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Congratulations to the 2020
John Peters Humphrey Fellowship Recipients

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Christina Beninger

PhD Candidate

University of Cape Town, South Africa

Proposed Program of Study  


Research Title: "Towards Bridging the Gap in Women's Access to Justice: Rule of Law Programming and its Prospects  for Combating Gender Based Violence".


There have been important developments in international human rights law to strengthen women's access to justice, and combat gender-based violence (GBV). Yet the gap between law and the reality that women continue to experience in their communities is enormous. Among the barriers to justice is the powerful impact of social and cultural norms that discriminate against women and perpetuate GBV. At the same time, 'rule of law' (law/justice sector reform) programming has become a dominant international development approach  worldwide,  viewed as essential to promoting human rights, justice and development. Yet, while academic  scholarship on the rule of law is evolving, the link between rule of law and gender is questioned,  and remains an understudied area. This study involves qualitative research in two country contexts to explore women's perceptions and experiences of justice, and how rule of law reform initiatives respond to these realities. This research links theory with practice to provide insights into the challenges and opportunities offered by rule of law programming, to help bridge the gap in women's access to justice in GBV cases.


LLM, University of Essex, UK
LLB, University of Windsor
BA, History/Political Science, Simon Fraser University

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Karinne Lantz

PhD Candidate

Dalhousie University

Proposed Program of Study

Title: The Role for International Law in Securing the Right to Health for Vulnerable Populations in Canada, Australia, and Beyond.

Despite its importance, the right to health is often considered too difficult to define, apply, and enforce. My thesis seeks to overcome these difficulties and identify how international law may be used to help secure the right to health. It will focus on Canada and Australia, but will have implications for other states. It will assess whether international law has affected how Canada and Australia approach right-to-health obligations (first, with respect to indigenous peoples and, scope permitting, other vulnerable populations for whom international instruments exist).  It will bridge theory with practice by identifying how international law may be most effectively used to secure the right (particularly when treaty obligations may be considered unimplemented). My thesis will also examine how domestic policies—particularly recruiting health professionals from overseas—affect the realization of the right abroad. While recruiting from overseas may assist with securing the right domestically, it can undermine the right abroad if it drains talent from communities that have limited resources to address significant health challenges.  Although international law may not oblige clearly health policy-makers to consider the extraterritorial human rights effects of their policies, my thesis will seek to show why, when, and how it ought to do so.


LLM, University of Cambridge
JD, University of Ottawa
MA, International Affairs, Carleton University
BA, Political Science &  Int'l Development, Saint Mary’s University

BSc, Chemistry, Saint Mary’s University

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Jessica Joly Hébert

PhD Candidate

Université de Paris Nanterre

Proposed Program of Study

Title: Consent in the Law of State Responsibility.

It may be argued that consent forms the basis of an international legal order dominated by States, as States are free to enter into relationships with one another and to agree to become bound by certain obligations. But States may also express their consent to allow other States to depart from previously agreed obligations. While this may be inevitable and justified in a number of situations, consent validly given, and its parameters, must be clearly circumscribed, in order to avoid uncertainties and potential abuses. Two areas where this is even more relevant are in situations of intervention by invitation in the law on the use of force and in the context of maritime law enforcement operations. In both cases, though particularly the former, valid consent by States to some interventions may pave the way for further violations of other norms of international law, such as humanitarian and human rights law. Understanding these issues will allow a deeper comprehension of the impact States’ actions may have on compliance with norms of the utmost importance.


LLM, McGill University
LLB, Université de Montréal

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