers have no access to healthy food. In the last years, alternative, short and fair food chains have been proposed as a solution to the social and environmental weaknesses of the conventional food system. However, academic research has showed that these business models often face significant struggles: they often rely on volunteer work; they can hardly scale up; they tend to cater a small group of wealthy consumers. Our project recognizes the need to bring together academic and non-academic expertise to go beyond these bottlenecks and support the establishment of financially, socially and environmentally resilient North-North food chains. With the support of two post-doc researchers hired 50%, the work of two internationally known non-governmental organizations operating in the area of fair and ethical trade (Fair Trade Advocacy Office and World Fair Trade European Union) and four privileged Belgian stakeholders (Flanders' Food, Fairtrade Belgium, The trade for development centre and Belgium Fair Trade Federation), we analyse and assess the potential and limits of existing alternative, sustainable and fair European short-food chains. During the two years, we us stakeholders meetings, desk-based research and qualitative analyses to valorise existing solutions, identify new ones and offer guidance both on how to integrate local, sustainable and fair food into larger food chains and on how to scale up while being financially resilient, fair, sustainable and accessible. In the long-term, the project sets the bases for a research/action international consortium to be consolidated through the two years of the project and the drafting of at least one proposal for a large European grant (Horizon Europe) or a larger SBO IOF grant.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

China: The (not so) Gentle Ecological Civiliser. 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2023

Abstract

I propose to conduct unique, multidisciplinary research to the content, scope, and construction of the Chinese version of sustainability, by focusing on the experience of the legal and institutional framework produced by 'Ecological Civilisation' (EC). It fits into the traditions of Law & Society and Law in Context. EC has been promoted in the last years by the Chinese government as a new and alternative way of looking at the relationship between nature and humanity in the context of the Paris Agreement on climate change. China as an ecological civiliser will project attitudes towards the states, society, and species, and eventually create laws, institutions, and social realities that fit these attitudes. I will focus on the legal dimension of EC in ordinary life and empirically unfold the struggles and contradictions that accompany its installation. To achieve this goal, I will conduct fieldwork in Jiangsu Province, observing trials and interviewing people. Based on this survey, I will identify (1) the holistic and hierarchical view regarding the State, society, and nature, (2) the de facto mechanism of multicentric governance, and (3) the urgent need of adapting national laws to local realities. This research will apply methods inspired by Law in Context and Bourdieu's sociology, with the support of the multidisciplinary approach of Law Faculty and the IOB at the UAntwerp.

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Research team(s)

Private International Law in Motion (PAX). 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2022

Abstract

This project creates the institutional framework among seven research institutions to further consolidate the international Moot Court Competition on EU private international law and to further strenghthen judicial training in this area of the law. The project hopes to achieve the following objectives: - Consolidation, further improvement and expansion of a pan-European and international Moot Court Competition on EU private international law; - Increased awareness of EU private international law among students, legal professionals and academics; - Increased knowledge of students and junior legal professionals (judges trainees in particular) in EU private international law; - Opportunities for students and junior legal professionals (judges trainees in particular) to gain practical experience with the application of EU private international law; - Increased knowledge of EU private international law; - More efficiency and consistency in the interpretation and application of EU private international law, both within the EU and beyond; - Coordinated teaching, mutual learning, colloboration and enlarged networks for those concerned with the correct and consistent application of EU private international law instruments.

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Research team(s)

Intercountry adoptions 05/05/2020 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

Intercountry adoptions in Flanders do not always happen correctly. The Flemish government established an expert panel in July 2019 in order to scrutinize intercountry adoptions in the past. The panel has been asked to issue recommendations to ensure that intercountry adoptions in the future will be conducted properly.

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Research team(s)

Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations in Practice 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

Human rights have traditionally been framed in a vertical perspective (state-individual), with the duties of states confined to individuals on their territory. Obligations beyond this 'territorial space' have been viewed as either non-existent or at best, minimalistic. This territorial paradigm is seriously challenged nowadays. The Scientific Research Network seeks to achieve the following three scientific targets with specific focus on state practice: 1. SYSTEMATIZE To take stock of progress made over the last decade, since the adoption in 2011 of the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in applying the principles, and propose ways forward; we have identified five thematic clusters in which extraterritorial human rights obligations have become most pertinent: development cooperation; environment; investment, finance and trade; migration; and peace and security, and along which the WOG will be organized. Legal developments on these five thematic clusters will be studied from the perspective of four human rights governance systems: the United Nations and the three regional human rights governance systems (the African Union; the Council of Europe; and the Organization of American States). 2. DEEPEN To take stock of conceptual progress and propose ways forward, drawing on the work undertaken in the framework of GLOTHRO, a European Research Networking Programme on extraterritorial human rights obligations (2010-2015). There are two key doctrinal puzzles that need to be examined: the jurisdictional hooks to assign extraterritorial obligations to states, and the question which principles may guide the distribution of obligations among states (and responsibility for violations). 3. BROADEN To ensure cross-pollination with other disciplines and civil society work in the area of extraterritorial obligations: on the one hand, we want to learn empirically from civil society work through concrete cases they are involved in or aware of, including through strategic litigation, and to deepen the interdisciplinary dialogue on ETOs. On the other hand, we want to share with civil society and other disciplines our thematic and conceptual findings (see scientific targets 1. and 2.) in order to have them tested and refined. Through multidisciplinary co-creation of knowledge, we want to expand the knowledge base on ETOs.

