News

The Ethics of Refugee Prioritization: Reframing the debate

The first of the two symposia from our 2018 conference on Refugees and Minority Rights is now published open access at Ethics & Global Politics. The symposium addresses a variety of issues ranging from the role of political philosophy in refugee selection to the more detailed principles for deciding who should be prioritized in the non-ideal circumstances where not all refugees receive the asylum they deserve. The contributors to the volume include Sarah Fine (KCL), Serena Parekh (Northeastern), Max Cherem (Kalamanzoo), Zsolt Kapelner (CEU), Annamari Vitikainen (UiT) and Kaper Lippert-Rasmussen (UA/UiT) & Sune Lægaard (Roskilde). Read the whole symposium here.


CANCELLED: Global Structural Injustice and Minority Rights Conference

We are really sad to announce that the Global Structural Injustice and Minority Rights conference has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

We’re going to look into the possibility of rescheduling in some way once everything clears up.

 

With best wishes,

The conference organizers

Serena, Kerstin, Patti and Annamari


New podcasts from the Indigenous Land Rights and Reconciliation conference available

 

GMR co-organized a conference about Indigenous Land Rights and Reconciliation at Queen’s University in September of 2019. Now a podcast presents a series of six live panel presentations delivered at the conference. The series theorizes the justifications for land rights from indigenous perspectives and investigates how these understandings challenge and enrich theories in the Western tradition. The discussion also confronts the implications of these understandings for the political and legal practice.

 

The starting point for the conference was that questions of land rights are at the root of most current conflicts between indigenous peoples and the wider state. Competing conceptions of the land and authority over the land intersect with conflicts around resource extraction, the terms of consultation and consent, and the political status of indigenous peoples. Without resolving the conflicts around land in a fair and collaborative manner, real reconciliation will be difficult to achieve. The Indigenous Land Rights and Reconciliation conference sought to meet three key objectives: to provide an open platform for indigenous people to voice their views on land, self-governance, and relationships; to explore ways of indigenizing political theory and method; and to promote respectful and reciprocal collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous scholars. The podcast now makes available the contributions of indigenous and non-indigenous scholars addressing these topics.

 

You can find the podcast at: https://podcast.cfrc.ca/indigenous-land-rights-and-reconciliation-podcast/ and everywhere you get your usual podcasts. The first episode will be available this Wednesday, Jan 15th.

There will be a new episode every Wednesday until Feb 20th (6 full episodes).

 

Podcast Episodes

Episode 0 – Introduction and Traditional Greeting

Sekon, Aniin, Tanisi, and welcome to the Indigenous Land Rights and Reconciliation podcast, presenting six panel presentations hosted at Queen's University in September of 2019. This introduction offers a traditional greeting from Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Director of Indigenous Initiatives at Queen’s University, acknowledging the land and territory upon which the following discussions were held and providing a general introduction to the podcast.

Episode 1 – The Ontologies of Land

This episode features a roundtable of three indigenous speakers, presenting their own understandings of the concept of land and the inherent contradictions and controversies as they consider wider ontological approaches to the land.

Featuring:

  • Dale Turner (University of Toronto)
  • Paula Sherman (Trent University)
  • Robert Lovelace (Queen’s University)

 

Episode 2 – Changing the Paradigm

This episode features a set of three paper presentations. The panel examines different understandings of our relationships with the land and particularly highlights those traditional relationships which are challenging the western and colonial interpretations of relationships to the land.

Featuring:

·       Jeff Corntassel (University of Victoria) “How will the Land Recognize You? Regenerating Indigenous Relationships Amidst Reconciliation Discourses”

·       Burke Hendrix (University of Oregon) “Land as a Matrix for Responsibilities of Reciprocity”

·       Cindy Holder (University of Victoria) “Indigenous Peoples’ Human Right to Land”

 

Episode 3 – Interacting with the State, Part I
The “Interacting with the State” panels emphasize different legal regimes which currently define relationships between indigenous people’s and the state. Part 1 features presentations on Mining Development and Modern Treaty-making.

Featuring:

·       Julia Gilpin and Karine Vanthuyne (University of Ottawa) “Reconciling the Indigenous Right to Self-determination with Mining Development”

·       Veldon Coburn (Carleton University) “Lessons from the Algonquin Modern Treaty”

·       Timothy Goodwin (Victorian Bar) – “Reconciliation and Land Rights in Australia: A Legal Perspective”

 

Episode 4 – Non-Indigenous Understandings of Land

This episode’s discussion focuses on largely Western ideas regarding the ontology of land and the relationships between people, the state, and the land, offering a critical perspective on the dominant and colonial approaches to land which have historically guided our understandings of land and land rights.

