Call for Abstracts Human Rights and Vulnerability: Conceptualization, Contestation and Resilience Utrecht University 5 April 2017

As part of the FRAME project (Fostering Human Rights among European Policies) the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) organizes an academic workshop on Human Rights and Vulnerability: Conceptualization, Contestation and Resilience on 5 April 2017. This workshop aims to bring together an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars working on the intersections of human rights and the notion of vulnerability.

In recent years, vulnerability has emerged as a concept in human rights law. The concept has been used to elaborate states’ obligations towards people who are particularly at risk of suffering human rights violations. At the same time, human rights law and institutions are vulnerable themselves. Populist movements foster a backlash against human rights. In the face of this backlash, can an emphasis on the idea of universal human vulnerability strengthen human rights? Does the concept of vulnerability hold potential to make human rights live up to its universalist aspirations?

The organizers are looking for abstracts on the links between human rights and vulnerability. Abstracts could for instance address:

  • the usefulness of the notion of vulnerability for human rights struggles today;
  • the increasing vulnerability of human rights organizations;
  • the conceptualization of vulnerability in human rights law;
  • the human rights of specific ‘vulnerable’, disadvantaged or marginalized groups;
  • the notion of resilience in human rights movements and/or human rights law;
  • the ways in which different human rights organizations – such as UN treaty bodies or regional organizations – attempt to provide resilience in the face of human vulnerability;
  • different political and/or philosophical understandings of vulnerability;
  • vulnerability in relation to specific rights such as the right to health;
  • the distinctions between vulnerability and related notions such as human dignity, intersectionality, solidarity and resilience.

Abstracts should be no longer than 400 words, including title of the presentation, author’s name, affiliations and email address. PhD candidates and other early career researchers are particularly encouraged to apply. Please send your abstract by 6 March 2017 to

Authors of the selected abstracts will be required to prepare a 20 minutes’ presentation. We plan to invite approximately 10 speakers and leave plenty of time for discussion.

During the workshop we will discuss the possibilities of publishing the results of the workshop in an edited volume or a special journal issue.

Speakers and participants are required to cover their own travel expenses.


Dr. Dolores Morondo Taramundi (University of Deusto)
Dr. Lorena Sosa (Utrecht University)
Dr. Alexandra Timmer (Utrecht University)

Location workshop: Achter Sint Pieter 200, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Date and time workshop: 10:00 – 17:00, 5 April 2017

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