Newsletter 2018/1
Newsletter 2018/1



Human Rights

Conditions in Myanmar not yet suitable for Rohingya refugees to return safely – UN agency (UN News, 23 January 2017)

The necessary safeguards for Rohingyas to return to Myanmar are absent, and there are ongoing restrictions on access for aid agencies, the media and other independent observers, the United Nations warned, two months after Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed on a plan for the refugees’ voluntary return to their homes. “To ensure the right of refugees to return voluntarily, and in safety and in dignity, we call again on Myanmar to allow the necessary unhindered humanitarian access in Rakhine State and create conditions for a genuine and lasting solution,” Adrian Edwards, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told the regular news briefing in Geneva. Access would allow for assessment of the actual conditions and the long-term viability of the returns, as well as help address the legitimate safety concerns for any refugees contemplating their return there, he emphasized.

Sri Lanka still using draconian anti-terror laws: HRW (CNA, 29 January 2018)

Sri Lanka's government is still using draconian anti-terror laws that give police sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects despite promising to abolish them, Human Rights Watch said Monday (Jan 29). The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) allows the detention of suspects for long periods without trial and was widely used during the decades-long civil war that ended in 2009. The government of President Maithripala Sirisena promised to abolish the act after it was elected in 2015, but has so far failed to do so.

International Criminal Law

International Criminal Court judges consider Afghanistan war crimes inquiry (BBC News, 2 February 2018)

Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) are deciding whether to authorise an official war crimes inquiry into events in Afghanistan.They are due to begin examining written submissions from victims in Afghanistan about whom and what any potential investigation should focus on. In 2017, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said there was a "reasonable basis to believe" war crimes had been committed. Possible perpetrators included the Taliban, CIA and Afghan forces.

International Economic Law

China publishes Arctic policy, eyeing vision of 'Polar Silk Road' (Xinhua, 26 January 2018)

China published a white paper on its Arctic policy, pledging cooperative governance and elaborating a vision of "Polar Silk Road." "China, as a responsible major country, is ready to cooperate with all relevant parties to seize the historic opportunity in the development of the Arctic, to address the challenges brought by the changes in the region," said the white paper issued by the State Council Information Office. The country would like to "jointly understand, protect, develop and participate in the governance of the Arctic, and advance Arctic-related cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative," according to the white paper. The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road (Belt and Road Initiative), an important cooperation initiative of China, will bring opportunities for parties concerned to jointly build a "Polar Silk Road," and facilitate connectivity and sustainable economic and social development of the Arctic, the white paper noted.

Korea to take US safeguard tariffs to WTO (Korea Times, 23 January 2018)

Korea will file a petition with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the U.S. government's decision to slap tariffs on Korean residential washing machines, and solar cells and modules, the trade minister said. Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, falling victim to the protectionist moves steered by U.S. President Donald Trump, are also protesting the decision, claiming it will lead to a "great loss" for American consumers. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that Trump has approved recommendations to impose safeguard tariffs on imports of large residential washing machines as well as solar cells and modules.

International Organisations 

ASEAN, India celebrate 25 years of relations (Straits Times, 26 January 2018)

India rolled out the red carpet for the 10 ASEAN leaders, as they gathered in New Delhi to mark 25 years of ASEAN-India relations. At a commemorative summit, the leaders renewed their commitment to enhance the multifaceted ties between the Southeast Asian grouping and its neighbouring South Asian giant. The summit was co-chaired by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, which chairs ASEAN this year, and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two expressed hopes for ASEAN and India to draw closer to each other. They also identified areas of mutual concern.


Call for Papers – Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL Singapore)

The National University of Singapore Faculty of Law is pleased to host the Conference on “Third World Approaches to International Law” (TWAIL Singapore) which will take place from Thursday, July 19 to Saturday, July 21, 2018 at the NUS Faculty of Law. The broad purposes of the Conference is to evaluate and assess the past, present and future of TWAIL, this as one of a series of TWAIL related events held in various parts of the world. As the first TWAIL Conference to be held in Asia, papers dealing with Asian issues and themes will be especially welcome. TWAIL Singapore will also further collaborations with TWAIL scholars from Africa, Latin America and the Pacific. For more details and information on how to participate are available 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.

Call for Submissions – Asian Journal of Comparative Law

The Asian Journal of Comparative Law (AsJCL) published by Cambridge University Press is the leading forum for research and discussion of the law and legal systems of Asia. It embraces work that is theoretical, empirical, socio-legal, doctrinal or comparative that relates to one or more Asian legal systems, as well as work that compares one or more Asian legal systems with non-Asian systems. The Journal seeks articles which display an intimate knowledge of Asian legal systems, and thus provide a window into the way they work in practice. The AsJCL is an initiative of the Asian Law Institute (ASLI), an association established by sixteen leading law schools in Asia and with a rapidly expanding membership base across Asia and in other regions around the world. The AsJCL would like to invite submissions for future issues. Articles should be submitted exclusively to the AsJCL, with publication subject to double-blind peer-review and editorial discretion. For details on the submission process and style requirements, as well as information on how to subscribe and free downloadable content, visit

Call for Submissions – Melbourne Journal of International Law

The Editors of the Melbourne Journal of International Law (‘MJIL’), Australia’s premier generalist international law journal, are now inviting submissions for volume 19(1). The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2018. MJIL is a peer-reviewed academic journal based at the University of Melbourne which publishes innovative scholarly research and critical examination of issues in international law. Submissions and inquiries should be directed to For more information please visit

New International and Comparative Law Quarterly Discounted Subscription Rate for AsianSIL Members

AsianSIL members can now benefit from a heavily discounted personal subscription to the International & Comparative Law Quarterly. To obtain an annual online and print subscription for £75/$98 AsianSIL members should email<> and request the Asian Society of International Law discount rate.

 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.