Featuring:

·       Alejandra Mancilla (University of Oslo) “A Continent of and for Whiteness? "White" Colonialism and the 1959 Antarctic Treaty”

·       Kerstin Reibold (UiT: Arctic University of Norway) “The Cultural and Historical Perspective of Welfare Egalitarianism”

·       Margaret Moore (Queen’s University) “Indigenous Land Rights and State Territorial Rights”

 

Episode 5 – Land Restitution as Reconciliation

This episode features a rich discussion of the movements toward reconciliation which will be necessary in order to fruitfully navigate these ongoing tensions around land and land rights.

Featuring:

·       Esme Murdock (San Diego State University) “Speaking Land, Speaking Ourselves”

·       Dimitri Panagos (Memorial University of Newfoundland) “Reconciliation, Duties and Distributive Justice”

·       Avery Kolers (University of Louisville) “Territorial Loss and Reconciliation” , presented by Burke Hendrix

 

Episode 6 – Interacting with the State, Part II

The “Interacting with the State” panels emphasize different legal regimes which currently define relationships between indigenous people’s and the state. Our final episode of the series features discussions on the duty to Consult, Metis land claims, and legal definitions of territory and sovereignty.

Featuring:

·       Avigail Eisenberg (University of Victoria) “Consultation, Consent, and Resistance”

·       Janique Dubois (University of Ottawa) “To What End? Negotiating Metis Land Rights in Manitoba”

·       Mark Walters (Queen’s University) “Reconciling Legal Ideas about Territory and Sovereignty in Canada”

 

‘Bonus’ Episodes for Subscribers Only

There were several periods of very rich discussion with the audience following the panels.

We will produce six short episodes which feature clips of this discussion as “bonus” podcasts. These would only be available to subscribed podcast listeners and would not be eligible for radio air-play or other hosting.

 


GMR's final year (2016-2020)

GMR is entering its final year with members in Tromsø (photo 8.11.2019), Kautokeino, Oslo, Aarhus, Roskilde, Turku, Nairobi, Kampala, Windhoek, Princeton, Ottawa, and Boston continuing to work on a variety of interesting issues relating to minorities and minority rights protections on a global plane. The project final year (Nov.2019-Oct.2020) will be filled with both interesting events (on our Boston conference on Global Structural Injustice and Minority Rights [link here], and on other events [link here], as well as intriguing publications on e.g. Refugee prioritization, Affirmative action, and Indigenous land rights – watch this space [link to publications].


In Memoriam Tom Campbell

GMR is sorry to hear about the death of one of its members, Tom Campbell of CAPPE/Charles Sturt, Australia. Tom was part of the project from the very beginning, having visited Tromsø for one of the project planning workshops already in 2015. Tom’s expertise, especially in the legal aspects of cultural and minority rights, along with his enthusiasm and friendship, will be truly missed.

 

Obituaries: https://www.uofgschooloflaw.com/blog/2019/7/31/professor-tom-campbell

https://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/17832764.obituary-professor-tom-campbell/


Refugees and Minority Rights Conference

Thank you!

GMR thanks the participants of the Refugees and Minority Rights conference for excellent and thought-provoking discussions! The conference was a success and the work for special journal symposia on the topic is already underway (more information to follow).

In the photo, some participants of the conference at Fjellheisen (cable car), where the conference dinner was held. 


 

Refugees and Minority Rights Conference

GMR members and the department of philosophy are getting ready to discuss the ethics of refugee prioritization at Tromsø Conference 2018.

Everything is set for around 50 political theorists and migration experts from around the world to take the stage at UiT The Arctic University of Tromsø. The students and staff – as well as the general public – are invited to engage with current research on refugees, minority rights, and the acceptable/non-acceptable grounds for prioritizing refugees in today’s world.

News articles and events pages (in Norwegian):

Annamari Vitikainen discusses the conference topics and the importance of public engagement:
https://uit.no/nyheter/artikkel?p_document_id=580661&p_dim=88151

Refugees and Minority Rights at Morgenbladet:
https://morgenbladet.no/hendelse/kan-man-prioritere-mellom-flyktninger

Det skjer iTromsø:
https://detskjeritromso.no/events/aapen-konferanse-refugees-and-minority-rights-50105

For more information on the conference: http://www.uit.no/gmrconference


 

Andreas Føllesdal debates indigenous rights, civil disobedience and the relationship between local and global 

Fosen Vind is a complex of wind farms under construction at Fosen, a district of Trøndelag, Norway. When completed, the project will double Norway's capacity for generating wind power and become Europe's largest onshore wind farm. Since the start of the constructions, in 2016, the project has met strong resistance from activists defending the area as an important reindeer habitat as essential for the preservation of the Sami culture in the region. Activists demanded the constructions are stopped and Fosen Vind refused to concede. 

