Newsletter 2017/1
Newsletter 2017/1

Current Issue

Newsletter 2017/1

Asia and International Law

Developments and news pertaining to Asia in various areas of IL 

Human RightsPersecuted Minority in Myanmar Is Escalating Its Armed Insurgency (NYT, 23 January 2017)

The beginning of an armed resistance is just one of several developments that are reshaping the conflict over Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya minority with potentially far-reaching consequences. The group that attacked the border posts, Harakah al-Yaqin, is believed to have several hundred recruits, substantial popular support and ties to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, according to a report by the International Crisis Group. Separately, there has been a surge of international humanitarian and political support for the Rohingya cause, mainly from Muslim countries that have cast the Rohingya as the Palestinians of Southeast Asia. The combination threatens to internationalize and escalate a long-simmering conflict. In addition, some analysts fear that turning the Rohingya into a transnational Muslim cause could draw foreign jihadists of varying stripes to Myanmar, adding terrorism to an already combustible mix and giving the Myanmar military a convenient excuse for a draconian response.

UN rights expert to assess potential abuses in northern Myanmar (UN News, 6 January 2017)

Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, will assess the human rights situation starting 9 January, following increasing concerns about civilians in Kachin State and the escalating violence in Rakhine State. The 12-day visit, at the invitation of the Government, will include meetings political and community leaders, civil society, as well as victims of human rights violations and members of the international community. Lee plans to visit Myitkyina, Hpakant and Laiza in Kachin State, where civilians are caught in fighting between the Myanmar army and an armed group.

International Economic Law‘Protectionist’ India resorts to other tools to bypass WTO bilateral rules (Financial Express, 12 January 2017)

With little flexibility under the World Trade Organization (WTO) and bilateral trade agreements to raise tariffs, India is increasingly resorting to other tools — anti-dumping duties, safeguard levies and minimum import prices (MIPs) — to provide the requisite protection to domestic industries from inexpensive imports and meet contingencies like a sudden influx in imports. Data reviewed by FE show that incidence of anti-dumping actions more than doubled in the four years to 2016 — as many as 75 products came under anti-dumping levies in 2016 against 37 in 2013.

Trade experts say this is not a development to be decried as these measures are legitimate and mostly WTO-compliant. While India’s MIPs on steel products have recently come under attack from countries like Japan for being protectionist and against WTO rules, New Delhi is seeking to address Tokyo’s concerns by citing the fact that the number of items under MIPs has already been cut down to just 19 from 176 earlier. However, anti-dumping duties are much easier to defend multilaterally.

International OrganizationsASEAN's Golden Opportunity (Bangkok Post, 23 January 2017)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is celebrating 50 years of existence in 2017, with the Philippines holding the chairmanship of the 10-member bloc. The golden anniversary presents a golden opportunity for ASEAN leaders to show how important regionalism can be at a time when people all over the world are questioning the value of free trade and globalization. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Jan 15 highlighted the six priorities his country would pursue during its one-year Asean chairmanship: placing people at the core, working for regional peace and stability, pursuing maritime security and cooperation, advancing inclusive, innovation-led growth; strengthening ASEAN resiliency, and promoting ASEAN as a model of regionalism and a global player.

Law of the SeaThe Philippines to fast-track talks on South China Sea code of conduct in ASEAN 2017 (Manila Bulletin, 11 January 2017)

THE Philippine government will fast-track discussions on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the possible completion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) during the its chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year. What the government will refrain from doing during its ASEAN chairmanship is raising the July 2016 award issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the South China Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said in a news briefing. According to Yasay, discussions on the DOC are ongoing on the ministerial level which is precisely why the Philippines is hopeful the regional grouping will be able to come up with a COC by mid-2017.

AsianSIL Announcements and Events

In Memoriam – H.E. Judge C.G. Weeramantry

Judge Christopher Weeramantry passed away on the 5th of January. Judge Weeramantry was a jurist of striking range, depth, independence and erudition. His famous judgments in Nuclear Weapons and Gabcikovo now appear to be more important than ever. They are also significant for incorporating Asian legal and cultural traditions into the jurisprudence of the ICJ. The ideal of peace was the animating feature not only of his life’s work, but his everyday dealings with people. He was a man of immense kindness and gentility, and was loved and admired by all who knew him.  His death is a great loss to Sri Lanka and the world, but his writings, as scholar and judge, will continue to inspire generations to come who hope that international law can bring about a more just world.


Surya P. Subedi O.B.E., Chair of the Asian Journal of International Law Editorial Board, has been appointed by Her Majesty the Queen of the UK as an Honorary Queen’s Counsel (QC) in recognition of his contribution to the development of international law and to the advancement of human rights. See here for more.

Joint Symposium of EJIL:Talk! And Opinio Juris on “Asia’s Ambivalence About International Law & Institutions: Past, Present, and Futures”
by Simon Chesterman (EJIL, forthcoming).

The symposium features contributions by Eyal Benvenisti, Tony Anghie, Robert McCorquodale, Judge Jin-Hyun Paik, and Judge Xue Hanqin. The article in draft form can be accessed here. Please click here (EJIL:Talkl!) and here (Opinio Juris) for the discussions.

