Events Calendar
Nov 13
18:00 - 19:00
Human Rights Incorporated? Business and Human Rights in the Global Economy
CeCIL Speaker Nights

A Kent Centre for Critical International Law (CeCIL) Speaker Night with Michelle Staggs Kelsall (SOAS) - Michelle is an experienced practitioner in the field of international human rights law, having worked for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and her current scholarship adopts critical approaches to the incorporation of human rights principles in business practices.

Human Rights, Incorporated? Business and Human Rights in the Global Economy

How can we understand the emergence of the 'Business and Human Rights Agenda' at the United Nations, and how does it attempt to challenge contemporary approaches to applying international human rights law? Perhaps more importantly, who now claims to be a 'business and human rights' lawyer, and how does she conceptualise her role in the global economy? This talk will consider the emergence of 'market friendly' human rights in the twenty first century and problematise the neoliberal values and vices that might ensue for lawyers protecting and promoting them. Drawing on a recent history of failed attempts to regulate corporate human rights responsibilities as a matter of international law, the talk questions whether or not this novel form of human rights protection can live up to its claim to benefit those most vulnerable to corporate human rights abuse, and why.

Michelle Staggs Kelsall is a Lecturer in International Law at SOAS, University of London.Prior to joining SOAS, Michelle worked for several years as a Human Rights Officer for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as in leadership positions for not-for-profit centres undertaking applied research in Southeast Asia and West Africa (Sierra Leone). Most recently, she was the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Resource Centre (for ASEAN) where she oversaw all of the Centre's research, training and outreach initiatives, including leading multi-country human rights studies with teams of researchers across all ten countries in ASEAN.

In keeping with her background working as a human rights lawyer in Southeast Asia, Michelle's research has a strong empirical focus and predominantly considers new approaches to international law from a bottom-up/grassroots perspective. She is particularly interested in how international law is understood, interpreted and reconstituted in its field of reception, particularly in Asia (Southeast Asia). Her work adopts an interdisciplinary approach and draws on the social sciences and humanities to consider the intersections between public/private, global/local and domestic/international (amongst others).

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