Prof. Føllesdal sees the escalation of these demonstrations as a call for public debate on the topic. According to him, in debating the case publicly, we have to ask: What are the values grounding our societies? Are the demands of stopping the construction reasonable? Have the interests of those opposing the construction also been taken into account? 

For reading the newspaper article, click here

For reading the interview text, click here

 

_____________________________________________

 

In Memoriam Sirkku Hellsten

Globalizing Minority Rights is saddened by the passing away of Prof. Sirkku Hellsten (The Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala). Sirkku was the driving force behind the project’s work on minority rights in the developing world, and she remained active in both research and workshop organization until eventually losing her struggle with illness in early 2018. Sirkku’s dedication and energy will be truly missed, as will her valuable friendship both in the North and the South.

Obituary at Nordic Africa Institute: http://nai.uu.se/news/articles/2018/02/09/153304/index.xml
Obituary at Philos-L: https://listserv.liv.ac.uk/cgi-bin/wa?A2=PHILOS-L;54f453e6.1802


 

Homosexuality is still taboo in many African countries

The rights of sexual minorities are still a sensitive issue in Africa. Homosexuality is often considered to be an illness or something “un-African”.

It is not uncommon that sexual minorities are harassed or even prosecuted in African countries. It was similar in Europe not too long ago. Nowadays, although not without tough contestation over a long period, sexual minorities are legally protected in most European states.

The Nordic countries actively promote the rights of sexual minorities within their human rights approach to development cooperation with the global South. However, they often encounter trouble when partners in Africa do not view gay rights as a priority issue, but rather as something imposed from abroad.

NAI researcher Sirkku Hellsten leads a working group (WP4) that looks into the different attitudes towards sexual minorities in order to learn more about the situation in the African context. Read the whole text here.


 

New Post Doc

We would like to welcome our new postdoc Frank Abumere, who will be working on a project on “Minority Discrimination in the Global South and Relational and Non-relational Approaches to Global Justice”. He will be a member of the working group 4 (Minority Rights in the Developing World), as well as the WPs on conceptual, normative and implementation issues.

For more information on Ph.D. Frank Abumere’s research and contact details click here


 

Extended application deadline 17.3.2017. (Already received applications will automatically stand for assessment.)

Ph.D. Candidate in Political Philosophy

Application deadline: 17.03.2017

Applications shall be marked: 2016/8092

 One Ph.D. Candidate position in political philosophy is available at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway (UiT). The position is affiliated with the research group in political philosophy: Pluralism, Democracy, and Justice.

The appointment is a fixed-term position for a period of three years.

The Ph.D. position is a part of the research project Globalizing Minority Rights: Cosmopolitanism, Global Institutions, and Cultural Justice (2016-2020) (financed by the Norwegian Research Council), and will be placed within the research group in political philosophy Pluralism, Democracy, and Justice. The more specified PhD project should relate to one or more of the following themes:

 1)      Conceptual issues relevant to the understanding of a particular type or types of minorities and/or minority rights in global contexts.

2)      Normative issues relevant for the justification of minority right(s), and/or the role of different actor(s) in global contexts.

3)      Issues relating to the implementation of a particular type or types of minority protections in global contexts.

 We are especially interested in projects that discuss the above issue(s) in relation to 1) minorities in the developing world, 2) indigenous peoples or 3) refugees, although we also welcome projects with other focuses within the thematic issues above.

 Qualification requirements

The position requires a Norwegian Master`s degree (or foreign equivalent) in Philosophy or in a neighboring field, with shown competence (intermediate or advanced level) in political philosophy or political theory.

Grade B or better in the Norwegian grading system for the Master’s thesis is required.

 The application must include a research proposal. The working language of the research group is English, and the research proposals are expected to be English.

 In addition, the candidate must be able to document proficiency in English equivalent to Norwegian Higher Education Entrance Qualification, refer to the website about Ph.D. regulations at UiT.

 Personal suitability will be emphasized.

