Accordingly, the volume regards the notion of humanity not as static and related only to one specific century, but as a dynamic concept, which emerged in the course of several centuries. One of the central aims is to show its procedural and evolutionary character with all its ambiguities and inconsistencies in the context of Europe itself as well as the continent’s relation to the wider world. Beyond Europe, the volume covers another three different geographical regions – namely Africa, America, and Asia, thus seeking to combine methodologically European history with approaches of transnational and global history.
The 2nd Global Humanitarianism Research Academy at the Centre for Imperial and Global History, University of Exeter, and the Archives of International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva
The GHRA 2016, organized by FABIAN KLOSE (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz), JOHANNES PAULMANN (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz), and ANDREW THOMPSON (University of Exeter) in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and with support by the German Historical Institute London, took place from July 11 to 22, 2016 at the University of Exeter and the Archives of International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. The 2016 GHRA had eleven fellows (ten PhD candidates, one Postdoc) who were selected in a highly competitive application process. They came from Austria, Canada, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They represented a range of disciplinary approaches from History, International History, Politics, International Relations, and Area Studies. The Research Academy was joined by STACEY HYND (University of Exeter) and KATHARINA STORNIG (Leibniz Institute of European History) as well as JEAN-LUC BLONDEL (formerly of the ICRC) and MARC-WILLIAM PALEN (University of Exeter).
On Wednesday, 20th July, the fellows of the GHRA 2016 discussed topical issues as well as the role and impact of history with Charlotte Lindsey Curtet at the Humanitarium, the conference centre at the headquarters of the ICRC in Geneva. As Director of Communication and Information Management since 2010, Charlotte Lindsey is not only current in all present affairs but also responsible for the Archives of the ICRC.
She herself has witnessed great changes since she joined the organisation in 1993 when she first went on missions to Bosnia and Ruanda. In 1999-2000 she conducted a major research on women and war resulting in the publication of Women Facing War (2001). The findings in some instances surprised her herself, she said. Looking at women not merely through the prism of sexual violence and as victims but as actors in their own right broadened the perspectives and made the ICRC more gender sensitive in terms of operational response as well as legal development. The “all victims approach” prevalent until then has since been abandoned in favour of a more nuanced notion without giving up the principle of impartiality. In more recent years, similar discussions are taking place in relation to the challenges of cultural and particularly religious differences. The aim always is to find communality in order to come to the aid of those who suffer across the divides of a conflict. Increasing Respect for International Humanitarian Law in non-International Armed Conflicts (2008) suggests in a chapter on “strategic argumentation” to appeal to core values as “the fundamental principles of humanitarian law are often mirrored in the values, ethics or morality of local cultures and traditions. Pointing out how certain rules or principles found in IHL also exist within the culture of a party to a conflict can help lead to increased compliance“ (p. 31).
In March 2014 Oliver Dörr (Osnabrück), Marc Frey (Munich), and Jörn Axel Kämmerer (Hamburg) organized the Hamburg Symposium on Colonialism and International Law at the Bucerius Law School. Some of papers of the conference have now been published as articles in the new issue of the Journal of the history of International Law.
My own article deals with the topic of Human Rights for and against Empire – Legal and Public Discourses in the Age of Decolonisation (JHIL, Vol. 18, 2016, p. 317-338). Against the background of an ongoing debate about the role of human rights in the age of decolonization this essay approaches the issue from two different angles. It concentrates on the paradoxical situation that anti-colonial movements as well as colonial powers instrumentalized international human rights documents such as the Genocide Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions, and the European Conventions on Human Rights for achieving their political goals. In combining legal and public discourses in a significant way both sides accused each other of gross human rights violations while at the same time presenting themselves as respecting and even guaranteeing fundamental human rights. Especially during the course of the wars of decolonization after 1945 this phenomena became obvious in various diplomatic debates at the United Nations and made universal rights a diplomatic pawn in international debates.
For this recent issue of the JHIL see:
How should the international community react when a government transgresses humanitarian norms and violates the human rights of its own nationals? And where does the responsibility lie to protect people from such acts of violation? In this new volume scholars from various disciplines investigate some of the most complex and controversial debates regarding the legitimacy of protecting humanitarian norms and universal human rights by non-violent and violent means. Charting the development of humanitarian intervention from its origins in the nineteenth century through to the present day, the book surveys the philosophical and legal rationales of enforcing humanitarian norms by military means, and how attitudes to military intervention on humanitarian grounds have changed over the course of three centuries. Drawing from a wide range of disciplines, the authors lend a fresh perspective to contemporary dilemmas using case studies from Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia.
CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / L. Lehongre
For more than half a century, the Fundamental Principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality have underpinned the global humanitarian work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. But how have these principles evolved since their codification in 1965, and to what extent have they been adapted for modern day conflict and emergency contexts? Are certain principles more ‘valuable’ than others, and what can the successes, failures and controversies of the past teach us about the future of humanitarian work?
These are just some of the thought-provoking questions raised in a new report: Connecting with the Past: The Fundamental Principles in Critical Historical Perspective. The report, a collaboration between the ICRC, University of Exeter and the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, reflects the debates and key points raised by eminent academics, historians and humanitarians who attended a symposium at ICRC headquarters in Geneva in September, 2015. The event and related report, examine five significant periods of history, starting with the founding of the Red Cross in 1865 and ending with the post 9/11 era and the many unprecedented and complex humanitarian challenges that have arisen throughout.
Cross-posted from icrchistory
The International Committee of the Red Cross is hosting a two-day conference, bringing together prominent humanitarians and academics to reflect critically on the history of humanitarian action.
The 16-17 September conference, “Connecting with the Past – the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in Critical Historical Perspective”, will consist of seven panels with around 30 panelists in addition to invited experts.
The first night of the symposium will be a livestreamed public conference entitled “Stubborn Realities, Shared Humanity: History in the Service of Humanitarian Action.” It will feature the ICRC’s president Peter Maurer, along with Jane Cocking (Humanitarian Director, Oxfam UK), Sir Michael Aaronson (formerly Save the Children), academics Irène Herrmann (Associate Professor of Swiss Transnational History, University of Geneva) and Andrew Thompson, (Professor of Modern History, University of Exeter), moderated by the ICRC’s Vincent Bernard.
At its International Conference in Vienna in 1965, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement proclaimed the Seven Fundamental Principles – Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary service, Unity and Universality – as the basis for its humanitarian approach.
The two-day historical symposium, jointly organized by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, the University of Exeter and the ICRC, aims to reflect on the relevance, influence and challenges of the humanitarian principles, from the birth of modern humanitarianism in the 19th century to today.
After the first week of academic training at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz, the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2015 travelled for a week of research training and discussion with ICRC members to the Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva.
The First Day at Geneva started with an introduction to the public archives and library resources by ICRC staff. Jean-Luc Blondel, former Delegate, Head of Division, and currently Adviser to the Department of Communication and Information Management welcomed the group. Daniel Palmieri, the Historical Research Officer at the ICRC, and
Fabrizio Bensi, Archivist, explained the development of the holdings, particularly of the recently opened records from 1966-1975. The Librarian Veronique Ziegenhagen introduced the library with its encompassing publications on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, Humanitarian Action, international conflicts and crises. The ICRC also possesses a superb collection of photographs and films which Fania Khan Mohammad, Photo archivist, and Marina Meier, Film archivist explained.
In the afternoon, the GHRA group had the chance to discuss with Jacques Moreillon, Director General of the ICRC between 1984 and 1988. He gave a presentation on his long experience with special insights into Red Cross prison visits with political detainees. Dr Moreillon was one of the ICRC delegates to visit Nelson Mandela on Robben Island and shared his vivid memories with the participants.
Jacques Moreillon, Honorary Member of the ICRC, at the GHRA 2015
Interdisciplinary Conference: 19 April 2016 University of Auckland, New Zealand
Hosted By: The Faculty of Arts at the University of Auckland and the New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice
Keynote Speakers: Professor Randall Lesaffer (Catholic University of Leuven), Dr William Mulligan (University College Dublin), Professor Neville Wylie (University of Nottingham)
Description: Between the various strands of scholarship there is a wide range of understandings of the two Hague Peace Conferences (1899 and 1907). Experts in international law posit that The Hague’s foremost legacy lies in the manner in which it progressed the law of war and international justice. Historians of peace and pacifism view the conferences as seminal moments that legitimated and gave a greater degree of relevance to international political activism. Cultural scholars tend to focus on the symbolic significance of The Hague and the Peace Palace as places for explaining the meaning of peace while diplomatic and military historians tend to dismiss the events of 1899 and 1907 as insignificant ‘footnotes en route to the First World War’ (N.J. Brailey).
Conference Report: “Rethinking Justice? Decolonization, Cold War, and Asian War Crimes Trials after 1945”, Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”, Heidelberg (organizer: Dr. Kerstin von Lingen, www.transcultural-justice.uni-hd.de ), October 26-29, 2014
The first day of the conference began on the evening of 26 October. Kerstin von Lingen, leader of JRG ‘Transcultural Justice’ and principal organizer of the conference, gave an introductory speech where she highlighted how war crimes trials in Asia offered a crucial legal, political, and moral-ideological watershed through which some of the initial contestations of decolonization and Cold War were played out. She argued that the trials should not be seen in isolation, but as part of this broader global politics, and also as an integral stage in the emergence of new universalistic norms of international humanitarian law. Fabian Klose (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz) suggested that in spite of the emergence of these new norms, the traditional colonial powers (he took the specific examples of Britain and France) were reluctant to accept these standards, since their acceptance would have restricted the potential to use violent force to maintain domination in the colonies in Africa and Asia.
Cross-Posted from CIGH Exeter
ICRC Headquarters, Geneva.
Cross-posted from Red Cross Red Crescent Magazine
Internal records from the ICRC’s archives concerning the conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s shed light on a decisive era for humanitarian action.
