U.S. trade bill with EU includes landmark anti-BDS provisions

The Ugly Truth

Obama signs Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) into law, leverages Europe’s desire for free trade with U.S. to block ‘politically motivated’ boycotts of Israel.

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XXXVIII Round Table on current issues of International Humanitarian Law: “The Distinction between International and Non-International Armed Conflict: Challenges for IHL?”, Sanremo, 3-5 September 2015

Armed Groups and International Law


This year’s IHL round table in Sanremo will deal with the distinction between IACs and NIACs. The International Institute of Humanitarian Law, together with the ICRC, has put together an interesting programme. Besides the general distinction between the two types of armed conflict and classification questions, specific panels will address the: i) temporal and geographical scope of application of IHL; ii) the relationship between IHRL and IHL in IAC and NIAC; iii) the use of force in IAC and NIAC; iv) detention; v) convergence of the law governing IAC and NIAC; vi) humanitarian assistance; and vii) compliance with IHL.

Sanremo is an excellent place to immerge yourself for a few days in IHL, whilst at the same time being exposed to a quaint town on the Ligurian (Italy) coast, with great food and nice side-events. Going to the round table is a treat, every time.

This is the…

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Asylum is a high hurdle. Can aspirants for UK try the Convention on Human Trafficking instead?

UK Human Rights Blog

Default_en-Stop_Trafficking_Still-1R (on the application of Hoang Anh Minh) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWHC 1725 (Admin) – read judgment 

This case concerned the proper approach to establishing whether there are “reasonable grounds” for believing that a person has been a victim of trafficking under the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (“the Trafficking Convention”). It also touched on the scope of the state’s positive obligations under Article 4 ECHR (which protects citizens of Council of Europe Countries from subjected to slavery, servitude, or forced or compulsory labour).


The claimant arrived in the UK from Vietnam via Russia, where he claimed he had been forced to work in a factory for several years before being released. On arrival here he claimed asylum, which was refused.

In parallel with asylum proceedings, however, his case was referred to the Home Office’s competent authority to…

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Call for Papers from Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law – Vol 18 (2015)

Armed Groups and International Law

YIHLThe editorial board of the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law has issued the following call for papers:-

General theme: Contemporary Armed Conflicts and their Implications for International Humanitarian Law

The changing nature of contemporary armed conflicts, both in terms of actors involved and means employed, has important implications for the continuing relevance of international humanitarian law (IHL) as the legal framework governing the conduct of the parties.

A few challenges:

▪ The expansion of the entity known as “Islamic State” (IS/ISIS/ISIL) in Syria and Iraq and the military efforts to fight it raise a number of legal issues, including the role of IHL as a tool to regulate the action of a party which recognises no universal legal framework whatsoever.
▪ Russia’s alleged support to separatists and use of infiltration tactics in Eastern Ukraine, represent another challenge when it comes to determine its responsibilities in terms of compliance with IHL.▪…

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Why international law matters in outer space – Part 2: because, military!


In the first part of this blog post yesterday, I described the extent to which we are dependent on space technologies for our daily activities, and the role of international law.  But what about military activities? Right from the beginning of the space race between the USSR and the USA in the 1960s military technology has been at the forefront, and until recently it was what drove most innovation in space. Indeed, GPS was a US military invention, and they decided to share it’s benefits for civilian use. Intelligence gathering by remote satellite imaging, as well as communications, GPS for aviation and marine operations, and many drone and weapons technologies are highly dependent on high-tech satellite networks. How does international law apply to this 21st century environment?


The notion of “space warfare” may not be something that belongs to a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away; in fact…

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Why international law matters in outer space – Part 1


Image credit: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120518-danger-space-junk-alert Image credit: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120518-danger-space-junk-alert

Most of us don’t think about outer space when we think of international law, but the technologies that allow us to expand our exploration and use of our space environment also drive our modern global society, and international law is at the cross section.  Our daily activities, from email, phone calls and Facebook to every automatic bank transaction you make, are dependent on satellite technologies. When you take a plane, the air traffic control is dependent on GPS. Even disaster management is dependent on satellite imaging.

In this two-part blog post, I want to introduce the key aspects of why international law matters in outer space, the first part focusing on civilian and commercial activities in space, and the second on military activities.

The space environment is often described as increasingly “congested, contested and competitive“, as was reported to the UN General Assembly’s First Committee…

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