Doctoral Research Forum Blog Series: Part V

Closing the gap on the torture trade

by Joëlle A. Trampert

2D Structure of Sodium thiopental, a pharmaceutical chemical employed in lethal injection execution. Source: Pubchem, National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information (


The prohibition of torture is codified in Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the regional human rights treaties. It has also been accepted as an international human rights norm of ius cogens. The Convention Against Torture (‘CAT’) obliges the 171 States party to the treaty to prevent and punish torture, and refrain from expelling, refouling or extraditing a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture. But as Ambassador Skoog, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, remarked in his introductory speech for the Alliance for Torture-Free Trade online event last December, ‘there is no rule at the international level to regulate the trade in goods used for torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (…).’ More...

Doctoral Research Forum Blog Series: Introduction

Doctoral Research Forum Blog Series: Introduction

by Stephanie Triefus

Source: Shutterstock
In February 2021, eighteen PhD researchers based around the Netherlands gathered online to share their research. Despite the inevitable ‘Zoom fatigue’ faced by all after nearly 12 months of pandemic living, these diligent researchers dedicated a colossal two full days of screen time to supporting their colleagues, listening intently to one another’s presentations and asking insightful questions. They were joined by several senior members of the Network, who provided their wise reflections on the topics discussed while gently and genially pushing the participants onwards in their research journeys. Participants reported that the Forum provided ‘useful feedback, a safe environment and inspiration’ in an otherwise isolating time. This blog series details the research of some of these participants, and covers a wide range of current topics related to human rights.