The Centre for Policy Research is delighted to invite you to a talk titled ‘Returning Sovereignty to the People’ on the use of sovereign rights by nations to prevent international scrutiny by Hallie Ludsin, J.D., L.L.M., on 20 April 2012. This seminar is part of the International Law Seminar Series organized by the Group of International Lawyers in Delhi (GUILD), anchored at CPR.
Discussion Topic: Returning Sovereignty to the People
The talk will explore how one may respond to governments that attempt to use sovereign rights as a shield against international scrutiny of and intervention into their domestic human rights abuses. This talk is based on a research report commissioned by the Centre for Policy Alternatives in Colombo, Sri Lanka as a response to the Sri Lankan government’s regular resort to sovereignty to hide its human rights atrocities at the end of its civil war. Hallie will challenge the archaic conception of sovereignty by referring to the time-honoured, but often merely rhetorical, principle of sovereignty in the people. Relying on classical sovereignty theorists, she will discuss the concept of sovereignty in the people to propose that a government is entitled to sovereign rights only as the legitimate representative of its people and as long as it fulfills its duties to them. Taken to its logical conclusion, sovereignty in the people establishes that (1) sovereign rights can be lost even when governments commit less than the most egregious human rights abuses, which differentiates this from Responsibility to Protect, and (2) any form of government is at risk of losing sovereignty rights, including democracies. Both these notions are likely to be highly contentious.
Hallie Ludsin is currently writing a book about the slippery slope of preventive detention in democratic countries. She previously worked as a legal consultant with the Centre for Policy Alternatives in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling in Ramallah, West Bank, and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Johannesburg, South Africa. Hallie has taught law school courses on comparative law, South African customary law, and on the application of international law to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her article “Relational Rights Masquerading as Individual Rights,” published by the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, was named as one of the top ten Global Justice Law Reviews of 2008 by the University of Utah’s Global Justice Think Tank.