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Within the Conference's challenging conceptual and empirical framework, the University of Padova Human Rights Centre has launched, in cooperation with other 5 human rights research institutes a call for papers open to human rights scholars, researchers as well as Ph.D candidates.
Each topic will correspond to a research panel, which will be managed by one of the human rights research institutes that has cooperated in organising the Conference.
The panels will take place in the afternoon of Monday 26th November at the premises of the University of Padova Human Rights Centre.
The deadline of the call for papers is Sunday 16th September (midnight) - see below for instructions.
Preference will be given to sound proposals which contribute addressing, from different disciplinary perspectives, one of the following topics.
1. Smart Cities and Human Rights (organised and managed by Koen De Feyter, Law and Development Research Group, University of Antwerp)
Although SDG 11 does not include the term, the concept of “smart city” has arguably become the dominant global buzz-word among urban development planner over the last decade. The term refers to the development of technology-based urban systems for efficient city management and economic growth.
The panel will discuss both the benefits and the risks of smart city strategies from a human rights perspective. Papers may address a variety of issues relating to this theme, both in the Global North and the Global South.
It has for instance been argued that the innovative use of science and technology in the delivery of public services could ensure broader access to public services and minimize the risks of corruption; and that a strengthening of the capacity of data systems could lead to more efficiency, popular participation, accountability and non-discrimination in the delivery of public services.
On the other hand, human rights concerns have been expressed about the effect of the digital divide (unequal access to communication technology, including on the basis of gender); and about the adverse impact of such innovations on a range of aspects of the right to privacy (e.g. when data are shared by public entities; when public spaces are increasingly being surveyed, or when smart water or electricity meters are installed in homes).
Broader questions yet include the impact of technological innovation on the socio-economic rights of low-income and marginalized groups in poor urban neighborhoods and in neighboring rural areas, and human rights violations that occur as a result of dispossession of lands and evictions in the context of purpose-built new or re-developed smart cities.
2. Governing New Religious Diversity in the City (organised and managed by Giuseppe Giordan, University of Padova)
With the increasing religious and cultural diversity in cities, the necessity for a better understanding of urban identities and the concept of “inclusive city” becomes urgent. In this regard, urban policies on intercultural and interreligious dialogue and religious freedom governance of religious and ethnic minorities come into the focus of new diversity management at the local level. Cities as spaces of encounters of new identities with city’s cultural and historical roots engage new and old actors - local authorities, cultural heritage players, emerging neighborhoods, religious groups, educational stakeholders - to keep social cohesion, mutual understanding, and eventually support.
The necessity to define new religious practices, to negotiate religious dress codes and food preferences, burials and places of religious service, as well as religious education programs, raised new issues for religious freedom governance. What kind of regulations and protection have to be addressed for new minorities and established religious traditions? How the vulnerability of religious migrant women, children, and minorities groups is considered at the level of local religious governance? What kind of initiatives for interreligious and intercultural dialogue are developing as the instruments for religious freedom enforcement? This panel aims at the quantitative and qualitative analysis of current policies on religious freedom and interreligious dialogue at the local city-level revealing constraints and prospects for the concept of inclusive cities.
3. Microfinance to Start-up Bottom-up Social Changing Initiatives (organised and managed by Sara Tonini, South Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU), University of Cape Town)
According to the World Bank Fact Sheet Report 2018, microfinance is the number one instrument to address poverty. The Report highlights that microfinance has helped many of the world’s poor to increase their incomes through self-employment and empowerment. While recognizing the importance of having access to credit to foster small scale entrepreneurship initiatives, this panel intends to provide an overview of the role of microfinance in promoting economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights, and to elaborate policy recommendations for financial and social inclusion within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development framework.