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Research team(s)

A human rights based approach to health challenges associated with child marriages in Tanzania. 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

This project aims at reducing child marriage rates and its associated health challenges in Tanzania by using a human rights based approach (HRBA) with a 3-tier capacity-building approach. The first tier is capacity-building for the staff of Mzumbe University (MU) Faculty of Law (FOL) to engage in empirical socio-legal research to better understand dynamics in relation to the health challenges associated with child marriages in Tanzania. The empirical findings gathered by FOL, MU will set the ground for the second tier of the project. The findings will be used to design a training programme based on a HRBA to train social workers in the selected Dodoma region and other regions through a mobile application. In the third tier, the mobile application will be developed and used to equip social workers to become translators of international human rights standards by applying a HRBA in their interventions to deal with health challenges associated with child marriages which will contribute to the reduction of child marriages and its associated health challenges.

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Research team(s)

Sustainable development and environmental justice. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2024

Abstract

Ten years ago, the world saw that finance had permeated every aspect of the global economy. Back then, it was clear that financial interests could not build a better and different world. Ten years later, the COP24 has legitimised a vision of sustainability and climate change mitigation and adaptation where sustainability rhymes with profitability. Financial actors are increasingly finding large returns by investing in the transition to "greener" infrastructure, including the not-so-green Chinese green belt and road and dams like the Belo Monte, a project that originally applied for carbon credits and was labelled as a sustainable investment. Similarly, they can make money out of interests paid by cities that try to reduce their environmental impact, adapt to climate change and implement more sustainable solutions. Green bonds represent one of the main tools used to channel resources from finance into the green transition, but they have not been sufficiently discussed or understood from the point of view of law and socio-ecological justice. If money is the driver, we should not expect private investors to have any interest in projects that won't generate a sufficient return, to support people or cities that cannot pay for the service or for the debt, or to protect poor and vulnerable people from climate change. The project critically engages with green bonds and with the assumption that climate change should be fought according to the rules of Wall Street, i.e. that people and the planet should be supported only on the basis of whether money can be generated or not.

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Green city bonds as a space of socio-ecological conflict. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2023

Abstract

The Institute of Development Policy of the University of Antwerp is seeking to fill a full-time (100%) vacancy for a Doctoral Grant by the University Research Fund (BOF) in the area of 'Green City Bonds to finance climate change adaptation and mitigation: a comparative analysis of legal processes, development paradigms and socio-environmental implications'. Your research is situated in the IOB research field of Development Processes, Actors and Policies and is connected with the Law and Development Research Group at the Faculty of Law. More specifically, your research focus matches the research line "environment and sustainable development" but also engages with questions of contractual and regulatory dynamics pertaining to the interaction between city councils, financial investors and citizenship at the time of climate emergency. Your research focuses on a comparative, power-sensitive and socially-informed analysis of the way in which (at least) three main cities in the world use or plan to use the Green City Bonds to finance their climate change adaptation and mitigation plans. Specific attention will be paid to the legislative, contractual and regulatory frameworks that cities enact in order to have access to the funds, and the implications that Green City Bonds have in terms of identification of adaptation and mitigation priorities, democratic participation, cities' indebtedness and the transformation of the pre-existing regulatory and governance framework.

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Research team(s)

Regulation BIa: a standard for free circulation of judgments and mutual trust in the European Union (JUDGTRUST). 01/11/2018 - 30/04/2022

Abstract

The Project analyses the application of the Brussels I Recast Regulation and is set to provide recommendations on how to achieve a greater consistency in the international civil procedure instruments of the EU to enhance legal certainty, predictability and access to justice in cross border legal transactions. Global legislative developments will also be considered.

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Project website

Human rights accountability implications of mobilizing private actors for public objectives: a study of multi-stakeholder partnerships in education in the post-2015 development era. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2021

Abstract

The research seeks to explore the human rights accountability implications of mobilizing private actors in the post-2015 development era by inspecting multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) in education. Private actors are increasingly infused into global policy-making and implementation as a proposed panacea to governance gaps through hybrid public-private engagements. In this vein, being formalized and supported under the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, MSPs have now become ubiquitous in the governance of sustainable development. While MSPs manage substantial financial resources and operate in ways that affect the lives of a great number of people, they lack a clear legal status, mandate and duties under international law, giving rise to accountability challenges. In domains that are both public goods and human rights such as education the involvement of private actors has previously paved the way for the commercialization and corporate capture of agendas, exacerbating accountability challenges. This research seeks to overcome the paucity of critical legal reflection seeking to evaluate and address the human rights accountability challenges posed by the policy-driven mobilization of private actors in MSPs in achieving public objectives such as the delivery of quality education. To this end, the project will employ empirical research methods using quantitative and qualitative analysis as well as key informant interviews.

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Past projects

Study on the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO). 10/12/2020 - 31/03/2021

Abstract

Describe how BIO operates today and explain how today's structure, strategic mandate, governance, risk management policy and accountability mechanisms differ from those that were in place in 2012 when the DBTFP report was issued; Mapping the projects funded by BIO in the areas of agriculture and climate, Assessing BIO's farming and climate strategy in general and in the specific context of the two case studies that will be selected; Formulating recommendations and indications of possible interventions.

