Books

Human Rights and Participatory Politics in Southeast Asia

'Human Rights and Participatory Politics in Southeast Asia' , University of Pennsylvania Press (2019)

Written by Catherine Renshaw

In Human Rights and Participatory Politics in Southeast Asia, Catherine Renshaw recounts an extraordinary period of human rights institution-building in Southeast Asia. She begins her account in 2007, when the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the ASEAN charter, committing members for the first time to principles of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. In 2009, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights was established with a mandate to uphold internationally recognized human rights standards. In 2013, the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration was adopted as a framework for human rights cooperation in the region and a mechanisim for ASEAN community building. Renshaw explains why these developments emerged when they did and assesses the impact of these institutions in the first decade of their existence.

In her examination of ASEAN, Renshaw asks how human rights can be implemented in and between states that are politically diverse—Vietnam and Laos are Communist; Brunei Darussalam is an Islamic sultanate; Myanmar is in transition from a military dictatorship; the Philippines and Indonesia are established multiparty democracies; while the remaining members are less easily defined. Renshaw cautions that ASEAN is limited in its ability to shape the practices of its members because it lacks a preponderance of democratic states. However, she concludes that, in the absence of a global legalized human rights order, the most significant practical advancements in the promotion of human rights have emerged from regional institutions such as the ASEAN.

Nonsense on Stilts: Rescuing Human Rights in Australia

'Nonsense on Stilts: Rescuing Human Rights in Australia', Connor Court Publishing (2019)

Written by Damien Freeman and Catherine Renshaw

The end of human rights?

In the eighteenth century, Jeremy Bentham famously described natural rights as nothing more than nonsense on stilts. Almost two centuries later, Bentham’s natural rights provided the foundation for human rights. Today, it is less common for human rights to be based on natural rights, but the concern that human rights is at risk of becoming nothing more than nonsense on stilts remains as live as ever.

In Nonsense on Stilts, six essayists including the Liberal Party’s Tim Wilson and the Labor Party’s Terri Butler, respond to Damien Freeman and Catherine Renshaw’s proposals for rescuing human rights in Australia. The collection offers a number of perspectives on what it means to recognise and protect human rights in Australian law and politics today.

Experts, Networks and International Law

'Experts, Networks and International Law', Cambridge University Press  (2017)

Edited by Holly Cullen, Joanna Harrington and Catherine Renshaw

Highlighting how the challenges raised by globalization - from environmental management to financial sector meltdowns - have encouraged the emergence of experts and networks as powerful actors in international governance, the contributions in this collection assess the methods and effectiveness of these new actors. Unlike other books that have focused on networks or experts, this volume brings these players together, showing how they interact and share the challenges of establishing legitimacy and justifying their power and influence. The collection shows how experts and networks function in different ways to address diverse problems across multiple borders. The reader is provided with a broader and deeper practical understanding of how informal authority actually operates, and of the nature of the relationship between different actors involved in policymaking. Through a range of case studies, the contributions in this collection explain how globalization is reshaping traditional forms of power and authority.

United States Migrant Interdiction and the Detention of Refugees in Guantanamo Bay

'United States Migrant Interdiction and the Detention of Refugees in Guantanamo Bay', Cambridge University Press (2015)

Written by Azadeh Dastyari

This book provides a thorough legal analysis of the United States Migrant Interdiction Program, examining the United States' compliance with its obligations under municipal and international law as it interdicts individuals at sea, conducts status determinations, and returns those interdicted to their home countries. This book also examines the rights of the small number of refugees and individuals at risk of torture detained in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, awaiting resettlement in third countries. Policy-makers, students and scholars will benefit from this book's clarification of the legal obligations of nations engaged in extraterritorial status determination and detention, as well as its blueprint for compliance with international human rights and refugee law. As the first book of its kind devoted to the United States' interdiction program, this work represents an important contribution to scholarship in refugee law and policy, US constitutional law, international maritime law, and international human rights law.

Human Rights in Asia and the Pacific: Critical Concepts in Asian Studies',

'Human Rights in Asia and the Pacific: Critical Concepts in Asian Studies', Routledge (2014)

Edited by Ben Saul and Catherine Renshaw

While the Asia Pacific region is one of the world's largest by population size, it has long been known for having the least developed regional and national institutional mechanisms for protecting human rights, particularly compared to the well-developed systems in Europe, the Americas, and increasingly in Africa. Asia has the least uptake of human rights treaties of any region in the world, and serious human rights violations are documented as occurring in numerous countries in the region. Asia has also presented conceptual challenges to the universality of international human rights, for instance through arguments about 'Asian values' (the collective over the individual, the economic over the political, compromise over adjudication) being inconsistent with western notions of rights. At the same time, innovative human rights practices and protections have been developed in some jurisdictions, and increasingly at the transnational level.

There is increasing scholarly and practitioner interest in human rights in the Asia and Pacific regions, driven in part by recent efforts by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to enhance human rights protections in those sub-regions. This edited collection makes a timely and distinctive contribution to the literature by bringing together the leading scholars in the field who have written across the gamut of thematic human rights issues in Asia and the Pacific. A particular strength of the collection is its inclusion of significant Asian and Pacific authors, who are sometimes under-represented in the mainstream legal debates. The work will be of interest to a scholarly and student audience in law (international, comparative Asian, public, constitutional, and human rights), as well as to readers in international relations, political science, Asian studies, and human rights.

Future Seekers II: Refugees and Irregular Migration in Australia',

'Future Seekers II: Refugees and Irregular Migration in Australia', Federation Press (2006)

Written by Mary Crock, Ben Saul and Azadeh Dastyari

This book explores Australia’s ambivalent legal and political response to “irregular” migration, including the unplanned arrival of people variously known as asylum seekers, “boat people”, “illegals”, “queue jumpers” and “economic migrants”. Part 1 outlines how many people arrive, who they are, where they come from, and why they come. It also compares Australia’s experience of irregular migration to that of other countries, in light of the vast global movements of people and increasingly exploitative practices such as people smuggling and people trafficking.

The core of the book addresses the complex system of refugee law and policy in Australia. It explains the legal definition of who is a “refugee” and the administrative and judicial procedures for applying this definition to determine refugee status. It traces the changes to law and policy since 2001 following the infamous Tampa affair, the introduction of the “Pacific Strategy”, and the extension to West Papuans in 2006 of the policy of interdicting, deflecting, and processing asylum seekers offshore on Nauru and Christmas Island.

The final part of this book examines equally controversial laws and policies requiring the mandatory detention of unlawful non-citizens, including the key High Court decisions which confirmed the parliament’s power to detain a person indefinitely – and in breach of international human rights law. The living conditions in the detention centres and how Australia’s laws compare with other countries are also discussed.

Future Seekers II builds on a shorter book by two of the authors in 2002. This book responds to the many changes to refugee and migration law between 2002 and 2006 and its deeper coverage of the issues reflects the growing sophistication of public understanding of – and concern about – refugee issues in Australia.