Against this background, the panel aims to gather researchers in the social sciences to discuss the following themes around Sustainable Development Goals no. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 17:
4. Cities as International Actors – Shifting Normative and Political Frameworks (organised and managed by Gerd Oberleitner, UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Security, University of Graz / UNESCO Category 2 Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights at the Local and Regional Levels)
In the last decades, cities increasingly stepped onto the international stage as global actors. Continuing trends of globalization and urbanization changed the role of cities in the international legal order endowing them with a more decisive role inter alia with regard to the implementation of international norms on their own increasingly bypassing the state. For instance, when the President of the United States announced the US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, 30 mayors of US cities – including the mayors from LA, Atlanta and Salt Lake City – committed themselves to uphold it at the local level. This goes in line with the prediction of Janne Nijman, that the international law of the future will be “de-formalised” and city governments and local judges will apply this new international law by way of “persuasive authority”. That challenges resulting from globalization such as environmental pollution, inequality and hence criminality, integration and cultural diversity just to name a few, come to the force in particular in cities fuels the change of the role and status of cities in international law further. Additionally, the loss of power of states at the national level driven by globalisation produced new possibilities for cities of powers and politics at the subnational level. The “Global City” that cannot be located anymore in a scalar hierarchy below the international, the regional and the national level emerged at the international sphere claiming its sphere and influence. Due to their lack of international legal personality, and in order to gain more visibility and voice for their concerns, cities have pursued to band together in coalitions, such as the European Coalition of Cities against Racism or the C40 Cities, thereby becoming increasingly seen as alternative interlocutors to states in the international field.
This panel seeks to address questions related to the changing nature of cities in international law from different perspectives. How has the image of cities under international law changed within the last decades? Did the increased internationalisation of cities impact on the international legal order? Can international law serve to define the legal status and governance of cities further? And considering that cities often begin to resemble private cooperations rather than traditional public service providers, can cities live up to the expectations as international civil societies representatives?
We are looking forward to original and innovative research dealing with the connection between cities and international law, whether empirical or conceptual. Contributions from all academic disciplines and multidisciplinary contributions are welcomed.
5. Beyond the State-centric Approach to Human Rights – Challenges and Opportunities in Human Rights Implementation, Protection and Development by Sub-state and Non-state Territory Based Entities (organised and managed by Peter Johansson, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg)
The state-centric approach to HR is a fundamental aspect of the international human rights system. States are key actors and the final decision makers in the development of both global and regional human rights norms and conventions; they are the entities legally responsible for human rights protection and implementation; but they are also the main perpetrator of human rights violations, either directly or indirectly by not providing enough protection to individuals and groups from third parties.
However, in everyday life, sub-state and non-state territory based entities play a key role in providing day to day implementation of human rights, often on delegation from the state, but sometimes due to the unwillingness, weakness, or even absence of the state. This raises questions concerning responsibility and accountability for human rights protection and implementation, but also provides opportunity for the development and innovative implementation of human rights within different contexts based on local and regional conditions.
This panel will problematize the state-centric approach to human rights by critically discussing the challenges and opportunities arising from sub-state and non-state territory based entities in human rights implementation, protection and development. Examples of such entities are cities and counties, autonomous territories/regions (both de jure and de facto), and different forms of self-determination/government by indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities.
6. Evaluating the City: Problems, Prospects and Migration Flows (organised and managed by Lilija Alijeva, Martin Crook and Damien Short, School of Advanced Studies, University of London)
This panel will investigate the city from a number of important perspectives. The city as a social, political, economic and historical construction will be analysed in terms of its ability to fulfil, what James Nickel has called, 'the minimally good life'. We will seek to explore the following themes:
To participate in the call for papers, please send a pdf file including the following information:
a) name, affiliation and contact of author/authors (in case of more authors, please indicate the name of the corresponding author);
b) a title and an abstract of 250 words maximum and 4-6 key-words;
c) an indication of the panel (title and number) for which the paper should be considered.
to firstname.lastname@example.org by 16th September 2018 (midnight)
Notification of acceptance will be sent by 10th October.
For accepted abstracts, the submission of a working paper before the Conference is strongly encouraged. This will also help the opportunities of publication.
There is no Conference fee.
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