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Towards a Maximalist Reconception of Human Security regarding Forced Displacement
Maria Varaki (Helsinki)

  • Room 609, Melbourne Law School 185 Pelham Street Carlton, VIC, 3053 Australia (map)

Sovereignty — the so-called ‘S’ word — has been attacked in recent decades as an impediment to the further realization of a globalized world, one which shares common values and promotes universal goals. In pursuit of this world, scholars have tended to abandon the traditional normative understanding of sovereignty in favour of a functional one. However, this maximalist conception of sovereignty suffers from a dramatic unevenness, since under this conception the emerging responsibility of sovereign states is restricted to a particular understanding of global justice — that is, as limited to providing an antidote for gross violations of human rights escalating to the level of hard-core crimes.

Against this background, others have proposed a minimalist approach regarding the obligations of sovereigns as trustees of humanity. This middle ground normative proposal, balancing statist and globalist ideas of sovereignty, reiterates the importance of state sovereignty while cautiously advocating for a state obligation to consider the interests of others while drafting and implementing their policies. Using this moderate contention, together with a complementary proposal for a deliberative obligation, this seminar endeavoured to develop an expansive understanding of the application of human security in an era of unprecedented forced displacement, while acknowledging the limits of shared responsibility. Linking human security to the phenomenon of forced displacement offers a platform for academic research that adopts a holistic approach and unveils a more nuanced chain of facts and norms about the roots, development and broader consequences of forced displacement.

Dr Maria Varaki is a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow with the Laureate Program in International Law in 2017. She is postdoctoral research fellow with the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights in Helsinki, working on an Aristotelian theory of ethics for global governance. During the last two years she was Assistant Professor in International Law at Kadir Has University, Faculty of Law in Istanbul. Before joining Kadir Has University, she was a post-doctoral fellow at the Law Faculty of Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a visiting fellow at the iCourts Centre of the University of Copenhagen.

She holds a PhD in International Criminal Law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights in Galway, Ireland and two LLM degrees in International and Comparative Law, one from Tulane University, School of Law and one from New York University, School of Law. Additionally, she has worked for the OHCHR in Geneva, the UNHCR in New York and for the Legal Advisory section of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague.