GCRF Research Hub on Gender, Justice and Security

QUB (Law) and Ulster (TJI) are partners in an LSE-led GCRF Research Hub on Gender, Justice and Security.


Funder: GCRF
Awarded: 522,895
Duration: 13 Feb 2019 – 12 Feb 2024

Staff Involved: Rory O’Connell (Ulster), Bill Rolston (Ulster), Lina Malagon (Ulster); Fionnuala Ní Aoláin (QUB), Claire Wright (QUB)

Project Description

QUB (Law) and Ulster (TJI) are partners in an LSE-led GCRF Research Hub on Gender, Justice and Security.

The UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub is a five-year project working at the overlap of Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality, Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions, and the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

Conflict and gender-based violence have devastating, long-term consequences on individuals, families and communities. They also severely hamper the successful delivery of development goals internationally. This Hub seeks to advance sustainable peace by developing an evidence-base around gender, justice and inclusive security in conflict-affected societies.

Working with international partners, it will expand research capacity and interdisciplinary research and connect with leading ambassadors for gender justice to translate insights into ongoing actions that improve lives.

The Hub is led by Professor Christine Chinkin in the Centre for Women, Peace and Security at LSE, working with partners around the world and focusing on eight core sites: Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Lebanon, Myanmar, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Uganda.

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Prof Fionnuala Ní Aoláin (QUB) is co-director of the Hub’s Transformation and Empowerment stream. Prof Rory O’Connell  (Ulster) and Prof Bill Rolston (Ulster) are working with her on specific projects within this stream.

Prof Ní Aoláin and Prof O’Connell are responsible for the socioeconomic rights and transition project,  with Dr Lina Malgon working as a postdoctoral researcher, while Prof Ní Aoláin and Prof Rolston are delivering the colonialism and transition project, with Dr Claire Wright as the postdoctoral researcher. Prof Ní Aoláin is involved in a third project on transformative conflict resolution and new gender-sensitive protection policies.

As part of the project the researchers will work with local partners and prominent human rights organisations including the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ).

The projects build on the world-leading research of the researchers and the reputation of the institutions in the fields of Peace and Security, Gender, Transitional Justice and Human Rights.

Socioeconomic rights and transition

The relationship of social economic injustice to creating the conditions conducive to the production of violent conflict is better understood, and more widely acknowledged in scholarly and policy literatures.  Yet, there is little systematic data gathered concerning the substance of socio-economic rights inclusion in peace agreements and very little understanding about the dynamic implementation of socio-economic guarantees in post-conflict/transitioning societies. This stream seeks to bridge that gap empirically – by better mapping how socio-economic rights are bargained in (and out) of peace agreements, and what form those bargains take. The goal is to better understand the universe of claim making in conflict transformation as well as to zone in on claims that become entrenched in law and practice.  The project will focus on Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, Colombia, Uganda.

Colonialism and transition

The majority of states to which transitional justice mechanisms are applied are former colonies. But colonial occupation, decolonization, and the ongoing legacy of colonialism frequently go unremarked in transitional justice debates and policy making. Despite the lack of formal attention to colonialism, battles persist over the legitimacy of colonial borders, the validity of enduring legal instruments of colonial control, and ‘memory wars’, including the writing and telling of history during and after the colonial period. Research in this stream will address such questions as: (1) When deciding to deal with ‘the past’, how far back should policy makers and legislators look? (2) How do the colonial past shape conditions conducive to contemporary conflict (3) How should engaging this past shape contemporary conflict ending solutions?  The project will focus on Northern Ireland and Colombia.