Prof Errol Mendes asserts that much of the use of sovereignty as legitimizing the grave abuses of human rights around the world has its roots of a misconception of the concept that is entrenched in both public and international law since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 & reinforced in the Charter of the UN. He will discuss a need for both public and international law to revisit the concept especially regarding societies in conflict facing brutal governments or secessionist movements. Myanmar will be one of the countries that will be discussed in this context.
Professor Errol Mendes is a lawyer, author, professor and has been an advisor to corporations, governments, civil society groups and the United Nations. His teaching, research and consulting interests include constitutional and international human rights law, corporate law, global governance, public international law (including humanitarian and international criminal law) and international business and trade law. Professor Mendes completed his term as Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre on June 30, 2001, and returned to full-time teaching in the Common Law section of the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. In 1999, in recognition of his work on business ethics in Canada, the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nation invited Professor Mendes to be an advisor on the Global Compact initiative of the Secretary General. Professor Mendes is also the founding and present Editor-in-Chief of Canada’s leading constitutional law journal, The National Journal of Constitutional Law, which is now in its 25th year of publication. He is the author or co-editor of eleven books, including the landmark constitutional law text, co-edited with Senator G. Beaudoin, The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. His most recent book published in February 2014 is titled ‘Global Governance, Human Rights and International Law. Combating the Tragic Flaw’ published by Routledge. Professor Mendes was also elected the President of the International Commission of Jurists, Canadian Section in 2014.
Tarun Khaitan is the Head of Research at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights & the Professor of Public Law and Legal Theory at the Faculty of Law (Oxford). He is also a Professor & Future Fellow at Melbourne Law School, working on a project on the resilience of democratic constitutions, with a focus on South Asia. He specialises in legal theory, constitutional studies, and discrimination law. He is the founding General Editor of the Indian Law Review, founder and Chief Advisor of the Junior Faculty Forum for Indian Law Teachers, and an Affiliate of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and an Associate of the Oxford Human Rights Hub. His monograph entitled A Theory of Discrimination Law (OUP 2015) has been cited by the European Court of Human Rights and reviewed very positively in leading journals. The book also won the Woodward Medal (with a cash prize of 10,000 Australian dollars) in 2019 for making ‘a significant contribution to knowledge in a field of humanities and social sciences.’ He is currently on the advisory board of the United Nation’s Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner’s effort to draft ‘A Practical Guide to Developing Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Legislation’.