Towards a New Human Right to Protect the Freedom to Exist Without Physical or Psychological Threat from Above.
21 September 2018
10am – 4:30pm
Doughty Street Chambers
54 Doughty Street
Free, booking essential, spaces very limited
Over the last century, humans have radically transformed airspace: chemically, territorially, militarily and psychologically. Technological developments mean that this transformation is accelerating and growing in complexity. There is widening disparity in the global landscape of power, with civilians increasingly subject to expanding commercial and military exploitation of technology in airspace and outer space and to the consequences of environmental change. The associated threats are not adequately addressed by the contemporary legal framework. There is an urgent need for new thinking.
The Airspace Tribunal invites representations from experts across a broad range of disciplines and lived experience, such as human rights, contemporary warfare, new media ecologies, environmental change, neuropsychology, conflict and forced migration, to discuss the challenges and consider the case for and against the recognition of a new human right to protect the freedom to exist without physical or psychological threat from above.
- Kevin Bales CMG, leading authority on contemporary slavery and on the relationship between slavery, globalisation and environmental destruction;
- Martin A. Conway – cognitive neuropsychologist and expert on human memory and the law;
- Conor Gearty – professor of human rights law who has published extensively on terrorism, civil liberties and human rights;
- Nick Grief – member of the legal team that represented the Marshall Islands and took the UK, India and Pakistan to the International Court of Justice for violating their nuclear disarmament obligations;
- Andrew Hoskins – media sociologist known for his work on media, memory and conflict;
- Shona Illingworth – artist whose video and sound installations investigate memory, cultural erasure and structures of power in situations of social tension and conflict;
- Melanie Klinkner – transitional justice scholar majoring in international criminal justice with a background in philosophy, anthropology and biology;
- Anson Mackay, environmental geographer and expert on human and climatic impacts on some of the world’s most iconic freshwater ecosystems;
- William Merrin, a specialist in digital media and author of ‘Digital War’;
- Zrinka Bralo, CEO of Migrants Organise, national organisation providing a platform where refugees and migrants organise for power, dignity and justice.
Conceived and developed by Nick Grief and Shona Illingworth, the Airspace Tribunal’s judges will include members of the public, challenging the traditional state-centric view of how international law is created. The hearings will be recorded and transcribed to document the drafting history of this proposed new human right.
The Airspace Tribunal is part of Topologies of Air, a major new artwork by Shona Illingworth, commissioned by The Wapping Project, that will be exhibited at The Power Plant, Toronto, in 2020.
The London hearing of the Airspace Tribunal is supported by the University of Kent, The Wapping Project and Doughty Street Chambers.
See Nick Grief, Shona Illingworth, Andrew Hoskins and Martin A. Conway, Opinion, ‘The Airspace Tribunal: Towards a New Human Right to Protect the Freedom to Exist Without Physical or Psychological Threat from Above’  European Human Rights Law Review, Issue 3, pp 201.