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The Paradox of Slavery: A Fundamental Human Right which is Rarely Tried in Court

Mar 25, 2014, 12:30pm-2pm

Jean Allain holds the Chair in Public International Law at Queen’s University, Belfast, and is the director of its Human Rights Centre. He also holds an Extraordinary Professorship with the Centre of Human Rights of the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. He clerked for the president of the Yugoslav Tribunal, is co-founder of the Irish Yearbook of International Law and is author of The Slavery Conventions (2008), The Legal Understanding of Slavery (2012) and Slavery in International Law (2013).

This seminar will consider the evolution of the law related to contemporary slavery, setting out the dynamics that were at play over the past hundred years that all but exclude the trying of cases for slavery in courts of law. Prof. Allain will consider the manner in which international courts in the early years of the 21st century led the way in trying cases, but also in struggling to set out a coherent reading of what it means to be a slave in societies where the legal ownership of another is no longer possible. The seminar will then consider the approach that has taken hold to give new life to the law of slavery through a coherent reading of the established international definition of slavery – an approach that is both internally consistent, while mirroring the lived experience of those caught up in modern slavery.


Location:4034 Ignat Kaneff Building, Osgoode Hall Law School
Sponsor:The Harriet Tubman Institute and The Nathanson Centre
Posted by:Lielle Gonsalves
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