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ONGOING PHD RESEARCH:

    Benedikt Behlert
   
         
 behlert 300   The Necessity of a Conversation between the Administration and the Individual – The Relevance of Procedure to International Human Rights    
       
  Supervisors:                                                                                
Professor Dr. Pierre Thielbörger (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum)
Professor Dr. Wolfram Cremer (Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum)
   
       
  Enrolled at:
Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum
   
       
  Administrative procedure is often perceived as a nuisance by the two sides involved: by individuals seeking an action, service or permission from the state as well as by members of the administration wanting to pursue an action against an individual or refusing to act in her favor. Both sides may view administrative procedure as an unwelcome hurdle on their way to reach their objectives. This perception, however, clouds the value and importance of administrative procedure for the individual in modern legal systems. It is not an end in itself but protects the individual against arbitrary state action.

This PhD project seeks to answer the question whether the effective implementation of international human rights law requires administrative procedures. By enriching traditional legal analysis with insights from other disciplines, the project aims at a comprehensive evaluation of the potential of a human rights-based argumentation in favor of a conversation between the administration and the individual for the better realisation of international human rights.
   

   
     Katharina Behmer
   
         
behmer 300   Local Negotiation of Global Norms in Post Conflict Societies:
A Case Study on Gender in Peacebuilding
   
       
  Supervisor:
Professor Dr. Uwe Andersen (IFHV and Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum)
   
       
  Enrolled at:
Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
   
       
  This PhD project seeks to understand how global norms are negotiated locally in post-conflict settings by examining hybrid forms of post-war prosecution in the context of transitional justice in Cambodia. In 2000 the UN Security Council released resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, recalling the need for a gender perspective in peace and security politics on all levels of engagement. One of the three pillars of the resolution is prosecution, which has also been subject of three follow-up resolutions. As global gender norms are frequently contested on national and/or local level, this specific set of norms will be used to understand norm contestation and negotiation in “global” areas.

Following the logic of constructivist international relations theory, norms, understood as intersubjective, widely shared beliefs about appropriate behavior, shape the action and interests of actors in world politics (cf. Finnemore/Sikkink 1999). Norm change therefore implies a deviation of previous assumptions about normality that naturally is accompanied by norm contestation and conflict in various dimensions and on different levels of interaction. Special emphasis will be given to the analysis of power relations in international prosecution processes. The project therefore studies the emerging system of global justice on the one hand and the complex interplay of global and local norms on the other hand from an international political science perspective. Moreover, the project advocates the establishment of the rule of law as means of peacebuilding and a gender perspective in the study of war and peace.
   

   
    Carolin Borgmann
   
         
borgmann 300   Resiliente  Stadtentwicklung – Kommunale  Resilienzstrategien  zur  Prävention  und Bewältigung von Herausforderungen, Krisen und Katastrophen  
[Resilient City development – Local resilience strategies for prevention and coping with stresses, crises and disasters]
   
       
  Supervisors:
Professor Dr. Frank Fiedrich (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Safety Engineering, University of Wuppertal)  
Professor Dr.  Dennis Dijkzeul (IFHV and Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum)
   
       
  Enrolled at:  
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Safety Engineering, University of Wuppertal
   
       
  Cities are confronted with a variety of stresses, shocks and changes. Depending on city and circumstances these stresses and shocks range from socio-economic-change, high unemployment, serious housing shortage, lack of social cohesion to natural disasters or cyber-attacks. As an answer to these challenges and a protection strategy, over the last years city planners internationally have begun to develop resilience strategies. The aim of these resilience strategies is the preparation for and prevention of potential shocks and stresses and ensuring the maintenance of business continuity. In participatory negotiating processes potential risks are identified and adaptation, transformation or coping strategies are developed. While a plethora of resilience strategies have recently been developed worldwide, until now no such strategy exists in any German city.

The planning focus here still lies mainly on sustainable, social, integrative or smart city development. This PhD project explores in how far aspects of resilient city development have nevertheless already been included in other applied city development strategies and programmes, but are referred to under different terms. It also addresses the questions which benefits and limitations the resilience approach in city development offers, in which processes resilience strategies are and should be formulated and how resilience can be increased by the promotion of social capital and society empowerment.
   

   
     Jasmin Fritzsche-El Shewy
   
         
fritzsche 300   The Secondary Forced Displacement of Palestinian Refugees - A Case Apart?    
       