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Research team(s)

Sustainable Developmont and Global Justice (SUSTJUCTICE). 10/02/2020 - 30/04/2020

Abstract

There is an acknowledgement in law and development studies that institutions, including law, matter for development. There is 'a massive surge in development assistance for institutional reform projects'. Lawyers, 'who often conceive of themselves as institutional designers', hence become important actors in development (Trebilcock and Mota Prado 2014: 27-31). However, lawyers have often been given a rather technical training, and are often not able to understand and oversee the broader implications of legal engineering for questions of sustainable development and global justice. The ITP Sustainable Development and Global Justice (SUSTJUSTICE) aims to offer a comprehensive teaching programme based on the research lines of the University of Antwerp Law and Development Research Group (LDRG). It responds to the demonstrated interest and need of participants from the South in comprehensive and focused training on the role of law in pursuing sustainable development and global justice in a development context.

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Project website

National Baseline Assessment on business & human rights. 06/01/2020 - 05/10/2020

Abstract

This project will conduct a national baseline assessment on the current state of implementation of the United Natiions Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Belgium in order to inform the formulation and prioritisation of actions for the second Belgian National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. The NBA exercise will cover all three pillars of the UNGPs, and the 33 guiding principles underpinning the NAP (GP).

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Research team(s)

Support preparation EU application. 15/11/2019 - 14/11/2020

Abstract

Sustainable and just food systems can combat climate change, regenerate ecosystems and provide affordable nutrients, decent jobs, and educated consumers. However, the EU agri-food sector and the global supply chains that feed EU consumers are characterized by an unequal distribution of value among actors and serious environmental externalities. In the EU and elsewhere, small-scale farmers and SMEs often earn too little while players upstream fight on price to gain market-shares and defeat competitors. Farmers struggle to earn a living and are unable to engage in environmentally sustainable practices. The role of price competition and competitive attitudes in undermining sustainability is especially visible in EU chains like grain, vegetables and fruits, as well as in tropical fruit supply chains (cocoa, banana and coffee) that are crucial for SMEs and link millions of small-scale farmers with EU consumers. A range of technological and organizational innovations have been attempted to address socio-environmental unsustainability, but they rarely had a significant impact because of their silos approach and the reproduction of the dynamics of cheap food and price competition. In addition, solutions often come up against the legal barriers posed by competition law, which works to prevent sharing of information on pricing and other forms of cooperation, with no legal support. A more systematic and collaborative approach to sustainable, safe and just food supply chains is required, a fact that is increasingly recognized among EC policy makers calling for "new ways of doing science, research and innovation that put the food system at the centre." This imperative underlies the ambition of CISV (Collaborative Innovations for Sustainable Competitiveness), the objectives of which are to co-construct, pilot and assess a combination of cooperative legal, organization and technological innovations to promote sustainability-oriented competitiveness in agri-food chains.

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Research team(s)

Sustainable development and human rights law (SUSTLAW). 11/02/2019 - 03/05/2019

Abstract

The relationship between law and development continues to be a key issue of debate both in academia and policy circles. The concept of Law and Development is not one-dimensional and has been closely linked with the reality of poverty and unsatisfied basic needs. Although this field focused initially on the economic dimension, as development was mostly seen as a consequence of (if not synonymous to) economic growth, the human and cultural dimensions of development are currently also a central part of the legal analysis. The concept of sustainable development and the rights-based approach to development are now part of the core content of the law and development field. Sustainable Development is a complex concept, which refers to the following topics: environmental protection, respect for socio-cultural contexts, empowerment of the poor, and inter-generational and intra-generational justice (Blewitt 2008:4). Sustainable Development is also connected with global justice because its core concern is the poor and the negative impact of globalization on the poor, including intertemporal impacts (Blewitt 2008:5; Cullet 2010:357; see also Pahuja 2011, 2013). The ITP Sustainable Development & Human Rights Law provides key conceptual and analytical tools to gain in depth knowledge of and critically assess the interplay between law and development. The module offers high quality teaching and learning in a dynamic environment, paying attention to South-North as well as the South-South interactions. In this respect, development is not conceived in unidirectional terms (from North to South) but as a process characterised by complex social, political and economic interactions across the globe where Southern actors play and ought to play roles as important as Northern ones. Key themes explored include not only human rights implementation and development cooperation but also standard-setting on human rights and sustainable development for the future. The ITP purports to overcome the lack of critical reflection on what human rights and sustainable development mean in a development cooperation context and further enrich legal thinking with interdisciplinary insights. At the same time, it offers hands-on training to turn analysis into practice.

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Research team(s)

Project website

Contribution to the formulation of a project of Human Rights promotion in Palestine. 22/10/2018 - 21/12/2018

Abstract

A study on behalf of ENABEL mapping the field of human rights actors in the Occupied Territorities, with a view to policy recommendations on the mainstreaming of human rights in the Belgian development cooperation with Palestine, in particular with regard to the use of information technology in human rights projects.

