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Polarizing Times? The Role of Human Rights and International  Law

The 2021 edition of the Joakim Dungel Lectures in International Justice will explore the role of human rights and international law in relation to polarization and its challenges.

Fake news, conspiracy theories, and lack of dialogue. Polarization seemed to be the calling card of 2020 almost as much as the Covid-19 pandemic. Are ‘we’ more polarized today than before? How does polarization affect the global system? What role can human rights and international law play? 

The 2021 edition of the Joakim Dungel Lectures in International Justice will explore the role of human rights and international law in relation to polarization and its challenges. Conducted fully online as a webinar, the seminar will feature interventions centered on three main sessions aiming to answer questions such as:  

  • What is polarization and how is it expressed, both globally and in specific regional or national contexts? 
  • What role can international law and human rights play in mitigating extremes?  

  • Is the role of international law and human rights dependent on universality? If so, how collective are current interpretations?  

  • How can international human rights law be used as a tool for dialogue? 

  • What examples exist of international criminal, humanitarian, and/or human rights, law as successful ways to foster stability? 

  • What are the future challenges? 

Programme

Welcome to the Joakim Dungel Lectures 2021, you can choose to take part in the whole programme or participate in selected sessions. 

Session 1
Polarization and International Law: Government and Legal Perspectives  

Welcome! (Emilia Dungel, The Association in Memory of Joakim Dungel)  

Polarization from a Global Perspective: Viewpoints from Diplomacy (Ann Wilkens, Ambassador) 

Polarization and International Law: Viewpoints from Academia (Sari Kouvo, Associate Professor, Department of Law, Gothenburg Univeristy)  

Video (1:17:19)
Session 1: Polarization and International Law: Government and Legal Perspectives

Session 2
Working with Human Rights in Polarized Times: Regional and National Perspectives  

Polarization, Human Rights and International Law: Lessons from the Middle East (Habib Nassar, Director of Policy and Research, Impunity Watch) 

Freedom of Media and Expression in Contemporary Europe: Possibilities and Challenges (Andrew Stroehlein, European Media Director, Human Rights Watch) 

Video (1:02:10)
Session 2: Working with Human Rights in Polarized Times

Session 3
Future Challenges for Human Rights and International Law in a Polarized World: Concluding Discussion 

Polarization and Human Rights in a Digitalized World: What Can We Expect? (Professor Susan Perry, American University, Paris) 

Video (39:05)
Session 3. Future Challenges for Human Rights and International Law

The Joakim Dungel Lectures in International Justice aim to analyze and discuss various challenges through an international law lens. The Lectures were instituted in 2012 to honour the life and work of Joakim Dungel, an alumnus of Gothenburg University who was killed while working as a human rights officer for the UN in Afghanistan in 2011. To continue the work he was not able to, the seminars have tried to understand complex and controversial issues. Previous lectures have dealt with issues such as sexual violence in conflict, weapons of mass destruction, the global arms trade, and contextualizing terrorism. There are not clear-cut solutions to the topics at hand, but the Lectures aim to encourage the discussion as a means towards progress. 2021 will be the tenth edition. 

The lecturers are available until March 8.