Authors Francesca Albanese and Lex Takkenberg joined in a conversation with Ardi Imseis, a professor of law and member of the UN Human Rights Council's Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen, and Michael Lynk, professor of law and Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories moderated by Noura Erakat, a human rights attorney and assistant professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick who has served as legal counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives and as a legal advocate for Palestinian refugee rights at the United Nations. The four discussed the challenges and opportunities offered by international law to the situation of Palestinian refugees.
Dr. Lex Takkenberg has worked with UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, from 1989 until late 2019 and is currently a freelance lecturer and consultant. He is the former Chief of the UNRWA Ethics Office. Prior to that, he held positions including UNRWA's General Counsel, (agency-wide) Director of Operations, and (Deputy) Field Director in Gaza and Syria. Before joining UNRWA, he was the Legal Officer of the Dutch Refugee Council for six years. A law graduate from the University of Amsterdam, he obtained a Doctorate in International Law from the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Francesca Albanese is a Human Rights Lawyer and affiliate scholar at Georgetown University, Institute for the Study of International Migration. She served the UN for over a decade, more recently the Department of Legal Affairs of the Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
Dr. Ardi Imseis is an Assistant Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University. He is a Member of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen, the UN Human Rights Council commission of inquiry mandated to investigate violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in the civil war in Yemen. Between 2002 and 2014, he served in senior legal and policy capacities with the UN in the Middle East (UNRWA & UNHCR). He has provided expert testimony in his personal capacity before various high-level bodies, including the UN Security Council, and to members of the UK House of Lords and the French Senate. His scholarship has appeared in a wide array of international journals, including the American Journal of International Law, the European Journal of International Law, the Harvard International Law Journal, and the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies. Professor Imseis is former Editor-in-Chief of thePalestine Yearbook of International Law (Brill; 2008-2019), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellow and Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and Human Rights Fellow, Columbia Law School. He holds a Ph.D. (Cambridge), an LL.M. (Columbia), LL.B. (Dalhousie), and B.A. (Hons.) (Toronto).
Michael Lynk is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. He joined the Faculty in 1999, and has taught courses in labour, human rights, disability, constitutional and administrative law. He served as Associate Dean of the Faculty between 2008-11. Professor Lynk is the co-author, with Michael Mac Neil and Peter Engelmann, of Trade Union Law in Canada (Thompson Reuters). He is the co-editor, with John Craig, of Globalization and the Future of Labour Law (Cambridge University Press, 2006), and the co-editor, with Susan Akram, Michael Dumper and Iain Scobbie, of International Law and the Middle East Conflict (Routledge, 2011). He is a contributing author to Employment Law in Canada (4th ed.), with Peter Barnacle as principal revising author.He has served as a labour arbitrator since 2000. Since 2007, he has been a vice-chair and arbitrator with the Ontario Grievance Settlement Board. In January 2015, Professor Lynk was named to the Mayor of London’s Honours List for his work on humanitarian issues. In March 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Professor Lynk as Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967 for a six-year term. In his capacity, he delivers regular reports to the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council on human rights trends in the OPT.
Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick Department of Africana Studies. Her research interests include humanitarian law, refugee law, national security law, and critical race theory. Noura is the author of Justice for Some: Law As Politics in the Question of Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2019). She is a Co-Founding Editor of Jadaliyya e-zine and an Editorial Committee member of the Journal of Palestine Studies. She has served as Legal Counsel for a Congressional Subcommittee in the House of Representatives, as a Legal Advocate for the Badil Center for Palestinian Refugee and Residency Rights, and as the national grassroots organizer and legal advocate at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Noura is the coeditor of Aborted State? The UN Initiative and New Palestinian Junctures, an anthology related to the 2011 and 2012 Palestine bids for statehood at the UN. More recently, Noura released a pedagogical project on the Gaza Strip and Palestine, which includes a short multimedia documentary, "Gaza In Context," that rehabilitates Israel’s wars on Gaza within a settler-colonial framework. She is also the producer of the short video, "Black Palestinian Solidarity." She is a frequent commentator, with recent appearances on CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NPR, among others, and her writings have been widely published in the national media and academic journals.