International Human Rights & Law

 

INTERNAL STUDENTS ONLY    NAME:………………………………………….

 

                                                STUDENT NUMBER:………………………….

THIS PAPER IS A TAKE HOME EXAM

 

 

RMIT UNIVERSITY, CITY CAMPUS

 

 

 

POLI 1068/1080: International Human Rights & Law

 

Course Co-ordinator: Dr. Binoy Kampmark

 

 

Date of issue: 1 June 2022

Return-date: 8 June 2022

 

 

THIS EXAM CONSISTS OF TWO SECTIONS

 

 

 

Answer only 5 of the 6 questions in Section A.  The scenario question in Section B must be answered.  These amount to 40 marks, or 40% of the total grade.

 

Sources, when used in justifying your answers, should be cited in full.  A rough maximum estimate of the number of words is suggested for the answer to each question.  Marks will be deducted for poor expression and spelling, lack of relevance and lack of authorities.  This paper is to be returned by June 8 via email by 23:59hrs to me at [email protected] for those in Dr. Russell Solomon’s tutorials.  Those in Dr. McPhee’s tutorials should submit their answers to [email protected]. Two marks will be deducted per day for lateness.

Answers will be retained by the markers as per policy, but students may request a breakdown of their result.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECTION A

 

(1) “[S]lavery is like all other human activities: it takes many forms in different contexts.” Discuss this statement, citing case studies and examples, with reference to international human rights law.

 

(4 marks) Maximum word length: 200

 

 

(2) Australia’s approach to refugees and asylum seekers in the context of international human rights law has been problematic.  Why would that be the case?  Cite relevant examples in your answer.

 

(4 marks) Maximum word length: 200

 

 

(3) “While ‘apartheid’ can have a broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa.  It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.”  Do you agree with this statement?  In your answer, you should also reflect on other systems of racial segregation.

 

(4 marks) Maximum world length: 200

 

(4) “Genocide brings to mind Hitler and the Jews, not Australia and Aborigines.”  Reflect upon this statement and consider why using the term “genocide” in Australia has been contentious.  In your answer, you should discuss relevant conventions and case law.

 

(4 marks) Maximum world length: 200

 

 

(5) It has been said that “there are no humanitarian solutions to humanitarian problems.”  Does this statement have any validity?  In your answer, you should reflect on the views of relevant critics and cite relevant case studies.

 

(4 marks) Maximum world length: 200

 

(6) “No claim of culture can be permitted to defend the torture of children, a crime against humanity when permitted on any scale.  ‘Culture’ offers no escape clause for barbarism.”  Critically discuss this statement, reflecting on international human rights law and the challenge of cultural relativism, citing relevant authorities.

 

(4 marks) Maximum world length: 200

 

Total Marks: 20

 

 

 

 

SECTION B

 

 

  1. The Pacific state of Mambamba, located some 400 miles from New Zealand, is presided over by President Frank Fembo. Mambamba is a multi-ethnic state that has been under Fembo’s control for 12 years.  He now fears he is losing appeal and support among the local populace, including various ethnic minorities.  Editorials in newspapers are critical claiming, “He does not have what it takes.”

 

In a dramatic decision, Fembo declares martial law, suspends the Mambamba constitution, and jails political opponents. Some of them belong to the Ruperian clan, a minority racial group within the state.  He issues instructions to the prison guards to use “extensive interrogation techniques”, including the possibility of waterboarding.  “I want to have advance notice of any potential attacks in the country.”

 

President Fembo also begins a program of relocating members of the Ruperian clan to designated zones in the country, claiming on radio, social media and television that such “vermin will eventually die off”.  He makes it mandatory for all Ruperians to carry paper identification and imposes strict curfews and limits on their movement.

 

He also insists that the first child of each family of the Ruperian clan serve in the Mambamba military to put down any possible internal conflict in the country. “I am sure the UN will have no problems with me using children against my enemies.  It is a tradition observed for centuries in my country, and children love fighting.”

 

In any case, he feels that, as President, he is immune from prosecution under international law.  He is also convinced that the UN, or any state for that matter, will have no interest in intervening in the affairs of Mambamba, being sick of the “fraud” of humanitarian intervention. “Sovereignty,” he has often said in speeches to the UN, “is respected by the UN Charter.”

 

The UN Secretary General, Trodden Testament, is particularly concerned about human rights violations in Mambamba. He is wondering about possible avenues he might use to halt President Fembo’s actions and hold him to account.

 

Discuss what Trodden Testament might do with reference to principles of international human rights law, and any human rights violations that have and are taking place in Mambamba.

 

 

In answering this question, students should consider how the relevant actions in the scenario are defined in international law, what necessary limitations arise, and consider the international response, where relevant.  Cite authorities (international conventions, literature, cases) where relevant. (20 Marks)

Maximum word length: 1000

 

Total Marks: 20