  Supervisor:
Professor Dr. Hans-Joachim Heintze (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum)
   
       
  Enrolled at:                                                                                         
German-Arab joint PhD programme (Institute of Development Research and Development Policy)
at Ruhr University Bochum, Lebanese American University, and the University of Jordan
   
       
  In recent years, a significant number of refugees have been re-displaced from or within their country of refuge. Most recently, Iraqi and Palestinian refugees have been affected by the conflict in Syria. With displacement being defined in relation to the country of origin, secondary forced displacements are not explicitly accounted for under international law. Thus, multi-layered displacements such as those occurring in Syria leave non-citizens, i.e. refugees, facing a protection gap. This gap becomes particularly apparent in cases of protracted displacement and statelessness.

The objective of this doctoral research is to scrutinise the status of refugees under international law in cases of secondary forced displacement. Looking at the manifestations of law on space and vice versa, it asks if the conceptualisation of secondary forced displacement as “overlapping refugeedoms” offers a tool to more comprehensively scrutinise the normative protection of secondary displaced refugees under international law. At its core, the study critically engages with concepts such as refugee, citizenship, nationality and identity.
   

   
    Lisa Hilleke
   
         
hilleke 300   Water is Life: Coping with Water Challenges in Iraqi Kurdistan    
       
  Supervisors:
Professor Dr. Dennis Dijkzeul (IFHV and Faculty of Social Science, Ruhr University Bochum)
Professor Dr. Katja Bender (International Centre for Sustainable Development, Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences)
   
       
  Increasing water scarcity is an urgent global concern. Historically, some regions are more prone to suffer from limited access to water than others. Compared to most other Middle Eastern countries, Iraq was well positioned to access water sources. However, this has changed in recent years. Longer dry seasons, limited rainfall, and more frequent droughts, as well as a history of oppression, war, occupation, and sanctions have led to mismanaged, poorly maintained or destroyed water systems. As a consequence, Iraq’s water sources have been constrained over the last four decades. Currently, Iraq’s population must address both the negative effects of both oppression and protracted conflict, as well as the deficiency of its most precious natural resource and response to basic needs. Limited access to clean water constitutes a main cause for migration and displacement in Iraq and the Kurdish region, especially. This contributes to constant urbanisation.

This research project assesses urban Iraqi Kurdistan’s challenge of accessing clean water and the presence of coping mechanisms for increased water scarcity and pollution. This assessment is based on an analysis of the population’s needs and vulnerabilities, with a particular focus on their traditional and religious behavior towards water utilisation and the extent to which their coping mechanisms influenced by their dependency on the state’s political and economic system. The project develops the theoretical argument that political and economic environments can constrain the development of coping strategies that positively influence the access to clean water in the long run. It combines scientific research on coping mechanisms, access to water, and the role of the state. It concentrates on three cities in Iraqi Kurdistan: Erbil, Sulymaniyah, and Dohuk.
   

   
    Laura Hofmann    
         
hofmann 300   Cultural Heritage Preservation and Protection in Human Rights Law    
       
  Supervisor:
Professor Dr. Pierre Thielbörger (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum)
   
       
  Enrolled at:
German-Arab joint PhD programme (Institute of Development Research and Development Policy)
at Ruhr University Bochum, Lebanese American University, and the University of Jordan
   
       
  The protection of cultural heritage in times of armed conflict and the enforcement thereof is a prominent topic in international law, yet peacetime protection has gained less attention. In peacetime, threats to cultural heritage typically stem from urbanisation, industrialisation, and the increase in international tourism as well as from climate change and pollution. While these threats may manifest themselves more subtly than an overt attack on cultural heritage in an armed conflict, they certainly contribute to its decay, degradation, destruction, and eventual loss. Similarly, intentional attacks on cultural heritage are not confined to armed conflicts and may also occur in peacetime, as deplorably evidenced by the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

The increasing recognition that loss and destruction of cultural heritage entail detrimental repercussions for individuals has become evident in the jurisprudence of inter alia the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court (ICC). In 2016, the ICC pronounced the population of Timbuktu “the direct victims” of the destruction of the city’s heritage in The Prosecutor v. Al Mahdi. The relationship between cultural heritage and human rights law has also been subject of inter alia Human Rights Council Resolutions and the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights’ general comment No. 21 on the right to take part in cultural life.

Motivated by references to the relationship between cultural heritage and human rights in both cultural heritage law and the human rights system, this PhD project seeks to understand to what extent cultural heritage as a concept and the preservation and protection thereof has emerged in the framework of international human rights law. The PhD project seeks to move beyond using human rights as a rhetoric and questions if human rights law offers a legal basis for preserving and protecting rights relating to cultural heritage.
   

