Author: Joanna Kyriakakis

  • Another chimpanzee personhood claim fails, but there’s hope yet

    By Joanna Kyriakakis Late last week, Judge Barbara Jaffe of the New York State Supreme Court declined to recognise the personhood of two chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo, for the purpose of a habeas corpus claim brought on their behalf. The chimpanzees are in the custody of Stony Brook University, where they are used for scientific research. […]

  • The 2015 Human Rights Report – The International Criminal Court’s Africa Problem

    By Joanna Kyriakakis This article is featured in the 2015 Castan Centre Human Rights Report. We will be featuring the articles on the blog throughout the month of May.  In 2014, Andrew Wilkie MP proposed that the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and his cabinet for crimes against asylum seekers. Similar calls were made […]

  • The Debate about having a debate about a business and human rights treaty

    By Joanna Kyriakakis The current debate about the desirability of renewing discussions on a UN Business and Human Rights treaty frustrates me a little. There. I said it. I am not referring to conversations about what the substance of any treaty might look like, which will in due course be necessary. Rather, it is opposition […]

  • Rights and the non-human animal

    By Joanna Kyriakakis In news that recently made the rounds on social media, an Argentine court reportedly held that an Orangutan named Sandra was a non-human person with the right to freedom from arbitrary detention. Media reports, examples of which can be found here and here, indicated the successful use of habeas corpus to have […]

  • 2014 Castan Human Rights Report: Corporations now less accountable

    By Joanna Kyriakakis The Bangladesh Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 was a stark reminder of the human costs of a poorly regulated global economy. A supplier of major retailers like Benetton, Walmart and Coles, the garment factory collapsed as a result of poor construction and little safety regulation. 1,129 people died, making it the worst […]

  • Too big to be sued? US Supreme Court further limits corporate human rights litigation

    By Joanna Kyriakakis In 2013, the major story on big business and human rights was the US Supreme Court’s decision in Kiobel. For decades, US federal courts have provided victims of corporate related human rights abuses a rare forum to have their complaints heard. These cases often relate to corporate activity in the developing world […]

  • Shell Has No Case to Answer on Nigeria

    Joanna Kyriakakis On Thursday last week, the United States Supreme Court delivered a judgment that rewrites the rules on international human rights litigations. In Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum the Court decided that an idiosyncratic US law dating from 1789, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), does not apply to events that occur in the territories […]

  • Torture Inc: how far do corporate interests stretch when human rights are at stake?

    By Joanna Kyriakakis Imagine the following hypothetical. An Iranian company secretly supplies poison gas to the current Syrian regime in order to kill tens of thousands of Kurdish citizens. And imagine that some of the victims of the resulting gas attacks escape and seek asylum in the United States. Imagine also that the Iranian company […]

  • Lessons from the Chamberlain case: the human cost of wrongful conviction

    By Joanna Kyriakakis The Azaria Chamberlain case is a reminder that the criminal justice system does get it wrong, with each error bearing its own human cost. Last week, the Northern Territory Coroner’s office concluded an inquest into the cause of death of baby Azaria Chamberlain near Uluru on the night of 17 August 1980. […]

  • Pirates Incorporated: The US Supreme Court to decide if corporations are liable under the Alien Tort Statute

    By Joanna Kyriakakis Last Tuesday the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum. The case is significant as it will determine whether the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) applies to corporations. Dating from 1789, the ATS is a unique and controversial US law that allows non-US citizens to […]

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