 For full call and how to apply: www.jobbnorge.no/en/available-jobs/job/130828/phd-candidate-in-political-philosophy

 


 

GMR Workshop 2017: Normative Issues in Relation to Minority Rights and Globalization

Date: March 15, 2017

Venue: Innsikten, TEO-H1 1.524, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

 
Confirmed participants in the workshop include: 
 
Presenting a paper is not a requirement for participating in the seminar. Slots for presentations will be distributed prioritarily among GMR members and associates.
In case you are interested in presenting a paper, please contact Kasper-Lippert Rasmussen at your earliest convenience and no later than Feb 15.  For other queries, contact Kasper-Lippert Rasmussen or Annamari Vitikainen. 
Papers will be pre-circulated a week ahead of the workshop and assumed read in advance.

 

Vacant Ph.D. Position in Political Philosophy

Application deadline: 18.12.2016              
Applications shall be marked: 2016/8092

One Ph.D. Candidate position in political philosophy is available at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway (UiT). The position is affiliated with the research group in political philosophy Pluralism, Democracy and Justice in connection to the research project Globalizing Minority Rights: Cosmopolitanism, Global Institutions, and Cultural Justice (2016-2020) (financed by the Norwegian Research Council).

The Ph.D. project should relate to one or more of the following themes:

(1) Conceptual issues relevant for the understanding of a particular type or types of minorities and/or minority rights in global contexts.

(2) Normative issues relevant for the justification of minority right(s), and/or the role of different actor(s) in global contexts.

(3) Issues relating to the implementation of a particular type or types of minority protections in global contexts. 

We are especially interested in projects that discuss the above issue(s) in relation to 1) minorities in the developing world, 2) indigenous peoples or 3) refugees, although we also welcome projects with other focuses within the thematic issues above.

Apply online (We strongly recommend you to send your application in English).


 

Official launching of the Globalizing Minority Rights project (GMR) 

When:  Monday 7th November 2016, 13.00-17.00

Where: SVHUM B1005, University of Tromsø

 

Program: 

13.00-13.30:  Opening addresses

Marie-Theres Federhofer, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education

Kjersti Fjørtoft, Head of the Department of Philosophy

Tor Ivar Hanstad, Leader of the Pluralism, Democracy and Justice research group

13.30-14.15: Globalizing Minority Rights: Cosmopolitanism, Global Institutions, and Cultural Justice

Annamari Vitikainen & Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen, Project leaders.

14.15-16.00: Keynote lecture

Collective and Particular: Can Minority Rights be Human Rights?

Professor Peter Jones, Newcastle University, UK

16.00-17.00: Reception at the lobby

The activity is open to all. No registration required.


Collective and Particular: Can Minority Rights be Human Rights?

Peter Jones

Emeritus Professor of Political Philosophy, Newcastle University, UK.

Members of minorities share in the human rights that the UN and other bodies ascribe to all individuals simply in virtue of being human.  But many of the rights we wish to ascribe to minorities make sense only as rights they hold collectively rather than individually.  Other rights address circumstances that are special to minorities and seem, for that reason, to be particular to minorities rather than universal to mankind. 

For many commentators, those features severely limit the extent to which minority rights can be contained within the larger idea of human rights.  Some think that human rights can be held only by human individuals, so that a right cannot be both human and collective; and some go still further and question the very idea of collective rights. Almost everyone seems to think that human rights are necessarily universal, so that particular minority rights can be human rights only if their particularity is apparent rather than real – only if they are no more than particular instantiations of genuinely universal rights.

These misgivings about the collective and the particular are frequently apparent in UN and European human rights instruments relating to minorities.  Their drafters often struggle to present the rights of minorities as rights that a minority’s members possess individually rather collectively, whilst conceding that the members may exercise their rights together as a group rather than separately as individuals.  They frequently avoid the language of human rights altogether when they make particular provisions for minorities.  That is not true of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007; the great majority of rights in the Declaration are expressly ascribed to ‘peoples’ collectively rather than ‘people’ individually and many of the Declaration’s rights are manifestly particular to indigenous peoples.  That, however, has resulted in an ambivalence, which inhabits the Declaration itself, over the extent to which the rights it announces are to be understood as human rights.

In this lecture, I challenge the idea that human rights can be neither collective nor particular.  Unlike some proponents of political and legal conceptions of human rights, I do so while still taking seriously the ‘human’ in human rights.  Reservations about collective human rights result from mistaken beliefs about the nature of collectivities as bearers of rights, and the insistence that human rights must be universal rather than particular stems from the false supposition that rights ascribed to people in virtue of their moral status as human beings must be rights that are identical for all.  Hence minority rights and the rights of indigenous peoples may still be human rights even when they are collective and particular.

 

 




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Last updated: 16.05.2020 10:27