Seminars

Upcoming seminars

Seminar:‘Competing Visions: Human Trafficking versus Forced Labour?’

Dr Joel Quirk, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa Tuesday 16th September, 5:00-6:00pm Martin Ryan Institute Annex 201

In this lecture, Dr Quirk will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of human trafficking as a framework for conceptualising – and successfully combating – various forms of human bondage as they exist today. While human trafficking is now firmly embedded at both an institutional and popular level, a growing number of critics have called into question the conception and execution of recent anti-trafficking campaigns. This paper favours a different approach, which primarily focuses upon recent efforts to promote a “maximalist” understanding of human trafficking which incorporates numerous forms of human bondage. Over the last decade, many actors and institutions have come to describe a huge variety of problems as forms of trafficking, including cases of servile marriage, hereditary bondage, and wartime enslavement. This open ended approach to trafficking involves reclassifying practices that were previously conceptualized in terms of forced labour, or “contemporary forms of slavery”. While there are some political and rhetorical advantages to employing a trafficking framework, this paper seeks to demonstrate that this expansive “catch-all” approach remains subject to a host of analytical complications and practical limitations.

Dr Joel Quirk is Senior Lecturer in Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. His recent book publications include The Anti-Slavery Project: From the Slave Trade to Human Trafficking (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011) and Mobility Makes States (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015, co-edited with Darshan Vigneswaran). Joel is a current member of the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project, where he serves as Rapporteur.

Past Seminars

  • 14th May 2014. Karen Ingala-Smith“Counting Dead Women who have Insecure Immigration Status” 
  • 6th May 2014. Dr Aidan Hehir. 'Security Council Legitimacy after the Arab Spring'
  • 8th April 2014. Michael Kearney. 'Anarchism and International Law'
  • 31st March 2014. Karol Balfe. 'The Civil Society Response to Land Grabs'
  • 28th March 2014. Dr. Shane Darcy. ‘Winding down, yet heating up; the judicial legacy of the international criminal tribunals’
  • 19th March 2014.Brendan Tobin. 'Tanistry to Ubuntu: the relevance of customary law for the protection of human rights and self-determination in Ireland today'
  • 11th February 2014. Adrien Claude-Zoller. 'Recent Trends in the Human Rights Council'
  • 5 February 2014. Tiernan Brady and John Fisher. 'The Human Right to Same Sex Marriage'
  • 16 January 2014. Ivan Fahy. 'Gender and its Diversity: Activism Through Modeling'
  • 13 December 2013. Rupert Skilback. 'Strategic litigation and torture'
  • 6  November 2013. Dr. William Schabas. 'The African Malaise with the International Criminal Court'
  • 1 November 2013-Dr. Gearóid Ó Cuinn. 'Holy Land Tourism: Reform and the Role of International Law'
  • 25 October 2013-Dr Michelle Farrell. 'What is torture? The Positive Law of An Incomprehensible Act'
  • 15 October 2013-Dr Ray Murphy. 'Libya – Impressions of a State in Transition'
  • 14 October 2013- Shawan Jabarin. ' Reflections of a Palestinian Human Rights Defender'
  • 26 March 2013 Dr. Evelyne Schmid, ' Social and Cultural Rights in International Criminal Law'.
  • 13 March 2013 - Commandant Sean Ridge, 'United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Israeli occupied Golan Heights'.
  • 6 March 2013 - Dr. Kevin O'Sullivan, 'Action for Justice'? Rights, Needs and Humanitarian NGOs in Europe, 1968-85.
  • 26 February 2013 - Mark McLoughlin, Director/Producer of Blood Rising, and Elia Escobeda Garcia, Human Rights Defender 'Screening of 'Blood Rising' followed by a Q&A session' (hosted with the support of Front Line Defenders).
  • 25 February 2013 Mr. Aonghus Kelly (LLM), 'Chasing Justice in Iraq and the Balkans'.
  • 21 February 2013 - Niamh Reilly, 'Women's Reproductive Rights: Irish Context and International Human Rights Norms'
  • 23 January 2013, 30 January 2013, 6 February 2013, 13 February 2013 & 20 February 2013 - Semahagn Gashe Abebe (PhD), 'Lunchtime Seminar Series in International Trade and Human Rights',  Further information on the course content, objective, learning outcomes and the speaker are available here
  • 8 February 2013 - Dr. Eliot Ross Albers, Executive Director, International Network of People who Use Drugs; Mr. Richard Elliott, Executive Director, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network; Ms. Rebecca Schleifer, Advocacy Director, Health and Human Rights Division, Human Rights Watch; Mr Rick Lines, Executive Director, Harm Reduction International and Co-director, International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy (Moderator),  'Drug Users, HIV and Human Rights .
  • 3 October 2012 - Michiel Pestman, speaking in relation to his work as defense counsel for Nuon Chea before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
  • 17 April 2012 - Valentina Azarov, "Re-formalising the Notion of Statehood in International Law: Palestinian Statehood and the Composites of International Legal Personality."
  • 4 April 2012 - Mark Mullin, "Representing Refugees in Galway - the work of the Refugee Legal Service."
  • 14 March 2012 – Michelle Farrell, “Bare Life’, ’Precarious Life’ and the Possibility of Human Rights.”
  • 6 March 2012 - Tom O’Sullivan, “A Personal Account of the Challenges of Working for the UNHCR in South Sudan.”
  • 29 February 2012 – Peter Fitzmaurice, “The Right to Non-refoulement from Conflict.”
  • 21 February 2012 – Daragh Murray, “The Principle and Practice of Universal Jurisdiction: Lessons Learned from PCHR's Experience.”
  • 3 February 2012 - Nick Danziger, "Humanity in War."
  • 2 December 2011 - Alejandra Castillo, " Seeking Justice for Genocide in Guatemala.”
  • 28 November - Fanny de Weck, " Protection against  refoulement under the European Convention on Human Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture: A comparison of the individual complaints procedures."
  • 22 November - Dr Vinodh Jaichand, “Making the Case for a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Land.”
  • 21 November 2011 - Dr Giulia Pinzauti, " The Crime of Terrorism in International Law."
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  • 24 October 2011 - Dr Fiona de Londras, "Privatised Sovereign Performance, Counter-Terrorism and Endangered Rights."
  • 19 October 2011 - Siobhán Cummiskey, "Equal Rights Litigation and Travellers."
  • 6 April 2011 - Dr. Miša Zgonec-Ro┼żej, “The UN asset-freezing regime for suspected terrorists.”
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  •  21 February 2011, Sir Michael Wood -- 'Human rights and humanitarian law in the practice of a Foreign Ministry lawyer'
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  •  29 November 2010: Professor Michael D. Higgins  'Current human rights issues in Colombia'.
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  • 13 October 2010: Prof. William Schabas: 'International Law and Practice on Capital Punishment'.
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  • 1 February 2010; Rick Lines, ' A vehicle for indirect penal reform’? Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.'
  • 29 January 2010, Colm O'Cuanachain, Policy Director, Amnesty International ’ Human Rights Education’