Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Call for Papers: Hybrid Warfare and Minority Rights

The Centre for International Law and Human Rights at the University of Lancaster has issued a call for papers for a conference on "Hybrid Warfare and Minority Rights." Here's the call:

Call for Papers

Conference on Hybrid Warfare and Minority Rights

Centre for International Law and Human Rights

University of Lancaster, 26 June 2015

The current conflict in Ukraine has raised the challenge of hybrid warfare in European security. This is a method of combat which combines conventional forces to occupy territory with unconventional means – cyber attacks, mobilisation of irregular forces by intelligence agencies, propaganda of war, and acts of sabotage – conducted through disinformation and deniability. Ethnic minorities have provided the focus for this military doctrine. Their rights and self-determination have provided the pretext, cover and justification for intervention and occupation of state territory. Moreover, the initial stages of these conflicts are intended to blend in with familiar forms of protest that might be seen in disaffected minorities – marches, demonstrations and occupation of public buildings. This thin and blurred line creates the possibility for rapid escalation, either intentionally or unintentionally, posing serious security issues, especially in the Baltic region. It also raises key questions for international law in terms of minority and human rights and threshold for the use of force.

This event will investigate the relationship between hybrid warfare and minority rights from three international law and human rights perspectives:

1. Protection of Minority Rights and Hybrid Warfare

The use of minority rights as a pretext for intervention can be destructive of the rights in question. In the interwar period the use of minority rights by neighbouring kin states was a major factor in the collapse of the minority treaties regimes in the 1930s. In contemporary human rights law, national security can be a legitimate ground for restricting rights. Specific rights of minorities affected by hybrid warfare include cultural rights, assembly and association, expression and economic and social rights.

2. Freedom of Expression in the Media and Cyberspace

Integral elements of hybrid warfare are the use of propaganda, internet trolling and cyberwarfare. This raises questions of freedom of expression in relation to national security, respect for rights of others, ethnic non-discrimination and war propaganda.

3. Hybrid Warfare and the Threshold for Armed Attack and State Responsibility

Cyberwarfare, incursions of unidentified armed groups and activities of intelligence agencies are intended to blur the threshold for an “armed attack” for the purposes of self-defence. They also challenge the concept of “control” in the attribution of state responsibility for the actions of non-state actors.

We welcome abstracts for papers of no more than one page from both established researchers and early career academics. Please send your proposals to Dr. James Summers The deadline for abstracts is 1 May 2015.