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Francqui Chair 2018-2019 Dr Margot E. Salomon. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

For the Belgian Francqui Chair, the Francqui Foundation invites every year Belgian or European scholars to stay with Belgian universities, in order to organize a teaching program and to participate in the academic life of the institution. In this way, the Francqui Foundation encourages exchanges between Belgian and European universities. The Master of Laws program (LL.M) at the Faculty of Law of the University of Antwerp proposed Dr Margot E. Salomon as a holder of this year's Belgian (European) Francqui Chair. Dr Salomon is an established scholar with an international reputation. She has published in leading journals (e.g. European Law Journal, Human Rights Quarterly) and at leading publishing houses (Oxford University Press). Her multidisciplinary research covers the broad domain of global economic justice. She examines with a critical eye the contribution and limitations of law in the context of economic globalization.

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Research team(s)

Development of a toolkit related to business and human rights 13/03/2018 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

The main framework for this project are the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) on Business and Human Rights, particularly the second pillar regarding how human rights duties are integrated into the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR). More specifically, this project considers the framework provided by the National Action Plan (NAP) recently approved in Belgium, provided that the toolbox is the first action point of this NAP. The toolbox will be designed for corporations (and their partners) and other organisations with activities in the jurisdiction of Belgium. The toolbox will provide complete, schematic and clear information regarding human rights duties of non-state actors (corporations and other organisations) in the framework of their activities, but also how they can comply with these duties, and if any human rights violation is caused, how they can provide for remedies or redress to the victims. Some of the tools to be included are: a. Human Rights Due Diligence and related human rights impact assessment within the organisation but also in relation to their partners (belonging to the global value chain). b. A system of operational complaints to be provided by non-state actors when an abuse has been caused, in order to offer effective redress or just compensation to victims. c. A check-list on human rights compliance.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Sustainable development and human rights law (SUSTLAW). 12/02/2018 - 04/05/2018

Abstract

The relationship between law and development continues to be a key issue of debate both in academia and policy circles. The concept of Law and Development is not one-dimensional and has been closely linked with the reality of poverty and unsatisfied basic needs. Although this field focused initially on the economic dimension, as development was mostly seen as a consequence of (if not synonymous to) economic growth, the human and cultural dimensions of development are currently also a central part of the legal analysis. The concept of sustainable development and the rights-based approach to development are now part of the core content of the law and development field. Sustainable Development is a complex concept, which refers to the following topics: environmental protection, respect for socio-cultural contexts, empowerment of the poor, and inter-generational and intra-generational justice (Blewitt 2008:4). Sustainable Development is also connected with global justice because its core concern is the poor and the negative impact of globalization on the poor, including intertemporal impacts (Blewitt 2008:5; Cullet 2010:357; see also Pahuja 2011, 2013). The ITP Sustainable Development & Human Rights Law provides key conceptual and analytical tools to gain in depth knowledge of and critically assess the interplay between law and development. The module offers high quality teaching and learning in a dynamic environment, paying attention to South-North as well as the South-South interactions. In this respect, development is not conceived in unidirectional terms (from North to South) but as a process characterised by complex social, political and economic interactions across the globe where Southern actors play and ought to play roles as important as Northern ones. Key themes explored include not only human rights implementation and development cooperation but also standard-setting on human rights and sustainable development for the future. The ITP purports to overcome the lack of critical reflection on what human rights and sustainable development mean in a development cooperation context and further enrich legal thinking with interdisciplinary insights. At the same time, it offers hands-on training to turn analysis into practice.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project website

BOF Sabbatical leave - Wouter Vandenhole. 01/02/2018 - 31/08/2018

Abstract

Sustainable development in no-growth economies: socio-economic human rights revisited (SUSTRIGHTS) - No-growth, be it cyclical (resulting from financial and/or economic crises) or structural (related to sustainable development), necessitates a paradigmatic shift in the understanding of socio-economic human rights and in the role assigned to human rights in development (cooperation). This project researches how to factor in the consequences of no-growth economics in the conceptual analysis of socio-economic human rights, both in the context of a domestic legal order and in global development (cooperation).

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Project website

The role of international (quasi-judicial) mechanisms in ensuring reparation for arbitrary displacement. 01/12/2017 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

This project is part of the researcher's doctoral work, titled 'The role of international (quasi-judicial) mechanisms in ensuring reparation for arbitrary displacement'. This part of the project consists of fieldwork to carry out the empirical part of the doctoral research. This will take place in a local context of forced displacement which has been examined by an international court. Concretely, the fieldwork will consist of interviews with claimants in the case and their representatives, other displaced persons in the context in a comparable situation, and local NGOs, judges and officials working on the issue of forced displacement. The aim is to provide insight into the effect of the chosen decision on the rights user, measured in terms of the user's perception – in particular, whether and how the international decision facilitated them in realizing their rights (or those of others) on the local level. Due attention will be paid to links with the broader social picture of national reparations processes, social mobilization and/or structural causes of displacement. Ultimately, interviews would aim to identify contextual elements (e.g. social, political, etc.) contributing to the impacts identified. On the basis of the totality of the interviews, some more general, initial insights will then be drawn out as to how these elements may be taken into account by international (quasi-)judicial mechanisms and other actors to ensure/maximize positive effects (e.g. safe return, effective restitution/compensation) in future situations. The empirical case study method will be adopted, in particular through the use of qualitative, semi-structured interviews with a relatively defined target group in a specific context (i.e. the context of a specific international (quasi-)judicial decision on reparations for arbitrary displacement). In order to shed light on the perspective of rights-users, the target group of the interviews – categorized according to the users' perspective methodology - will be: 1) Rights claimants - i.e. people directly involved in the international claim as plaintiffs, or people in a comparable position who could be affected by the decision - and/or their representatives (e.g. lawyers, NGO representatives); 2) Rights realizers (i.e. parties in a position to help claimants realize their rights, e.g. local officials) 3) Sympathizers (e.g. representatives of NGOs supportive of the claimants and active on related issues) 4) National judges

