Jan 2015

Disasters and refugee protection – a socio-legal case study from Yemen

Every year millions of people are forced to flee their homes in the context of climate change and disasters. Their needs and rights are unclear. This paper presents and discusses some findings from a socio-legal case study exploring the rights of disaster-affected Somalis and Ethiopians in Yemen. The first main findings relate to the challenges that Ethiopians face in accessing, and succeeding with, the formal asylum process. This is discussed in light of legal aid theory and research as well as research on credibility assessments. Another category of findings relates to interactions of local, religious law and international law. This is discussed in light of legal pluralism, which helps in identifying an emancipatory potential. While complex, dynamic and depending on regional politics and other factors, the way Islamic law is applied - and influences other bodies of law - seems to ensure better protection than the 1951 Refugee Convention alone. This potential should be further explored and possibly expanded in order to strengthen the rights of people displaced in the context of climate change and disasters more generally.

Read the full conference paper
here.

Including the Queer in India

Diverse strategies have been employed to advance the cause of the queer Indian movement, including litigation and social and political mobilisation.

Read more in this
post on Gaylaxy magazine or the longer paper that it builds on.

From the conclusion:

“Emancipatory potential has been found in some traditional Indian norms as well as international human rights and domestic constitutional law and used in the battle against a remnant of colonial law. Litigation, social and political mobilisation, media attention and other factors have interacted and supported each other. Litigation started without waiting for popular and media support; in stead the process and outcome itself may have helped create such support. Litigation has also ended up being unsuccessful, however, due to the judges and other factors. Even so, it may still have contributed positively to the larger social and political mobilisation, as we saw after Koushal. While the combined result of the three landmark judgments is a complex and unclear legal situation for queer Indians, overall we seem to be moving in the direction of strengthened rights in the legal as well as the wider political and social contexts.”