In addition to teaching human rights at ISS, teaching staff are also involved in various projects abroad. This section of the blog gives information about some of the projects that staff have been involved with.


Between 8 and 12 May 2012, Jeff Handmaker travelled to Suriname as an independent trial observer on behalf of the the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). The general purpose of the mission was to observe the trial of President Bouterse and 24 Others by a Court Martial (Military Court), who are accused of the murder on 8 December 2012 of thirteen civilians and two military officials in Fort Zeelandia, Paramaribo. The trial has been taking place since 2007 in a specially-constructed courtroom located on a military base in Boxel, a short distance away from the country’s capital, Paramaribo. 

The specific objectives of the trial observation mission were: (1) to make known to the judges of the Military Court, the parties to the proceedings, the authorities of the country and to the general public the interest in, and concern for, the fairness of the trial; (2) to make the participants aware that they were under scrutiny and thereby encourage them to act according to fair trial standards; (3) to collect more information about the political and legal circumstances possibly affecting the outcome of the trial and (4) to assess compliance with judicial guarantees of fair trial and due process, in accordance with internationally recognised standards.

medium Jeff Handmaker regularly retuns to the School of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand, where is an honorary research fellow, to teach Refugee Law and Practice and to conduct research.
In September 2007, Karin Arts and Jeff Handmaker travelled to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on behalf of the Dutch ICCO Foundation to assess the treatment of Palestinian refugees in terms of international law. Travelling with them was Marcel Brus, Professor of International Law at Groningen University, Heikelien Stuart, expert in international criminal law and journalist for Dutch radio and television and Stan van Houcke, journalist and writer. During a week-long mission, they held discussions with numerous civic organisations as well as the Dutch diplomatic representation in Tel Aviv and Ramallah. For further information click on the “ISR/PAL Impasse” tab above. A report of the September 2007 mission can be downloaded here. 

medium For the past few years, Helen Hintjens has been collaborating with the Dutch-based organisation Participating Refugees in Multicultural Europe (PRIME), which exposes racism against refugees in Europe and especially their treatment by the authorities The organisation is based in The Hague.
In the context of a memorandum of understanding between ISS and the European Foundation for Social Quality and in collaboration with the City of The Hague, Rachel Kurian has embarked on a research project to assess the level of social inclusion of migrants living in the city. medium
medium In September-October 2006, at the request of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines and under the leadership of ISS alumna (ILOD) Anita Chauhan, Karin Arts and Helen Hintjens contributed to a refresher course on ‘Mainstreaming Human Rights in Development and Governance through a Rights-Based Approach’.The course aimed at enhancing the knowledge of the theoretical and practical meaning of taking a human rights-based approach to development. In addition to Manila, the group traveled north to Currimao (Ilocos Norte) and sessions were delivered in Vigan City, San Fernando City, Binalonan (Pangasinan), and Lingayen. This enabled the group to visit a string of Centres for Human Rights Education based in local, state and private universities and to have exchanges with relevant local policy makers and NGOs. 

Photo: Refresher course, Philippines, 2006

Since 2005 Karin Arts has been a resource person and member of the Programme Committee of the Hague Forum for Judicial Expertise (HAFJE), an activity of the Hague Academic Coalition (HAC). In that capacity she has presented lectures and has facilitated workshops on human rights, the UN system and on the implications of international human rights law in the national legal order. Participants have included senior judges, police officials and prisons directors from Iraq, judges from the Philippines, and judges and Ministry of Justice staff from Sudan. While sessions normally take place in The Hague, so as to provide participants with opportunities to visit international courts and other relevant organisations and legal expertise there, in February 2008 HAFJE for the first time went ‘on location’ and delivered a one week training in Khartoum for Ministry of Justice staff from North and South Sudan. 

Photo: Training in Khartoum, Sudan 2008

medium Jeff Handmaker is a board member of the 3R Foundation in The Netherlands, which provides support to refugee legal assistance projects in the global South, including Uganda, Egypt, Turkey and Nepal. In June 2010, the Foundation, in collaboration with the ISS, organised a conference on Rights in Exile. In July, Jeff visited the offices of one of 3R’s partners, the Helsinki Citizens Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey, to give some workshops on legal assistance and advocacy and to speak with some of its staff.
In September 2009, Jeff Handmaker lectured on the human rights of refugees and IDPs in situations of armed conflict and reconstruction for representatives of the Serbian Security Forces in a seminar on “International Human Rights and Security Forces”.The Seminar on International Human Rights and Security Forces (HRSF) was organised by the International and Security Affairs Centre (ISAC fund) and supported by the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Embassy in Belgrade, held from September 21 – September 25, 2009. medium
medium Karin Arts and Jeff Handmaker taught courses in the UNDP-funded Human Rights Diploma at the Lim A Po Institute in Paramaribo, Suriname in July and October 2011.


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International Institute of Social Studies

Human Rights is a specialization within the Human Rights, Conflict and Gender Studies MA Major in Development Studies. This blog provides a platform for discussion for researchers, students and others interested in this field of studies. The blog is administered by the Human Rights teaching team.