In a small room in the basement of ICRC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, historian Andrew Thompson methodically pours through folders full of documents — typewritten mission reports, confidential telegrams and hand-written letters — never before seen by people outside the ICRC.
“It is a process of discovery,” says Thompson, a professor of history at Exeter University in the United Kingdom. “There is a sense of expectation and anticipation not knowing what is going to be there. For a historian, it’s a bit like opening a birthday present, or like going into a candy shop.”
The ‘candy shop’ in this case is the ICRC archives, where Thompson is exploring 40- to 50-year-old records to be released to the public in January 2015 under the ICRC’s policy of making internal documents public in blocks of ten years once 40 years have passed since the events they describe.
Aside from exciting Thompson’s intellectual curiosity, these records offer a deeper understanding of conflicts going on between 1965 and 1975. In particular, they give insight into an area of great interest to Thompson, who took an early look at the records in order to pursue research on the evolution of international humanitarian law and human rights law as they pertain to the treatment of political detainees in non-international conflicts.
Venue: Boston College in Ireland, Dublin, 25-27 September 2015
Convenors: Kerstin von Lingen, Heidelberg University; Wolfgang Form, Marburg University; Franziska Seraphim, Boston College; Barak Kushner, Cambridge University
Co-sponsored by Boston College, Heidelberg University and the German Historical Institute, Washington DC
Call for Papers, deadline: February 07, 2015
Despite important differences in the war aims and conduct of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, war crimes trial policies emerged as globally connected domains of meting out justice that cut across the borders of nations, cultures, and continents. The aim of this conference, which is open to historians, political scientists and legal scholars alike, is to analyze and compare the transnational interconnections among the political, administrative, legal and social mechanisms of Allied transitional justice in the reshaping of the post-World War II world, with the prospect of an edited publication.
Far from a unidirectional imposition of “Western norms” on global conceptions of justice, experiences in Asia turn out to also have shaped legal perceptions in Europe, the United States, and the Soviet Union. The emerging geopolitics of the Cold War met with those of civil wars and decolonization in Asia, with huge implications not only for former colonies but for the European metropoles as well, including the former Axis powers themselves.
Date: 14-16 January 2015
Wednesday 14th January 2015
14h30 Welcome and Registration
Thomas Maissen (Director of the IHA), Hanna Sonkajärvi (Universidad del País Vasco), Steffen Prauser (IHA),
15h00 Military Justice in the Early Modern Period
Sandro Wiggerich (Universität Münster), Why Military Justice? – History of an Argument
PD Dr. Markus Meumann (Universität Erfurt), Searching for the Origins of the Conseils de Guerre in Seventeenth Century France
Discussion followed by a coffee break
16h30 Family, Gender, and Eighteenth Century Military Justice
Maria Sjöberg (Gothenburg University), Family Matters and Military Justice in Eighteenth Century Wars
Marianna Muravyeva (Oxford Brookes University), Creating a Model Citizen: Sex Crimes and the Military in Eighteenth-Century Russia
Discussion followed by a leg stretch
18h00 Laws of War in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Renaud Morieux (Cambridge University), The Laws of War and the Laws of the Prison. French and British Prisoners of War in the Eighteenth Century
Jakob Zollmann (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung), N.N.
Discussion Continue reading
Decolonization and the origins of ‘excessive’ violence: Dutch military operations in Indonesia (1945-1950) in comparative perspective
10-12 December 2014 Leiden
The conference is initiated by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) in Leiden, the Netherlands, and deals with the Indonesian decolonization war of 1945-1949. The aim in particular is to explore the occurrence of ‘excessive’ violence or (war crimes) during this conflict. In Dutch historiography there has been limited attention for the violent nature of these closing years of Dutch colonialism, while the possibility of Dutch war crimes remains a sensitive and under-explored subject. By way of a comparative approach – both diachronically and synchronically – the goal is to achieve a better understanding of the role ‘excessive’ violence played during this conflict. We want to discuss how historians can further investigate this important but neglected period of (Dutch) colonial history.
Conference Programme: Continue reading
We, Fabian Klose, Johannes Paulmann, and Andrew Thompson, would like to remind you that the Call for Applications for the first Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2015 is still open until 31 December 2014.
The international Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) offers research training to advanced PhD candidates and early postdocs. It combines academic sessions at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz and the Imperial and Global History Centre at the University of Exeter with archival sessions at the Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. The Research Academy addresses early career researchers who are working in the related fields of humanitarianism, international humanitarian law, peace and conflict studies as well as human rights covering the period from the 18th to the 20th century. It supports scholarship on the ideas and practices of humanitarianism in the context of international, imperial and global history thus advancing our understanding of global governance in humanitarian crises of the present.
The Research Academy invites applications for the 2015 Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) from PhD students and early postdocs. The Steering Committee will select up to 12 participants. Applicants must be able to certify that they are fluent in both written and spoken English, the Academy’s working language. For researching the ICRC archives a fair command of reading French is desirable in order to use the finding aids as well as the material. Continue reading