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Law Student Receives Human Rights Award

14 December 2010

A University of Ulster law student, who recently received a human rights award for her thesis into whether or not transitional justice mechanisms should address socioeconomic issues, graduates today.

Katrina Killen who graduated with an LLM in Human Rights Law and Transitional Justice

Katrina Killen from Castlerock, County Derry, a student on the LLM in Human Rights Law and Transitional Justice programme at the Jordanstown campus, has been awarded the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Prize for the best dissertation submitted in 2010.  

Entitled‘Transitional Justice and the Marginalisation of Socioeconomic Issues’, Katrina’s dissertation considers whether transitional justice is an effective mechanism for addressing socioeconomic rights abuses.  

She said: “In this dissertation it was noted that a dichotomy exists between civil and political rights and socioeconomic issues whereby the latter are often marginalised within the field of transitional justice. This occlusion of socioeconomic issues has the potential to lead to the recurrence of violence. It is now apparent that socioeconomic rights violations must be addressed in some form or another otherwise they will become lost in obscurity.” 

“I feel very privileged to have received this award and am thankful to all the staff at University of Ulster for their expertise and encouragement. In particular, I am grateful to my supervisor Dr Louise Mallinder, whose encouragement, supervision and support from the preliminary to the concluding level enabled me to develop an in depth understanding of the subject area.” 

Katrina is currently working as a graduate trainee manager for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive where she will also be undertaking further study. 

Dr Louise Mallinder, lecturer in Human Rights and International Law at the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) congratulated Katrina on her achievement.  She said: “In her dissertation, Katrina makes a cogent and persuasive argument that transitional justice mechanisms should encompass measures to tackle structural injustices. This is an important and complex area of study due to the impact that socio-economic rights violations can have on both the outbreak and maintenance of violent conflict.  

“As Katrina’s supervisor, I know that she worked hard on this thesis and I am truly delighted for her that she achieved such a great result. The award of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission prize is both fitting and richly deserved. Well done Katrina!” 

Monica McWilliams, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission said: “The Transitional Justice Institute plays a key role in developing human rights as the work of Katrina Killen clearly demonstrates. The Human Rights Commission congratulates all of the students whose dissertations add much to the field of human rights both in the University and in wider society.”  

Bill Rolston, Director of the Institute added: “We at the TJI would like to thank the Human Rights Commission – we are delighted that they continue to sponsor this prestigious award which recognises the outstanding students on our LLM programme.”  

The TJI/NI Human Rights Commission Dissertation Prize is awarded annually for the best dissertation in the LLM in Human Rights Law programme which is run by the Transitional Justice Institute at the University of Ulster at both Jordanstown and Magee campuses.

Katrina’s dissertation is available on the TJI website