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Research team(s)

Desk review and analysis with a HBRA lens of the identification documents of interventions foreseen in next cooperation programme between Belgium and Palestine (CP 2018-2022) 30/10/2017 - 15/11/2017

Abstract

A preliminary desk study identifying links to human rights in documents preparing the new country strategy of the Belgian development cooperation with regard to Palestine, with a particular emphasis on mainstraiming the right to education.

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'God in school? A legal inquiry into the right to reasonable accommodation of religion and belief in educational institutions.' 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

The research aims at answering the central research question whether a right to reasonable accommodation of religion and belief should be recognized in the Flemish educational context. This question will be guided by two sub-questions. 1. Which principles can constitute the normative basis of the legal concept of reasonable accommodation of religious diversity in educational institutions? 2. Which difficulties may reasonable accommodation of religious diversity pose in the educational setting and how can they be addressed?

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Research team(s)

The impact of EU's conditionality policy on human rights in the EU aspiring Western Balkan countries (HREUWB). 01/05/2017 - 30/04/2018

Abstract

This was a proposal to develop an in-depth study on the impact of EU human rights conditionalities on countries in the Western Balkans that aspire to EU membership. The proposal was to analyse both EU human rights conditionalities in general, and the response of selected countries through case studies. The proposal failed to attract EU funding.

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State-based judicial remedies for corporate human rights responsiblity 01/07/2016 - 30/06/2017

Abstract

The project looks into state-based judicial mechanisms and state-based non-judicial grievance mechanisms with regard to human rights violations by business, with special emphasis on the barriers to access to remedy measures. It consists of three parts. First, a mapping is undertaken of the procedural and material aspects of available judicial and non-judicial mechanisms in Belgium. Second, a flyer will be designed which will include the main findings of the first part. This flyer will be accessible to all stakeholders (affected persons or groups, enterprises, NGOs, trade unions, etc.) and will provide clear, quick and concrete information concerning (i) the state mechanisms at the three levels that can be used to obtain remedy or to enforce rights affected by business activities; (ii) the duties of the stakeholders; and (iii) the available mechanisms for their enforcement and compliance. And third, recommendations will be formulated on legal and political measures to remove actual or potential barriers to the access to remedy. The third part will therefore map obstacles (limitations or gaps at different levels such as legal, financial, administrative or procedural difficulties) related to each of the mechanisms mapped in the first part and that may obstruct or complicate the effective use of these ways of remedy.

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Sustainable development and human rights law (SUSTLAW). 11/04/2016 - 10/06/2016

Abstract

The ITP Sustainable Development and Human Rights Law (SUSTLAW) aims to offer a comprehensive teaching programme based on the research lines of the University of Antwerp Law and Development Research Group. The ITP SUSTLAW examines what the potential and limits are of the law in realising human rights and sustainable development in a globalized world. It does so by providing key conceptual and analytical tools to gain in depth knowledge of and critically assess the interplay between law and development. The ITP aims to contribute to a level playing field in the North/South debates on global legal reform in the area of sustainable development and human rights. Increasingly, global debates focus on human rights and sustainable development as two key principles underpinning any development cooperation. Against this background, the ITP is designed to give participants the necessary background and tools in critically appraising the two principles of human rights and sustainable development in legal and policy-oriented debates as well as to assess attitudes to sustainable development and human rights in different geographical contexts. The ITP also envisages the development of writing, presentation and argument skills of the participants to assist them in their career development. In addition, the programme is expected to equip participants from the Global South with the requisite knowledge on political and legal processes underpinning policy in the area of sustainable development for turning the commitment of Northern 'development partners' into reality. This will be achieved not only through interactive teaching but also through networking opportunities with experts from the North, both researchers and practitioners in the field.

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Project website

The human right to water in the context of socio-environmental conflicts in Loreto. 13/03/2016 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

The project aims to analyse the causes and circumstances that explain the systematic violation of the rights to water and prior consultation of indigenous peoples in the Peruvian Amazon, as well as local resistance strategies. More concretely, the project attempts to comprehend the following issues: (i) the production and functioning of the concepts of habitat and water, as they relate to indigenous peoples, the state and economy; (ii) the ways the consultation processes conducted eventually contribute to uphold the State's hierarchy of rights, in which state and corporate rights are considered superior to indigenous rights, thus mimicking the social hierarchy; and (iii) the resistance and defence strategies adopted by indigenous peoples, e.g. by using human rights language (localisation).

