Faculty News Out of Africa
Professor Jennifer Moore takes a humanitarian look at conflict resolution in Uganda, Sierra Leone and Burundi in new book
the world’s most severe atrocities, including wars and genocides in Burundi, Congo, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, the Sudan and Uganda.
In her latest academic project, University of New Mexico School of Law Professor Jennifer Moore, a longtime scholar of refugee law and international law, explores how international law provides re- sources for conflict resolution in particular countries; she looks to specific African countries for illustration.
She presents her research in HUMANITARIAN LAW IN ACTION ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT, to be published in late 2011 by Oxford University Press.
“International law provides rules and mechanisms to alleviate poverty, end repression and resolve conflict in countries around the world,” she says. “Given that all 22 of the least-developed nations in the world are in Africa, and 16 African countries were at war around the turn of the 21st
Prior to joining the faculty of the University of New Mexico School of Law in 1995, Moore spent time in West Africa as an associate protection officer for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. She focused her early scholarship and fieldwork on refugee issues, co-authoring the first law school casebook on refugee law, REFUGEE LAW AND POLICY, the fourth edition of which was published in January 2011. She also spent time in Tanzania on a 2002-2003 Fulbright Scholarship, teaching international law at the University of Dar es Salaam. During her time in Tanzania,
rmed conflict is no stranger to African na- tions. During the past two decades, the continent has played host to a number of
she planned and facilitated human rights workshops for Burundian refugees residing in camps in Western Tanzania.
Her interest in refugee issues began when she was a student at Amherst College and continued after graduation when she worked for the Refugee Policy Group, a think tank on refugee issues. During law school at Harvard University, Moore spent a summer conducting field research on the protection of Salvadoran refugees in Honduras for Catholic Relief Services.
After working in the Burundian refugee camps in Tanzania in 2003, Moore was inspired by the idea that human rights education among refugees could be a means of internalizing international law principles within the very community impacted by the civil war, and might serve as a catalyst for peacemaking within Burundian society. It was this concept that germinated into her current manuscript.
Exploring Basic Concepts century,
Africa is a vital stage on which to test the content and value of these international rules and tools.”
The first part of her book sets forth and explores the basic concepts of international law and introduces and discusses four sub-fields of international law, which have particular rel- evance to armed conflict. They are: international humanitar- ian law, international human rights law, international refugee law and international criminal law. She provides an analysis of the relationship between national and international le- gal systems. This component of her book is directed not only at the legal community and academics, but for non-
lawyers, particularly humanitarian aid workers, as well.
In the second part of the book, Moore looks at various arenas in which international principles are applied in the real world to help alleviate or resolve armed conflicts. Specifically, that would be through the courts, military, media, markets and communities.
“I’m looking at how groups and organizations can be seen as mouthpieces and incubators for human rights,” she says. “I’ve also become in- terested in the role musical and other artistic groups play in sending out anti-war messages.”
When it comes to markets, Moore looks at how debt relief, international aid and development assistance serve as conflict resolution tools.
“Genocide and other crimes against humanity are extreme responses to pitched competition for scarce resources. Thus, to the extent that debt relief and aid result in shared socioeconomic de- velopment across communi- ties, some of the root causes of armed conflict may be al- leviated as employment, health care and educational oppor- tunities increase,” she says.
Uganda’s Independence Monu- ment in downtown
Kampala. The mother is bound, representing the colonized Uganda. She is holding up her
baby, unbound, and representing the independent Republic of Uganda, born in 1962.
As for communities, she fo- cuses on what happens on the ground in societies that are struggling to repair them- selves after the prolonged vi- olence and dislocation of armed conflict.
Professor Moore visits with a group of students from Makerere Uni- versity’s Faculty of Law in Kampala, Uganda, in March 2010. They
were studying for a Bankruptcy Law exam, and when she told them about UNM Law Professor Nathalie Martin’s expertise in the area, they asked if Moore might fly her in to tutor them.
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