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Apply now: 7 positions in new research project on accountability for human rights

Apply now: 7 positions in new research project on accountability for human rights

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We are hiring 7 researchers at PhD and postdoctorate level for a research project on human rights accountability.

The researchers will be based at different Flemish universities (Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp, Hasselt) and will work on different but related topics.

They collaborate on a project that examines how better accountability for human rights violations can be achieved. The aim is to ensure better human rights protection in line with the everyday experience of rights holders.

This is an interdisciplinary project. We are looking for candidates with a background in law, criminology, sociology, political science, anthropology or related disciplines.

You can read more about the project on this page, in this summary or in this detailed document. You can also contact us for further information.

The details of the positions are listed below.


PhD position at Hasselt University – Process-based human rights review

This position involves doctoral research on the relationship between process-based review and substantive accountability for human rights violations in European human rights law. The research will focus on the ‘procedural turn’ in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, which has been both praised and critiqued by legal scholars. The selected candidate will combine doctrinal legal research with complementary methods to evaluate the potential and limits of process-based human rights review by the ECtHR (see WP1.1. in the project description).

The ideal candidate has a background in law and proven knowledge of European human rights law.  

Applications must be received by March 21, 2021 at 23:59 CET.

The research will be supervised by prof. dr. Stijn Smet (Hasselt University), with collaboration of prof. dr. Paul De Hert (Free University Brussels). 

Key words: ECtHR, process-based review, substantive human rights review.


PhD position or postdoc at Hasselt University – ESC rights in pandemics

The COVID-19 crisis dramatically reminds us of the difficulty of protecting human rights during emergencies. Future legal analyses of human rights and COVID-19 will be rife, but can also be expected to focus on civil and political rights, rather than economic, social and cultural rights (ESC rights). The reality, however, is that the socio-economically disadvantaged have been disproportionally affected by the crisis, including through loss of jobs or income, reduced education, and/or being forced to work in high-risk ‘essential’ jobs such as cleaning, supermarkets and delivery services. The selected candidate (PhD candidate or postdoctoral researcher) will analyse how the right to health should be balanced against other ESC rights so as to ensure maximal accountability for ESC rights during health crises (see WP1.2. in the project description).

The ideal candidate has a background in law and proven knowledge of ESC rights. 

The position will be filled at either doctoral or post-doctorate level, as appropriate in view of the CV and experience of the selected candidate.

The research will be supervised by prof. dr. Stijn Smet (Hasselt University), in collaboration with prof. dr. Wouter Vandenhole (University of Antwerp). 

Applications must be received by March 21, 2021 at 23:59 CET.

Key words: right to health, international human rights law, ESCR in pandemics.


Postdoctoral position at Antwerp University – New duty-bearers

We are seeking to fill one full-time 48-months fully-funded postdoc fellowship.

You will help coordinate project proposals in the field of human rights and contribute to attracting external funding, will fulfill a limited number of teaching activities, and will participate in the provision of academic services.

You will primarily be based at the Law and Development Research Group of the Faculty of Law of the University of Antwerp. We are looking for mature candidates who are able to work in an interdisciplinary environment, ideally with experience of doing research on the topic of human rights accountability/new duty- bearers in human rights law (for more information, see WP2.1. in the project description).

This position is supervised by prof. dr. Wouter Vandenhole.

Applications must be received by April 11, 2021 at 23:59 CET.


PhD or postdoc position at Ghent University: New duty-bearers

The postholder will develop a praxis-based proposal for a new duty-bearer concept. They will examine the empirical relevance of theoretical proposals regarding new duty-bearer concepts. To do this, they work in close collaboration with the postdoctoral legal expert in the team. The aim is to better capture how the most disenfranchised and underprivileged understand the duty-bearer notion, and the notion of accountability more broadly, and to develop a thick kind of legal and non-legal accountability relevant to them (see WP2.2. in the project description).

The ideal candidate has a background in social sciences with good knowledge of recent development in human rights law, specifically regarding new duty–bearers.

The position will be filled at either doctoral or post-doctorate level, as appropriate in view of the CV and experience of the selected candidate.

This position is supervised by prof. dr. Tine Destrooper, with the collaboration of prof. dr. Wouter Vandenhole.

Applications must be received by March 14, 2021 at 23:59 CET.

Keywords: socio-legal studies, new duty-bearers, contextualization


PhD or postdoc position at Ghent University: legal consciousness

The Human Rights Centre at Ghent University is seeking to fill one full-time research position as part of the iBOF project “Future-proofing human rights. Developing thicker forms of accountability”.

The postholder will investigate the disappearance from legal consciousness of human rights violations, due to lack or neglect of evidence, by reference to a body of case law emanating from the European Court of Human Rights and related, for example, to racial discrimination (see WP3.2. in the project description).

The position will be filled at either doctoral or post-doctorate level, as appropriate in view of the CV and experience of the selected candidate.

This position is supervised by prof. dr. Marie Bénédicte Dembour, with the collaboration of prof. dr. Stijn Smet.

Applications must be received by April 11, 2021 at 23:59 CET.

Keywords: ECtHR, evidence, legal consciousness, racial discrimination


PhD position at Brussels University – Human rights and privacy

We are seeking to fill one full-time research position as part of the iBOF project “Future-proofing human rights. Developing thicker forms of accountability”.

The postholder will become a member of the Fundamental Rights Centre at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and will collaborate with colleagues at other Flemish Universities (mostly remotely).  For more information see WP3.3 in the project description.

This position is supervised by prof. dr. Paul De Hert.

Applications must be received by April 11, 2021 at 23:59 CET.


PhD position at Brussels University – Surveillance studies

We are seeking to fill one full-time research position as part of the iBOF project “Future-proofing human rights. Developing thicker forms of accountability”.

The postholder will become a member of the Fundamental Rights Centre and the Crime and Society Research Group at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and will collaborate with colleagues at other Flemish Universities (mostly remotely). In addition, there will be the opportunity to get involved in the activities of the Chair in Surveillance Studies.

The postholder will investigate how corporate actors are influencing accountability mechanisms of law enforcement in Belgium to deal with surveillance wrongs. The postholder needs to be fluent in Dutch and English. For more information see WP3.3 in the project description.

This position is supervised by dr. Rosamunde Van Brakel.

Applications must be received by March 31, 2021 at 23:59 CET.

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