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The state's obligation tot protect economic and social rights against violations by transnational corporations: health litigation in a context of resource extraction. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

In principle, human rights law does not impose obligations directly upon private actors, such as transnational corporations (TNCs). States are obliged, though, to protect their citizens against violations by TNCs. They should thus adopt legislative or other measures regulating the activities of TNCs in accordance with human rights standards. Consequently, TNCs are indirectly bound by human rights norms, via domestic legislation. Many developing countries, however, do not appropriately regulate the activities of TNCs in order to maintain an attractive investment climate in pursuance of their development policies. The research project will analyze whether the obligation of developing countries to protect can be enforced through litigation, backed up by a political strategy or not. Can judges directly require or indirectly provoke the strengthening or enforcement of regulations in accordance with human rights standards? At the fundamental level, this might be inhibited by the principle of separation of powers (forbidding the judiciary from interfering with the executive or legislature) and the normative position of human rights within the hierarchy of legal norms. At the practical level, it is should be assessed whether litigation is considered appropriate by victims and whether and under what circumstances it is likely to be successful. For this purpose, a case study will be conducted on health problems caused by resource extraction in South Africa and Nigeria.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Human Rights for Development (HR4DEV). 16/08/2015 - 12/09/2016

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Literature review of options for international financing mechanisms for social protection 04/05/2015 - 27/06/2015

Abstract

Since the ILO recommendation on the Social Protection Floor 2012, social protection is again higher on the international agenda. Financing for social protection will have to be primarily generated at the national level. Nonetheless, and for sure in the poorest countries, international support will be necessary in order to offer social protection to all. This project seeks to 1. map current and proposed mechanismss for international financing of social protection; 2. enrich the discussion; and 3. influence the position of the joint campaign on social protection. This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the client. UA provides the client research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Innovationplatform for Business and Human Rights. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

In June 2011, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council 'endorsed' the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The UNGPs have attracted considerable academic interest, yet research has tended to travel along distinct tracks addressing the topic from either a human rights law or management perspective. The purpose of this Network is to promote collaboration between scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds to identify and examine the conceptual, practical and normative issues that arise in the application and concretization of the UNGPs. The focus of the network will be on bringing insights from law and management together to build upon the UNGPs, to facilitate common understandings of concepts and to ensure that the concepts are readily applicable in both the law and management context. The network will promote the exchange of ideas, sharing of information and collaboration on business and human rights in four different research domains: international public and private law, management, philosophy/business ethics, corporate governance. The aim is to foster mutual understandings, identify knowledge gaps, spur innovative research in these areas and further devise conceptual anchors on which future interdisciplinary academic research can built. This is a fundamental research project financed by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). The project was subsidized after selection by the FWO-expert panel.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Human rights: A Common Responsibility: Transnational Human Rights Obligations. 01/11/2014 - 14/07/2017

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Erasmus Mundus. UA provides Erasmus Mundus research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Children's Rights Obligations of Non-State Economic Actors. 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

The conception of nation States as the sole subjects of international law has been strongly shaken by challenges brought about by globalization. The emergence of non-State economic actors (NSEAs) such as transnational corporations or international financial institutions (IFIs) with de facto economic and political power is a reality that needs to be reckoned with, both politically and legally. Recent years have seen an ever-growing academic interest in illuminating the human rights obligations of these actors and an upsurge of international initiatives aiming to regulate their behaviour. Even more recent is the recognition that children and their rights should be given special consideration, as is evidenced by the 2012 Children's Rights and Business Principles and the 2013 General Comment 16 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Yet existing frameworks fall painfully short of responding to challenges and resolving pressing issues about the children's rights obligations of NSEAs to accord the necessary level of human rights protection to children everywhere. As such, many children are left without the much-needed shelter of human rights law and find themselves in situations detrimental to their wellbeing and best interests. The research project seeks uncover in what ways can the responsibility for children's rights that befalls upon nation States be complemented or shared by the responsibility of NSEAs and to develop principles applicable to the different array of NSEAs for the attribution and apportioning of this responsibility.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

God in school? A legal inquiry into the right to reasonable accommodation of religion and belief in educational institutions. 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

The research aims at answering the central research question whether a right to reasonable accommodation of religion and belief should be recognized in the Flemish educational context. This question will be guided by two sub-questions. 1. Which principles can constitute the normative basis of the legal concept of reasonable accommodation of religious diversity in educational institutions? 2. Which difficulties may reasonable accommodation of religious diversity pose in the educational setting and how can they be addressed?

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Human Rights for Development (HR4DEV): Rights-Based Approaches to Human Rights and Children's Rights. 18/08/2014 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between Unesco and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides Unesco research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Human Rights for Development (HR4DEV). 27/07/2014 - 22/08/2014

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The state's obligation tot protect economic and social rights against violations by transnational corporations: health litigation in a context of resource extraction. 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

In principle, human rights law does not impose obligations directly upon private actors, such as transnational corporations (TNCs). States are obliged, though, to protect their citizens against violations by TNCs. They should thus adopt legislative or other measures regulating the activities of TNCs in accordance with human rights standards. Consequently, TNCs are indirectly bound by human rights norms, via domestic legislation. Many developing countries, however, do not appropriately regulate the activities of TNCs in order to maintain an attractive investment climate in pursuance of their development policies. The research project will analyze whether the obligation of developing countries to protect can be enforced through litigation, backed up by a political strategy or not. Can judges directly require or indirectly provoke the strengthening or enforcement of regulations in accordance with human rights standards? At the fundamental level, this might be inhibited by the principle of separation of powers (forbidding the judiciary from interfering with the executive or legislature) and the normative position of human rights within the hierarchy of legal norms. At the practical level, it is should be assessed whether litigation is considered appropriate by victims and whether and under what circumstances it is likely to be successful. For this purpose, a case study will be conducted on health problems caused by resource extraction in South Africa and Nigeria.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Child soldiers and the EU policy on children and armed conflict. 16/09/2013 - 13/12/2013

