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From International to Transnational Human Rights Lawmaking? The Development of the UN Human Rights Treaty Body System

This postdoctoral project focuses on the United Nations (UN) human rights treaty bodies and is interested in whether their interpretations of human rights norms changed from international towards more transnational forms of lawmaking. Lawmaking is understood as a complex process of decision-making which may be accessed by other actors than those formally acknowledged as lawmakers.

The project starts from the observation that civil society actors and treaty body members form coalitions for international human rights lawmaking. These transnational lawmaking coalitions were not intended by states when the latter delegated the monitoring and interpretation of human rights law to expert committees. Accordingly, states parties have recently called for reforms of the working methods in the treaty bodies. This observation raises broader questions on the nature and possible change of global governance. Is lawmaking in international organizations, a process traditionally protected by state sovereignty, opening up towards transnational actors? Does that mean that international human rights law developed into transnational law, and under which conditions and guided by which motifs do independent experts and civil society actors join forces to set legal standards? And how do these institutions react when they are confronted with critique of their procedures?