» Archive for: December, 2015

Senior GGSJ researcher Professor Karin Arts has published an article on contemporary human rights challenges in the Netherlands

ArtsEntitled  Reflections on Human Rights in The Netherlands, the article appears in the December 2015 issue of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights (vol. 33/4, pp. 374-381), a B-rated journal in the ranking of the CERES Research School.

The article addresses the following: Currently, in the Netherlands there is quite a bit of food for thought in terms of the state of human rights in the country. In 2015 the human rights record of the Netherlands as regards children’s rights and racial discrimination was scrutinized by the relevant treaty bodies of the United Nations. The assessments and recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reached the Netherlands in a period in which issues concerning racial discrimination and the ongoing influx of asylum seekers have given rise to heated public debates. This article briefly reviews these issues and the conclusions drawn by the two UN treaty bodies. This then serves as a basis for discussing some of the implications of the current debates and treaty body assessments for the role of the State for promoting and protecting human rights and will lead to a plea for greater engagement on the part of the government of the Netherlands.

GGSJ Visiting Scholar (2015) and renowned lawyer, Antonio Oposa and Senior Researcher Dr. Jeff Handmaker were both interviewed in a 10-column feature article of the Dutch magazine De Groene Amsterdammer.

Oposa described his many decades of work as a lawyer, social mobiliser and environmental rights advocate. Oposa brought numerous, ground-breaking cases in the Philippines is credited with establishing what has become known as “The Oposa Doctrine”, namely the right of children to initiate legal actions on their behalf and on behalf of generations yet unborn. Oposa was quoted:

The law can be a powerful force for social change.

Handmaker, who used to practice law and now conducts research at ISS on legal mobilisation, explained how lawyers need to grapple with the political side of their work, in order to better understand the strategic potential of legal advocacy. Making a distinction between the political and the tendency of some to politicise legitimate legal claims, he was quoted:

Law is inherently political, although some lawyers would prefer not to face up to this.


showphoto.viewISS staff member Des Gasper, professor in the research area Governance, Globalization and Social Justice, has co-authored two journal papers published in 2015, on experiences with using human security frameworks in various areas of research and policy around the world.

The publications appear in the ‘Journal of Development Studies’ and the journal ‘Contemporary Politics’.


On 30 November 2015, GGSJ Researcher Mr. Fulgêncio Lucas Muti Seda defended his doctoral dissertation.


Entitled Border Governance in Mozambique: The Intersection of International Border Controls, Regional Integration and Cross-border Regions, Dr. Seda was supervised by a team of GGSJ researchers Prof. dr. Mohamed Salih and Dr. Helen Hintjens as well as Dr. Thanh Dam Truong.

As described in the abstract to his PhD dissertation:

A tension exists between the interests of states in protecting national security through border controls and those of communities in cross-border regions, to whom frequent border crossing is part of daily life – a necessary part of achieving their own wellbeing. The interplay between these two sets of interests has shaped particular ‘border regimes’ with varying degrees of selectivity in measures of the control of movements of people. In Mozambique, the securing of borders since the early 1990s in order to tackle unauthorised migration and organised crime has revealed a tension with border communities – the manifestation of which is regionally specific elements related to commuters (those crossing the border for shopping, schooling or medical care). This thesis applies qualitative research methods to a study of this multilevel (social, economic, cultural, security and political) problem of border governance in Mozambique.

The Management Team of GGSJ heartily congratulates Dr. Seda on his successful defence and wishes him all the very best in his future career!

International Institute of Social Studies

The Governance, Globalization and Social Justice research programme aims to produce internationally leading, socially committed and societally relevant research outcomes on issues of governance from an explicitly social justice perspective. This blog is a forum on which to share and discuss themes and issues which fall within the broad framework of the programme.