Call for Papers – 6th AsianSIL Biennial Conference
Seoul, Korea
25-26 August 2017

The 6th Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law will be in Seoul, Friday 25 to Saturday 26 August 2017. The conference will be hosted by the Korean Chapter of the Asian Society of International Law, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea. The theme of the conference is “Asia and International Law in Times of Uncertainty”. The biennial conference will be preceded by a half-day workshop for junior scholars on Thursday, 24 August. Registration will open in late January 2017.

Call for Papers – ESIL Annual Conference
Naples, 7-9 September 2017
Deadline for submission of abstracts: 31 January 2017

The 13th Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law will take place in Naples, Italy, on 7-9 September 2017. The conference will be hosted by the University of Naples Federico II, the oldest public university in the world. The theme of the conference is ''Global Public Goods, Global Commons and Fundamental Values: The Responses of International Law''. The Call for Papers is now open. Further information is available on ESIL website.

Call for Papers – 2017 Annual Conference on WTO Law
Graduate Institute Geneva
9 & 10 June 2017

The Graduate Institute’s Centre for Trade and Economic Integration and Georgetown University’s Institute of International Economic Law are proud to present a call for papers for 2017 Conference on WTO Law. Widely considered one of the most important and prestigious conferences addressing developments in international trade law, the Annual Conference on WTO Law pursues cutting-edge issues of interest to academics and practitioners alike. The call for papers is aimed at opening opportunities to younger scholars and attracting cutting-edge papers and ideas by any scholars or practitioners. For more details, please click here.

United Nations Research Awards – Research Papers Contest on “Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security: Building Bridges between Durable Agricultural Practices and School Feeding Programmes”
Deadline for submission: Mid-March 2017

The United Nations World Food Programme Centre of Excellence against Hunger has recently launched a research awards for graduate students, professors, and researchers on public policies and human rights, international law, and international development. The prizes are: the three best works will be awarded with one fully-funded study trip with WFP to a Latin American or an African country in 2017 and with the scientific publication of selected manuscripts in the Brazilian Journal of International Law, a leading journal in South America. This call is extended to more Law and Human Rights researchers as one of the main focus is on the Human Right to Adequate Food. For more info:

Frankfurt Investment Law Workshop 2017: Oceans and Space: New Frontiers in Investment Protection?
10-11 March 2017

For many years, Frankfurt Investment Law Workshop has been a forum for the discussion of foundational issues of international investment law. With activities ranging from energy production at sea, via deep seabed mining, to space mining, spacefaring and space tourism, areas beyond territorial sovereignty are increasingly commercialized and attract foreign investment. This raises so far little explored questions at the heart of investment law. The workshop will offer a systematic analysis of these issues by inquiring into traditional sources of investment protection, such as investment treaties, contractual arrangements, and domestic laws, and by addressing the interaction of the law of the sea, space law and international investment law. The Workshop will bring together academics and practitioners and provide them with a forum for open and frank exchanges. For program information and contact person, please click here.

Gaetano Morelli Lectures, 4th Edition: "Rethinking the Doctrine of Customary International Law"
26 and 27 May 2017

The fourth edition of the Gaetano Morelli Lectures will focus on the process of formation and identification of customary international law. It aims at inviting the participants to embark on a journey touching upon diverse conceptions, doctrines and practices, in search of the foundational bases of the international legal experience. Please find attached a brief presentation of the event, together with the detailed program of the 4th Edition. For any further information, please click here.

International Institute of Humanitarian Law – Refugee Law Courses 2017

International Institute of Humanitarian Law, in Sanremo, Italy will be organising the Refugee Law Courses in 2017. These courses, the contents and methodology of which are regularly updated, are now available in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic. The International Refugee Law Courses have been developed primarily to train government officials who are involved in the formulation and application of law and policy for the benefit of refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons and other persons in need of protection.  Registration is now open and for details on the courses, please click here.

International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators (ICMA XX) 2017
Copenhagen, Denmark
September 25-29, 2017

An important event in every maritime and commercial arbitrator's calendar, the International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators (ICMA) is a forum for maritime arbitrators, lawyers and for the shipping industry from around the world in which to deliberate on and exchange views and news of professional interest. It is a series of conferences which are held every 2 or 3 years in the spirit of a joint effort to promote maritime arbitration all over the world. For more information, please click here.

Call for Submissions – Asian Journal of International Law

The Society’s Journal is soliciting submissions for future issues. Articles should be between 8,000 and 12,000 words (excluding footnotes) and be submitted exclusively to the AsianJIL, with publication subject to double-blind peer-review and editorial discretion. For details on style and the submission process, as well as information on how to subscribe, visit For enquiries, please email Many articles are available FREE for download at We encourage readers to make full use of this opportunity to access the latest international law scholarship. Please also visit our Facebook page and recommend AsianJIL to your friends and colleagues.

NUS Centre for International Law (CIL) ASEAN Documents Database

The ASEAN Documents Database is a free, user-friendly, internet resource of selected ASEAN and International Law Documents. About than 600 selected ASEAN documents and 260 International Law documents are now included in the database. Please click here to access the database.