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Prof Rory O'Connell welcomes New PhD Researchers

This autumn we welcome four new PhD Researchers. We are delighted to introduce them to you below:
Nisan Alici

Nisan’s project is on ‘Transitional Justice in an Ongoing Conflict: A victim-survivor centered analysis of TJ mechanisms in the context of the Kurdish Conflict’

Nisan holds a Master degree in International Conflict and Security from the University of Kent and a BA in Political Science and International Relations from Boğaziçi University, Istanbul where she was born and raised.

She has been working as a researcher in Demos Research Center for Peace, Democracy and Alternative Politics since 2015. Prior to this, she worked in the Turkish Parliament as a political adviser when there was a peace process going on. Thanks to her engagement with peace-related policy work and her close ties with the Kurdish community and peace activists during that time; she decided to work academically on peace, gender, conflict transformation, and transitional justice. Her PhD project focuses on the prospects for applying transitional justice mechanisms during ongoing conflicts, with a particular focus on the victims and survivors of the Kurdish conflict.

Howard Ayo

Howard’s project is on ‘National Action Plan On Business and Human Rights: Implications for Human Rights Obligations of the State and Business Enterprises. Comparative Study of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania’.

Howard holds a Masters of Business Administration (2015) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Management (2011) from Uganda Management Institute, and Bachelor’s Degree in Development Studies from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (2007), Uganda. He has over eight years of experience with the United Nations Human Rights in Uganda focusing broadly on technical assistance and capacity building for different interlocutors on Economic Social and Cultural Rights and specifically, National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Human Rights Indicators and Human Rights Based Approach to Data. My current research focuses on the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights and Implications for Human Rights Obligations of the State and Business Enterprises. This research is informed by the United Nations Protect, Respect and Remedy framework (2011) and the increased business and human rights related impacts on the rights-holders. Further, it is also addresses a call by the Human Rights Council for Member States to adopt National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights.

Sasha Gillespie

After a career as a special education teacher for almost a decade, Sasha  returned to study for her LLB and LLM.  The combination of background and  recent experiences at the Ulster Law Clinic while studying Access to Justice, her focus sharpened on Social Justice.  She has  a particular interest in the experiences of those who care for the disabled in employment, the welfare system and wider social participation in the context of equality law theory, and feminist perspectives.  Her project focuses on whether there is a discriminatory impact of the legal framework upon carers that is likely to cause social exclusion, poverty and significant barriers to entering or remaining in employment.   Her research is interested in the experiences of carers and potential legal and policy approaches to encourage positive attitudes, inclusion and equality for this increasingly large section of society.

Frances McCourt

Frances’ project is on ‘Transitional Justice in Ongoing Conflict: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice’. Frances graduated from Ulster University in 2015 earning a BSc hon in Health and Social Care Policy. During the last year of my undergraduate degree I worked in partnership with the National Autistic Society and the Science Shop at Ulster University to conduct research into service provision for adults with ASD in Northern Ireland. In 2016, I began postgraduate studies at the Transitional Justice Institute, where I undertook an LLM in Human Rights Law and Transitional Justice. My PhD studies commence in 2018 and will focus on the use of transitional justice in ongoing conflict. The project seeks to determine whether TJ theory is equipped to address ongoing conflict situations. In doing so, the study questions whether it is necessary for TJ to reformulate its engagement with such contexts, and if so, how TJ can be recast, both theoretically and practically, in order to achieve its goals in situations of ongoing conflict.