Abstract

The project will survey the reasons and practices of recruiting children in armed conflicts today, providing a map of the relevant countries, identifying the worst perpetrators and offering a definition of 'child soldier'.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The global challenge of human rights integration: toward a users' perspective (HRI). 01/10/2012 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

Starting point of the research project is the finding that both rights holders and duty bearers under human rights norms are confronted simultaneously with a multitude of human rights provisions differing as to their scope, focus, legal force and level of governance. This non-hierarchical accumulation of human rights provisions has resulted in a complex and unco-ordinated legal architecture that may in some circumstances create obstacles for effective human rights protection. The central research objective of the proposed network is the study of human rights law as an integrated whole from a users' perspective.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Human Rights for Development: Rights-Based Approaches to Development. 30/07/2012 - 31/03/2013

Abstract

This project maps out the state-of-the-art of human rights-based approaches to development in theory and practice. It pays particular attention to gender and children's rights. Furthermore, it explores the application of a rights-based approach within the four UNESCO domains (education, communication, culture and science).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

International interdisciplinary course: children's rights in a globalized world. 04/10/2010 - 30/11/2010

Abstract

iImplementation of the project "International interdisciplinary course: children's rights in a globalized world: from principles to practice". Expansion and deepening of globalisation results in the challenges of poverty, environmental degradation, child soldiering, child labour and migration assuming a new dimension. These developments challenge the concept of chldren's rights and ask for critical reflection on the role of children's rights as leverage for societal change.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project website

A legal study of power-sharing as an instrument of conflict resolution. 01/10/2010 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

The proposed research aims at conducting an in-depth legal analysis of the technique of power-sharing which is increasingly being called upon by peace negotiators and included in peace accords that put an end to (internal) armed conflicts. The research will, first of all, study the legal qualification of power-sharing ¿ as a component of the wider peace accord ¿ under international law. In addition, the incorporation of the political agreement on power-sharing into the national (in particular constitutional) law of the countries concerned will be thoroughly analyzed. Finally, the proposed research will conduct a scientific analysis of the powersharing agreements from a human rights perspective.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A human rights approach to power-sharing as a tool of conflict resolution in Africa 01/07/2010 - 31/12/2014

Abstract

Power-sharing has increasingly been used as a component of peace agreements. The project aims at scientifically analyzing the use of power-sharing from a human rights perspective. An empirical and a normative perspective will be combined, i.a. for the analysis of selected African case studies. The project is innovative and contributes to ongoing international academic research and policy debate on how to promote the rule of law after violent conflict.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Beyond territoriality: globalisation and transnational human rights obligations (GLOTHRO). 15/06/2010 - 31/01/2015

Abstract

Human rights violations occur daily, all over the world. Sovereign States legally bear the primary responsibility for human rights violations. But what happens when these States are not able to live up to their human rights obligations? Do other States have extraterritorial obligations to help them out? Which role should other actors (companies, international organisations) play? This Programme starts from the assumption that human rights obligations, in particular also in the field of economic, social and cultural rights, need to be re-thought in the present era of globalisation. The displacement of the state and the increased power and impact of corporations and international organisations, pose major practical and conceptual challenges to human rights law. In practice, human rights law faces a serious risk of marginalisation if it fails to adapt to this changing reality. Conceptually, the decentralisation of the territorial state necessitates a fundamental re-thinking of a basic tenet of human rights law, i.e. that human rights obligations are primarily if not exclusively incumbent on the territorial state. The proposed Programme intends to address a dual challenge, i.e. to deepen the understanding of human rights obligations of foreign states, and to bring together sub-fields of human rights study, i.e. on the human rights obligations of transnational corporations, international organisations and foreign states.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Consultancy assignment concerning training session in June 2011 for officials of the EU on "development and Human rights" 10/04/2010 - 30/06/2011

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between UA and on the other hand EIUC. UA provides EIUC research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Evaluation of Norwegian and Swedish Aid in Support of the Rights of the Child. 01/04/2010 - 31/03/2011

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between the Chr. Michelsen Institute and on the University Antwerp. The project assesses the integration of children's rights in Swedish and Norwegian development cooperation. Special attention is paid to mainstreaming.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

UNICEF Scientific Chair Children's Rights. 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

The Convention on the Rights of the Child necessitates the training of professionals in the letter and spirit of the Convention. Universities bear a specific obligation in this regard. The UNICEF Chair in Children's Rights - as a joint initiative of the University of Antwerp and UNICEF Belgium - testifies of the commitment of both to this responsibility. The Chair has its own research programme, and actively stimulates a children's rights component in other research programmes. In its own research programme, emphasis is put on conceptual issues (in particular the mutual reinforcement and enrichment of the children's rights and the general human rights framework), and on economic, social and cultural rights of children. Migration, poverty and child soldiers have been singled out as priority topics for 2010-2012. Particular attention is also paid to children's rights in development and development cooperation. The introduction of a children's rights perspective in other research agendas is sought in particular by organizing expert meetings with scholars in other areas of study.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project website