   
    Ruth Körsgen    
         
6 koersgen   Das Recht auf Zugang zu angemessenem Wohnraum in der Republik Südafrika und der Bundesrepublik Indien – Gewährleistungen und Grenzen im Lichte internationalen Rechts
[International Perspectives and Domestic Legislation concerning the Right to Adequate Housing – Case Study of South Africa and India]
   
       
  Supervisors:
Professor Dr. Markus Kaltenborn (Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)
Professor Dr. Pierre Thielbörger (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)
   
       
  Enrolled at:
Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.
   
       
  Social human rights become an increasingly important motor for enhancing the living conditions of the poor in developing countries by means of legislation. Against the backdrop of challenges like population increase, urbanisation, migration and economic development, the social human right to adequate housing attracts particular attention. The dissertation will address the implementation of the right to adequate housing in South Africa and India. The builders of the South African and the Indian constitution implemented social rights in quite different ways. Aim of the thesis is therefore to provide a comprehensive comparative analysis of the two states’ legal structures and political programs for the realisation of the right to adequate housing.    

   
    Franziska Kring
   
         
kring 300   Responsibility to Protect (R2P) revisited: Towards climate change-related obligations of states?    
       
  Supervisors:
Professor Dr. Pierre Thielbörger (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)
   
       
  This PhD project deals with the applicability of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to climate change. Climate change is one of the greatest emerging humanitarian challenges of the 21st century. As all previous attempts to stem climate change have proved to be inadequate, alternatives must be considered. One possibility may be the R2P, a concept developed in 2001 in order to prevent the worst human rights violations. This PhD project aims at analysing whether and to what extent the R2P is suitable to oblige states to counteract climate change. On the one hand, the consequences of climate change could be subsumed under the scope of the R2P determined by the General Assembly, namely genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Another possibility could be the expansion of the R2P’s scope. Both alternatives will be examined in detail and a conclusion as to their suitability will be provided.    

   
    Fiza Lee
   
         
lee 300   The Rohingya Crisis and its Regional Response    
       
  Supervisor:
Professor Dr. Hans-Joachim Heintze (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum)
   
       
  Enrolled at:
Institute of Development Research and Development Policy (IEE), Ruhr University Bochum
   
       
  With more than 727,000 Rohingya refugees forcibly driven out of their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, due to the continuing violence and persecution, into neighboring Bangladesh since 25 August 2017 (ISCG, 2018), the discourse on refugee protection becomes increasingly critical. However, in a region where human rights protection is inconsistent and where human rights itself has been argued to be a “Western” concept, human rights violations in the name of national security, are prone to fester. Compared to Europe, Asia, as a region collectively, lacks the necessary legal framework in the refugee protection regime. At the national state level, existing framework is geared towards the protection of the state and national security interests. In fact, many Asian states are void of refugee protection laws all together.

In the absence of a workable legal framework for refugee protection, the Bali Process, a non-binding international forum for policy dialogue, established to combat issues of people smuggling, trafficking, and related irregular migration and transnational crime, has become well-placed to discuss possible solutions for the region, despite not having refugee protection issues as part of its core mandate (Kneebone, 2014).

This research focusses on how Asia is responding regionally to the Rohingya refugee crisis and whether it is compatible with protecting human rights and achieving human dignity. Through a comparative analysis of the Bali Process and other similar processes geared towards irregular migration which have been adopted worldwide (Budapest Process, ASEM, GFMD, etc.) and involving the participation and cooperation of both state and non-state actors, it aims to unravel the complex intersections between the protection of state interests and matters of internal security, against the protection of human rights and principles thereof in order to gain a better understanding and contribute to the discourse on refugee protection in the region.

With regional cooperation being highlighted as a key component to address the crisis, the relevance of this study’s findings takes on a much larger role in the discourse, especially, given the severity of the ongoing humanitarian crisis as well as the regional complexities. Viable long-term “human rights friendly” solutions could only be achieved through a thorough examination and understanding of the region’s capacity, steering away from a western-centric view on the issue.
   

   
    Mareike Meis
   
         
meis 300   Der gewaltsame Tod und seine ästhetische Digitalisierung – Handy-Todesvideos im Kontext des syrischen Bürgerkrieges
[Violent Death and its Aesthetical Digitalization – Mobile Death Video in the Syrian Civil War]
   
       
  Supervisor:
Professor Dr. Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky (Faculty of Philology, Institute for Media Studies, Ruhr University Bochum)
   
       
  Enrolled at: 
Faculty of Philology, Institute for Media Studies, Ruhr University Bochum
   
       
  This PhD project studies the perception, interpretation and constitution of violent death and conflict in Syria (2011-ongoing) in context of an increasing aesthetical digitalisation of conflicts today. It combines a discourse-theoretical and media-aesthetical perspective in the analysis of media reproductions of death on the background of mobile death videos recorded by conflict-affected Syrians and distributed via YouTube. The omnipresence of mobile phone videos in the reporting and public perception of violent conflicts challenges established power structures and brings about a new aesthetic and reality of death and violent conflict that potentially leads to a reframing of meanings and truths.

