IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

Racial violence and COVID-19

A brief reflection on the coloniality of power in pandemic times

Since COVID-19 emerged, Western discourse vivifies the exclusion and objectification of racial groups regarding both a responsible subject and potential solutions to the pandemic. These solutions articulate political interests instead of addressing the common interests and needs of the entire international population. Western discourse during the pandemic particularly affects the African continent and phenotypically Asian people. It is expression of the still prevailing coloniality of the international structure of power …


Book ReviewFeminist Engagement with International LawSymposium

Whose womanhood? Feminist postcolonial approaches to law

In July 2019, shortly before her election as the first ever female president of the European Commission, German centre-right minister of defence Ursula von der Leyen introduced the Hashtag #EuropeIsAWoman. Who did she mean by this invocation of womanhood? After all, during her preceding posts as family and as employment minister, her policies of gender equality – for example, women quotas in advisory boards of stock-listed corporations and amendments regarding …


Colonial railway tracks near Aus in southern Namibia ECCHR
Colonial Repercussions in Germany and NamibiaSymposium

Racist repercussions and transgenerational exclusion

Legal means to deal with Germany’s colonial legacy

The German and Namibian governments seem to be about to finalize their negotiations on (the costs of) reconciliation. Several civil society actors and Ovaherero and Nama representatives criticize the procedure and want to be included in the negotiations – inter alia in a US lawsuit against Germany. The German government, however, denies that a genocide (in legal terms) occurred, referring to the principle of intertemporality in international law. What legal …


Book Review

Hard times for voices from the Global South

Decolonization and the validity of existing treaties

For a long time, international legal scholars did not devote much attention to protagonists from the Global South as relevant actors in the field. The focus of the discipline – at least in continental Europe – was on contributing to the systematization of the international legal order. The few studies on particular national or regional approaches to international law largely focused on the perspectives of the Soviet and US American …



‘Understanding our colonial past is a prerequisite to understanding the current migration situation’

An interview with Wolfgang Kaleck

Wolfgang Kaleck is the founder and General Secretary of the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a legal human rights organisation based in Berlin, Germany, dedicated to hold torturers and war criminals as well as transnational corporations accountable. In his latest book, ‘Law versus Power: Our global fight for human rights’, he underscores the notion that standards of human rights can prevail when people are willing to struggle …



The Gods and Demons of the Preah Vihear Temple

The Churning I finally visited the Temple of Preah Vihear on 22 December 2018. Strikingly, the makers of the ancient temples of Cambodia appear infatuated with a particular Indian mythic leitmotif, the churning of the milk ocean. In order to churn the milk-ocean, Vishnu, a Hindu god, turns into a turtle to allow the planting of the Mount Mandhar, the churner, on his shell. Next, Vasuki, the serpent, is wrapped …


South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Are We Living in the “Eastphalian” Moment?

South and East Asian Perspectives on International Law

Diverging views and perspectives on international law are unavoidable. The global span of this body of law and the different geographical, cultural, religious and educational backgrounds of those who work with it contribute importantly to the understanding of its normative frameworks. Multiperspectivism and situatedness thus somewhat seem to be inherent to the DNA of international law (see e.g. here; see also this recent book). The fact that scholars from different countries and continents …


Call for ContributionsCultural Heritage in a Post-Colonial WorldSymposium

CfP: Cultural Heritage in a Post-colonial World – New Framings of a Global Legal Problem

The Voelkerrechtsblog is happy to announce an interdisciplinary online symposium on “Cultural Heritage in a Post-colonial World – New Framings of a Global Legal Problem”. Cultural and anthropological objects from colonized or de-facto colonized territories have arrived in Europe in great amounts since the 18th century. Many European metropoles established large collections of those artefacts and human remains to display this shared “heritage” to their people – all projects closely …


Critical Race Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Learning from Anthropology

Realizing a Critical Race Approach to (International) Law

Despite anthropology’s troublesome contribution to the colonial project, the discipline as it is today has much to offer to critical race theory (CRT) and postcolonial approaches to international law. Already in the 1930s, Franz Boas and his students began to challenge the Eurocentrism, modernism and colonialism of anthropology. They developed a critique of cultural evolutionism, according to which culture was understood as evolving towards the “Western ideal”. Instead, they acknowledged …



Who may see the Acropolis? Global patterns of inequality and the right to tourism

In her contribution on the newly created right to tourism, Sabrina Tremblay-Huet convincingly states, that the social and economic phenomenon of tourism has been widely disregarded by the social sciences, law and philosophy due to the focus of the academia on migration. However, there are many reasons to highlight the growing relevance of tourism in world society: First, the tourist sector generates by now 10 percent of the world’s GDP. …