Redefining Attainment of the Best Interests of the Child in the Digital World

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In the offline world, education for children does not aim to solely equip them with information. It endeavors to develop in them an ability to interact with the world wisely and critically, while building resilience and a will to participate with effective contribution. They are taught to be agents of their own lives and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) confers on them the rights which enable this process of development. However, the UNCRC was adopted as early as 1989, and the children of today are growing up in an increasingly digital environment. This brings to light the need for the recognition of rights online as well as offline, in order to allow children to not merely be users but responsible citizens of the virtual world. This essentially means that the Articles of the Convention require an extension in their scope, and expansive interpretation in national policies, to fulfill the requirement of the ‘best interests of the child’ being the primary consideration guiding action. Article 3 of the UNCRC sets out the principle of the best interests of the child, which requires relevant authorities to (i) assess and represent rights and interests in nexus with actions and decisions which affect their well being, (ii)consider the views and take account of the evolving capacities of the child and (iii)promote measures to train and support those responsible for the well-being of the child. In doing so, the UNCRC echoes the ‘paramount consideration’ threshold in the enacting of laws, as laid down by the Declaration on the Rights of the Child, 1959. Legal instruments specific to children...

Inside the World Court: A Conversation with H.E. Judge Joan E. Donoghue, International Court of Justice

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H.E. Judge Joan E. Donoghue has been a member of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, since 9 September 2010. Prior to her ICJ appointment, H.E. Judge Joan E. Donoghue was Principal Deputy Legal Adviser in the U.S. Department of State (2007-2010), in addition other roles such as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Freddie Mac, and Deputy General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Treasury. In this blog post, H.E. Judge Joan E. Donoghue discusses the work of the Court and some challenges to public international law. On the work of the Court and public international law What do you see as the biggest challenges for Court in the coming years? In the decades since the ICJ was created, other forms of international dispute settlement have emerged and have thrived. Notable examples are the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization, investor-state arbitration and the revitalization of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. These institutions can learn from each other, borrowing and adapting successful procedures. The ICJ must be open-minded about possible changes in established practices that would increase the vitality of the Court. On the substance of our work, we cannot expect every Judge and all observers to agree with the Court’s conclusions in each case, but we must always strive to demonstrate fairness to the parties and rigor of analysis in our decisions, bearing in mind not only the implications for parties, but also the role that our decisions inevitably play in the development of international law. The ICJ...
Trump and Tariffs: the start of a trade war, or a hard-bargaining negotiation tactic?

Trump and Tariffs: the start of a trade war, or a hard-bargaining negotiation tactic?

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In March and April of 2018 the United States and China announced proposed tariffs specifically targeted to the importation of the other countries’ products. Although these reciprocal tariffs could signal an impending trade war, some analysts counter that they are in fact the result of a hard-bargaining tactic by President Trump primarily motivated by long-brewing concerns of Chinese intellectual property theft of U.S. technology.

State Consent, Power to Regulate, and Renewable Investments: A Perspective on the Limits of Expropriation under the Energy Charter Treaty

State Consent, Power to Regulate, and Renewable Investments: A Perspective on the Limits of Expropriation under the Energy Charter Treaty

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The Energy Charter Treaty has recently limited the power of sovereign States to regulate investments in their economy in the energy sector. The protections offered by the ECT were initially meant to attract investment in new sources of energy, while guaranteeing the rights of investors against illegal expropriations. The recent Spanish tariff deficit arbitrations, based on the expropriation provision of article 13 of the ECT, have shown that States can be confronted with mass claims on the basis of this regional agreement. This article looks at the current situation in wake of the Spanish “solar war” arbitrations.

International Data Privacy in a Post-Cambridge Analytica World

International Data Privacy in a Post-Cambridge Analytica World

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The recent Cambridge Analytica scandal has exposed weaknesses in data privacy protections that have affected elections around the world. This blog post explores how data privacy laws might change and champions the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation as a model for how States may better protect their citizen’s data privacy rights.

An attempted assassination in Salisbury and international law – making sense of it all?

An attempted assassination in Salisbury and international law – making sense of it all?

Following the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the UK City of Salisbury, the UK has accused Russia of being responsible for this attack. This post seeks to clarify much of the discussion surrounding the relationship between this political dispute and international law, specifically on the use of force, treaty violations and the measures taken by both the UK and Russia.

A Right to Mifepristone and Misoprostol? A Consideration of Recent Interpretations of the ICCPR

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On June 20, 2017, the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, and the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women jointly issued a letter recommending that the New York State Senate pass a proposed bill that would liberalize the existing status of abortion law in New York State. The letter primarily focuses on the importance of moving abortion regulation from the penal code in terms of human rights treaties like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), but its analysis regarding why a criminal ban on self-induced abortions contravenes human rights law is particularly novel. The letter offers a nuanced, and rather radical, description of what is required comply with international human rights standards because it suggests that a State’s laws must not promote unequal access to abortions based on socioeconomic inequities.   Abortion Law in New York State While New York has one of the most liberal abortion laws in the world, it continues to regulate abortion in the criminal code, rather than the public health code. In New York, abortions are available upon a woman’s request until 24 weeks, after which they may only be performed in cases to preserve the pregnant woman’s life (N.Y. Penal Law § 125.05 (McKinney 1965)). New York also requires an abortion to be performed by a licensed physician in a hospital, and treats abortions performed by non-physicians as a felony. Additionally, “self-abortions” are misdemeanors under the present...