Based on a genealogic-diffractional approach, selected mobile death videos are analysed in different social and media contexts (YouTube, documentary and experimental film, art performances and pieces) in regard to the interference patterns that occur in interaction with other media-aesthetical and discursive phenomena. Drawing in particular on the iconographic history of images of death in war and conflict and on ero-epic conversations with artists and conflict-affected Syrians, this research explores how the perception and notion of death is influenced by the proliferation of mobile death videos and how it interacts with the perception, interpretation, and constitution of conflicts today.
   

   
    Darina Pellowska
   
         
pellowaska 300   Local humanitarian Networks and organisational Risk – A comparative case study of international NGOs in South Sudan    
       
  Supervisor:
Professor Dr. Dennis Dijkzeul (IFHV and Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum)
   
       
  Enrolled at:
Institute for Development Research and Development Policy, Ruhr University Bochum
   
       
  Currently, we can observe two important trends in international humanitarian response: Firstly, humanitarian assistance is often provided in high-risk environments. Secondly, the local networks through which international humanitarian organisations implement their projects are growing, with local actors gaining relevance. Beyond this background, the research project aims to understand how local humanitarian networks influence the organisational risks that are faced by international organisations while implementing their humanitarian projects in volatile environments.

It approaches the topic from a formal network analytical perspective and applies it to the context of South Sudan. Doing so, it conceptualises organisational risks as a form of social capital that is differently distributed, transformed, and accumulated/ reduced throughout the local networks of international organisations in South Sudan. Based on a comparative case study design and using the methods formal network analysis, risk analysis and comparison, it contrasts the structural influences of the individual local networks of three international NGOs.
   

   
    Robin Ramsayhe
   
         
ramsahye 300   The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and the Conceptualisation of New Rights and Rights-Holders in International Law    
       
  Supervisor:
Professor Dr. Pierre Thielbörger (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum)
   
       
  Enrolled at:
Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum
   
       
  The newly adopted United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) introduces a new category of individual and collective right holders in order to remedy the dire situation of smallholder agriculturalists, including farmers, pastoralists or nomadic communities as well as indigenous peoples.

This PhD project, first, examines peasants as potential (group) holders of human rights, the normative content of these rights as well as their potential implementation, focusing on UNDROP’s Article 17 on the right to land. Although such a right has been referred to as an emerging human right by scholars and human rights activists, it has not yet been the focus of sustained academic research.

This evaluation serves to, in a second step, examine UNDROP’s potential conceptual influence on the existing legal framework of human rights through the prism of land. The research uses land, specifically as it relates to culture and identity, as a connecting factor in illuminating the contested legal relationship between peasants and other agriculturalists, indigenous peoples, and minorities. In this context, it examines whether the turn to rights in international law, in this case through UNDROP, provides opportunities to close normative gaps or exacerbates ambiguities in the framework of vulnerable groups within the heterogeneous populations making up the majority of today’s states.
   

   
    Inga Zimmermann
   
         
zimmermann 300   (Hu)Man Security – Organisationsperspektiven auf Flucht und Männlichkeit in deutschen Kommunen
[(Hu)Man Security – Organisational Perspectives on Forced Migration and Masculinity in German Municipalities]
   
       
  Supervisors:
Professor Dr. Ludger Pries (Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum)
Professor Dr. Jürgen Straub (Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum)
   
       
  Enrolled at:
Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum
   
       
  During the summer of 2015, approximately 840,000 asylum seekers arrived in Germany (BAMF 2016). Resulting from a global humanitarian crisis, in Germany, this period has often been referred to as the “summer of migration” or the “refugee crisis”. Thereafter, public debates, media reporting and political discourses addressed, on the one hand, a “welcome culture” towards refugees in general and, on the other hand, highlighted the potential of a security risk arising from male refugees in particular, who represent the overwhelming majority of asylum seekers in Germany. The present research establishes the current situation of this group of men living in shared accommodations in German municipalities. It applies the individual-centered and holistic concept of human security (first adapted by UNDP in 1994), denominated here by myself as (hu)man security.

