LDRN partner University of Antwerp Law and Development Research Group participates in launching official Belgian business & human rights website

The Law and Development Research Group at the University of Antwerp Law Faculty – an LDRN partner institution – recently participated in launching the official website on the Belgian National Baseline Assessment on business and human rights, together with HIVA-KULeuven and the International Peace Information Service (academic partners in the research team) and the Belgian Federal Institute for Sustainable Development and the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation (commissioning authorities).

The website seeks to inform stakeholders about the National Baseline Assessment, facilitate their active involvement and open communication channels with the research team. The website is available in English, French and Dutch, and can be viewed here.


The IEL Collective launches conversations on COVID-19 and international economic law

The IEL Collective has recently developed a bank of resources on international economic law, including blogs, articles and a YouTube channel called The IEL Collective Conversations, which is currently focused on exploring different dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic and international economic law.  These resources can be found here.

The IEL Collective and its members have also produced a series of articles on The IEL Collective Medium Publication on COVID-19 and IEL, including ‘International Economic Law and COVID-19’ by The IEL Collective; ‘Subverting the Logic of Utilitarianism in Times of COVID-19’ by Gamze Erdem Türkelli; ‘International Public Finance and COVID-19: A New Architecture is Urgently Needed’ by Celine Tan and ‘COVID-19 and the Precarity of International Investment Law’ by Daria Davitti, Jean Ho, Paolo Vargiu and Anil Yilmaz Vastardis.

The IEL Collective was launched at its inaugural conference in November 2019 to provide a space for critical reflection on the complex interactions in the growing field of international economic law. The Collective currently has 12 partner institutions from 10 universities from the UK, Sweden and Colombia, including LDRN partners Warwick Law School and Cardiff Law and Global Justice. The Collective aims to explore how epistemological and methodological diversity in the discipline can contribute towards the development of a more holistic landscape of scholarship on law and the governance of the global economy. The community would like to stimulate conversations about plurality, representation and criticality in researching, teaching and practising international economic law and spark new conversations about the future of the discipline. 

The Collective welcomes contributions by scholars, practitioners and anyone else interested in the relationship between law and the global economy. Please email: ielcollective [at] warwick.ac.uk or check out @iel_collective on Twitter.

Dr. Jeff Handmaker (ISS) publishes new work on legal mobilization and Palestine

Over the past few months, Dr. Jeff Handmaker of the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), an LDRN partner institution, has (co-)authored a number of new publications on the theme of legal mobilization, with a focus on Palestine.

In May 2020, his chapter on ‘Lawfare against Academics and the Potential of Legal Mobilization as Counterpower’ appeared in the book Enforcing Silence: Academic Freedom, Palestine and the Criticism of Israel, edited by David Landy, Ronit Lentin, and Conor McCarthy (London: Zed Books, pp. 233 – 260).

Together with Alaa Tartir (IHEID, Geneva), he also contributed a piece on The (Non) Effects of Oslo on Rights and Status to a Symposium on the ICC and Palestine on the widely-read international law blog OpinioJuris .

Finally, Dr. Jeff Handmaker also addressed his research to the International Criminal Court as lead drafter of an Amicus Curiae brief on the question of the Court’s jurisdiction on Palestine, on behalf of Geneva-based organization International-Lawyers.

Dr. Jeff Handmaker is Senior Lecturer in Law, Human Rights and Development at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS). He is an LDRN member and co-represents ISS within the network. 

Nelson Mandela University Faculty of Law to host webinar on COVID-19 and the courts in South Africa (29 May 2020, 13h – 14h UTC+2))

As in many other countries, the justice system in South Africa is facing dramatic changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On 29 May 2020 at 13h – 14h (UTC+2), LDRN partner Nelson Mandela University Faculty of Law will host a live webinar to unpack and debate these challenges, featuring insights from Glenn Goosen, High Court Judge and adjunct professor at the faculty. The session will be moderated by Prof. Joanna Botha, head of the Department of Public Law and LDRN steering committee member. 

To find out more and register, please visit the NMU Law Faculty website.

LDRN member publications – May 2020

Victor Udemezue Onyebueke et al, Evicting the poor in the ‘overriding public interest’: Crisis of rights and interests, and contestations in Nigerian cities, Cities, Vol. 101, June 2020, 102675 (open access until 19 June 2020)

Maryna Rabinovych, Where Economic Development Meets the Rule of Law? Promoting Sustainable Development Goals Through the European Neighborhood Policy, Brill Open Law, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2020), pp. 140 – 174 (open access)

Apollin Koagne Zouapet & Misha Ariana Plagis, Braamfontein encroaching? An internationalist reading of the South African Constitutional Court judgment on the SADC Tribunal, South African Journal on Human Rights, Vol. 35, No. 4 (2019), pp. 378-403 (published online April 2020)


LDRN members are welcome to announce their latest publications via this list – please send references and links to the Editor by the final Monday of the month.

Prof. Koen De Feyter (LDRN steering committee) elected to the UN Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development

The United Nations Human Rights Council decided on 27 September 2019 to create an Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development (EMRDT),  “a subsidiary expert mechanism to provide the Council with thematic expertise on the right to development in searching for, identifying and sharing best practices with Member States and to promote the implementation of the right to development worldwide” (HRC Resolution 42/23).