Chinese Legal Thought and Criminal Law: from Tradition to Modernism. 01/10/2009 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

Since Chinese legal thought has far-reaching impact on Chinese law practice, the main idea of this project is to survey the influence of Chinese legal thought on current Chinese criminal law and to compare with the western standpoint on human rights in the criminal law field. In order to analyze the phenomena and problems between Chinese modern criminal law in practice and Chinese legal thought, I will concentrate on these issues and compare them with the European Convention on Human Rights. Finally, I will conclude on the Chinese human rights situation in the field of criminal law.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The position and role of non-state actors in international law. 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2013

Abstract

Traditional international law is still conceived as inter-state law. States are the main legal subjects in international law. Non-state actors, such as international organisations, companies, non-governmental organisations, armed groups, national liberation movements and even individuals manifest themselves more and more at all levels of international law and policy. The academic research group on the position and role of non-state actors in international law purports to examine what the legal position is of non-state actors in different fields of international law and international relations, and whether that position is desirable from a policy perspective. It will also scrutinize how non-state actors influence the development of international law on the basis of their legal position, and how desirable this influence is. The University of Antwerp will contribute from the perspective of human rights law, and more in particular economic, sociaal and cultural rights.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Right to Education of Undocumented Children. (UCARE) 01/11/2008 - 28/02/2010

Abstract

Despite multilevel attention for the right to education of undocumented children, field practitioners complain about the lack of knowledge on the educational situation of undocumented children and indicate that existing measures are not al-ways adequate. There are no reliable data on the number and characteristics of this group. Moreover, the few studies that have attempted to make estimations fail to inform us on group heterogeneity. As intra-group differences will have a direct impact on the barriers experienced by schools, children and parents, and on the conditions for implementing a more effective policy, it is vital to collect more detailed quantitative data. Further, despite the increasing number of field studies focusing on certain subgroups of undocumented migrants both abroad and in Belgian society, there are few available studies dealing specifically with the topic of educational processes. This project seeks to add on existing knowledge. Target population is restricted to elementary schools for reasons of feasibility and be-cause research shows the determinant effect of cumulated inequalities during primary schooling.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Children's Rights in a globalized world: from principles to practice. 04/08/2008 - 31/12/2008

Abstract

This international, interdisciplinary course seeks to insert a children's rights dimension into global development challenges such as poverty, exploitation, migratino and armed conflict. It departs from a traditional implementation perspective by raising critical questions on the empowerment potential of children's rights under conditions of globalisation.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Cross-fertilisation Between Children's Rights and Human Rights in the Field of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Towards an Integrated Conceptual Framework. 01/07/2008 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

Children's Rights are human rights. Nonetheless, children's rights and human rights tend to be studied as two separate fields of study. In this research, the mutual enrichment of both fields of study is scrutinized. In particular, it is examined how their respective conceptual frameworks could inform each other, and how both could be integrated into one single framework. Economic, social and cultural rights are focused upon.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A Human Rights-Based Approach to Development: Paralegals and the Implementation of Socio-Economic Rights of Children in South Africa 01/03/2008 - 31/12/2009

Abstract

The unsatisfactory implementation of socio-economic rights of children in South-Africa raises the question as to how strategically important human rights are in the struggle for improved socio-economic living standards. Particular emphasis will be put on the potential role of paralegals in a human rights-based approach to development, as applicable in Limpopo province.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Children on the run in detention. 15/02/2008 - 30/09/2008

Abstract

This research project scrutinizes Belgian asylum law and practice in light of international human and children's rights standards. It focuses on detention and conditions of care with regard to migrant children, and makes recommendations for legislative change.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Assignment for the evaluation of the commissariat for children's rights. 13/02/2008 - 13/06/2008

Abstract

The evaluation seeks to answer to distinctive questions, i.e. first of all how the Flemish Children's Rights Commissioner's Office has performed its tasks and duties over the past ten years. The second question concerns the current set of tasks itself: should it be maintained as such, and should these tasks be continued as tasks for the Flemish Children's Rights Commissioner.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Feasability study of a structural cooperation with the law faculty of Kisangani University combined with a research project on the legislative reform of the forester sector and on the impact thereof on the Pygmies in Eastern province. 01/06/2007 - 31/05/2008

Abstract

L'objectif du mission est d'abord d'examiner la praticabilité du dévelopment d'une coopération structurelle envisagée entre la faculté de droit de l'Université d'Anvers et la faculté de droit de l'Université de Kisangani. Le but et aussi d'établir dans cette première phase des contacts locaux en vue d'un projet de recherche concernant la nouvelle légisation forestière congolaise, l'impact de celle-ci sur les droits des Pygmées qui habitent les forêts en province Orientale et l'influence de la Banque Mondiale dans cette matière.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Policy Study Centre Foreign policy, Toerism and Recreation (2007-2011). 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Immunity of international organizations and human rights: towards a concept reconciling both interests. 01/10/2006 - 31/08/2008

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Human Rights Based Approaches for Belgian Development Cooperation

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