More specifically, this study focuses on the behaviour of non-governmental organisations and takes an organisational sociological approach in analysing their options in catering to the needs of refugees. Therefore, it investigate the role of masculinity construction(s) influencing the behavior of organisations involved in refugee assistance. With this objective, and assuming that the organisational performance impacts on (hu)man security, two hypotheses are made: Firstly, factual, political and societal changes since 2015 have affected the (organisational) masculinity constructions negatively and have therefore influences the situation for male refugees in Germany, and, secondly, masculinity constructions have equally generated a behavioral change in organisations over the same period.

Likewise, this research combines both semi-structured qualitative interviews and focus groups with organisational personnel and male residents of two chosen municipal refugee accommodations with a structural analysis of housing and protection standards and asylum policies, municipal politics and legal changes in a selected time frame from 2015 until 2018. In the outcome, I describe existing masculinity constructions within organisations which are involved in refugee assistance and identify their impacts on both legitimating their strategies and organisational performance towards accommodating male refugees. Furthermore, the results of this study enable the detection of potential organisational insecurities. It recommends a careful, gender-sensitive organisational planning and policy development at municipal level. Consequently, new findings help to address current challenges and seek persistent solutions for improvement of everyday life not only for male refugees, yet, German society.
   

   

COMPLETED PHD RESEARCH

   
    Annalisa Addis
   
         
addis 300   Linking Relief and Development. Case study: Ethiopia    
       
  Supervisors:
Professor Dr. Bianca M. Carcangiu (Department of Social Sciences, University of Cagliari)
Professor Dr. Dennis Dijkzeul (IFHV and Faculty of Social Science, Ruhr University Bochum)
   
       
  Humanitarian and development action are two different faces of charitable involvement in third-party countries, with the former focusing on crisis response and life-saving measures, whereas the latter is concerned with longer term improvement of living conditions. Besides having different objectives, the two types of action are guided by different principles. Yet, humanitarian crises often happen in areas that were already of concern for development actors, for instance due to vulnerabilities related to poor living conditions. As a result, the two ideally separate types of action end up being carried out in the same context. Furthermore, as many organisations with a humanitarian mandate also operate in development contexts, and vice-versa, it becomes more and more clear that the dichotomy between the two types of action is blurred, at least at operational level. Over the years, a number of approaches for better coordinating humanitarian and development actions have been elaborated, and are here referred to as 'Linking Relief and Development (LRD)', but they do not appear to have become mainstream. It is argued that different kinds of institutional pressures contribute to maintaining the humanitarian-development divide, even where collaboration happens on the ground. This research takes into examination the case of Ethiopia, a country where development efforts already coexist with humanitarian efforts in response to recurrent crises. Through a combination of participant observation, semi-structured interviews and desk research, institutional elements both pro and contra LRD are analysed.    

   
    Katrin Fenrich
   
         
fenrich 300   The Unexpected Effectiveness of Alternative Human Rights Mechanisms? – A Legal and Economic Analysis    
       
  Supervisors:
Professor Dr. Pierre Thielbörger (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum)
Professor Dr. Christoph Ohler (Faculty of Law, University of Jena)
   
       
  The concept of Human Rights traditionally lacks effectiveness due to non-existing or insufficient enforcement mechanisms. The United Nations’ individual complaint procedures cannot provide the desirable protection of particularly vulnerable groups that is needed to guarantee a universal Human Rights standard. This PhD project seeks to analyse and compare alternative Human Rights mechanisms in order to use their yet undiscovered potential of effectiveness. The legal and economic research will examine the procedure of diplomatic protection, the compensational practice of international criminal courts and international investment law. The aim is to rediscover or open new paths to effective international protection of Human Rights.    

   
    Heike Montag
   
         
6 montag   Pflichten des Sicherheitsrates und der Mitgliedstaaten der Vereinten Nationen zur Friedenskonsolidierung
[Peacebuilding Obligations of the Security Council and the Member States of the United Nations]
   
       
  Supervisors:
Professor Dr. Adelheid Puttler (Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum)
Professor Dr. Hans-Joachim Heintze (IFHV, Ruhr University Bochum)
   
       
  This PhD project focuses on the question to what extent there might be a legal obligation for the United Nations Security Council and its members to mandate post-conflict peacebuilding, when an authorised intervention by military means is being conducted. Reports and studies have shown that nearly half of the civil conflicts that ended relapsed into conflict within five years. Sustainable peacebuilding measures would help to reduce such relapse. In response, increasing attention has been paid to peacebuilding within the UN in recent years. Almost all UN missions are entrusted with peace building activities to varying degrees. It is in this light that the research project addresses the question whether peacebuilding is mandated simply because of moral obligations and political goodwill or whether there is a tendency to evolve into a corresponding legal obligation.    

   

Ruth Körsgen