Law of Peace(making) and the Right to have Rights

S. M. Field

Working Paper (July, 2017), [Versions 1 and 2].

Abstract [Version 1]

International law’s affirmation of the right to have rights, as crystallised by Hannah Arendt, came into being through international peacemaking processes.  The law as developed affirms everyone’s international legal standing as subjects of human rights. There is concomitant international legal obligation on states to affirm the same and make those rights effective in and  through their law-based organising frameworks.  It is this deprivation that often undergirds the broader rights deprivation that typifies the emergent context for peacemaking. Claims to have rights, in particular, to belong to a political community that makes rights effective, continue to drive the legal and layered human rights transformation at the epicentre of peacemaking. These may be sourced in the plurality of legalities that regulate and constitute peacemaking, in particular, international law. The human rights transformation begins with the  process.The transformation is often partial, however. Or in other words, the self constituting process transforms and silences. This paper aims to probe the applicability and performativity of the right to take part in the sui generis lawmaking process as a particular expression of the right to have rights, and thereby support the process of deepening  its ‘radical progressive potential’ as imagined by Christine Bell.

Abstract [Version 2] 

International law’s affirmation of the right to have rights, as crystallised by Hannah Arendt, came into being through international peacemaking processes.  The law as developed affirms everyone’s international legal standing and agency as subjects of human rights. Claims to have rights, in particular, to belong to a political community that makes rights effective in and  through its law-based organising framework, continues to drive the legal and layered human rights transformation at the epicentre of peacemaking. The process transforms and silences, however. Women’s international legal standing and agency as subjects of human rights is often trebly negated: partially fulfilled, if at all; eclipsed by bodily and sexualised harm; and subject to pacification.  Is this justified from the perspective of the pursuance of peace?  Or is it revealing of broader subjugation?  This paper interrogates these two questions by probing the applicability and performativity of the right to have rights in the successive processes that constitute peacemaking more generally.