The Council elected five independent experts on a geographical basis for a three-year period, who may be re-elected for one additional period.  The experts appointed are:  Armando De Negri, Bonny Ibhawoh, Mihir Kanade, Klentiana Mahmutaj and LDRN steering committee member Koen De Feyter.

The EMRDT officially commenced its first term on 1 May 2020. It will meet once annually for three days in Geneva and once annually for three days in New York, in a combination of open and private meetings.  The open meetings are open to participation by States, United Nations mechanisms, bodies and specialized agencies, funds and programmes, intergovernmental organizations, regional organizations and mechanisms in the field of human rights, national human rights institutions and other relevant national bodies, academics and experts on development issues, and nongovernmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council

Koen De Feyter is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the Law and Development Research Network and the Spokesperson of the Law and Development Research group at the University of Antwerp.

Upcoming academic opportunities: June & later deadlines

Calls for papers

The COVID-19 pandemic, inequalities and human rights in South Africa | South African Journal on Human Rights (abstract deadline: 15 June 2020)

A Crisis within a Crisis: Global Pandemics and Displacement | Journal of Internal Displacement (manuscript deadline: 1 September 2020)

COVID-19 and the law in Africa | Journal of African Law (manuscript deadline: 30 September 2020)


Volunteer research assistant (< 10hrs / week) | Journal of Internal Displacement (application deadline: 30 June 2020)

PhD / post-doc – evidence regime of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights | Ghent University, Belgium (deadline: 15 July 2020)

New research report: Dr. Carolien Jacobs & Bernardo Almeida, “Land and climate change: Rights and environmental displacement in Mozambique” (Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society, 2020)

Dr. Carolien Jacobs & Bernardo Almeida, Land and climate change: Rights and environmental displacement in Mozambique, Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society, Leiden, The Netherlands, 2020

Using the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique as a case study, this socio-legal research report aims to provide a better understanding of how the dynamics of environmental displacement impact land rights and conflict, and the role of international and national legal frameworks in addressing land-related problems caused by this displacement.

Mozambique is a country prone to natural disasters such as floods and cyclones – risks which are increasing with climate change. Resettlement is the major solution undertaken by the government to reduce the number of people living in high-risk areas. But how does resettlement take place? Are people satisfied with their new places of living? Are they compensated for their loss of property and livelihoods? And what about the people who were already using the land allocated for resettlement?

This report, based on both a desk study and empirical research in Mozambique, discusses these questions and shows the realities on the ground. The authors argue that:

  • Gaps in legal protection frameworks should be addressed, especially in relation to expropriation processes;
  • People’s longer-term needs in displacement should be addressed to ensure that resettlement is a durable solution;
  • Collaboration between humanitarian and development actors, as well as considerable resources, are required to address these needs; and
  • Close attention should be paid to relations between old and new settlers at resettlement sites to avoid tensions.

Dr. Carolien Jacobs, an LDRN member, is Assistant Professor at the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society at Leiden Law School, an LDRN partner institution. Bernardo Almeida is a PhD candidate at the Van Vollenhoven Institute.

The report is available on the Leiden University website.

*UPDATED* Upcoming academic opportunities: May deadlines

Vacancies / fellowships / scholarships

Assistant professor in development studies (part-time, tenure-track)| Department of Conflict and Development Studies, Ghent University, Belgium (deadline: 4 May 2020)

Three doctoral scholarships – regional dimensions of governance &  sustainable development | UNU-CRIS / Ghent University, Belgium (deadline: 11 May 2020)

Two ERC doctoral scholarships – PROPERTY[IN]JUSTICE – Land, Property and Spatial Justice in International Law | Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin, Ireland (deadline: 15 May 2020)

13 PhD positions on water governance (diverse geographic focuses) | NEWAVE Next Water Governance network – host institutions in France, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Netherlands, Spain & UK (deadline: 24 May 2020)

Calls for papers

Human Rights and the Climate Change Crisis (early career researchers) | University of Geneva, Switzerland | 26 – 27 November 2020 (abstract deadline: 29 May 2020)


New book: Dr. Gamze Erdem Türkelli, “Children’s Rights and Business: Governing Obligations and Responsibility” (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

Children’s Rights and Business: Governing Obligations and Responsibility, Gamze Erdem Türkelli (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

Children’s Rights and Business: Governing Obligations and Responsibility is a comprehensive legal inquiry into children’s rights and business. Relying on insights from various disciplines, the book illustrates the need for a children-focused inquiry on business and human rights. An analysis of the norm legalization process around the regulation of business and human rights, particularly of children’s rights follows the inquiry into existing hard and soft law regulatory frameworks on children’s rights and business. The book goes on to evaluate the promise of these frameworks in light of globalized business transactions through the lens of in-depth case illustrations on children’s rights in cotton and mineral supply chains and children’s rights in large-scale energy and transport investment projects. Finally, it concludes with a normative outlook on governing the children’s rights obligations of businesses and responsibility when violations occur, drawing on global governance approaches.

Dr. Gamze Erdem Türkelli, an LDRN member, is a Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO) appointed post-doctoral researcher at the University of Antwerp Law Faculty – Law and Development Research Group (an LDRN partner institution).