The International Legal Order’s Colour Line - 4pm Aula Maxima 31.01.24 - Public Lecture with Prof. Schabas

Jan 31 2024 Posted: 16:00 GMT

Prior to the twentieth century, international law was predominantly written by and for the 'civilised nations' of the white Global North. It justified doctrines of racial inequality and effectively drew a colour line that excluded citizens of the Global South and persons of African descent from participating in international law-making while subjecting them to colonialism and the slave trade.

Professor William Schabas’ new book The International Legal Order's Colour Line (Oxford University Press, 2022) narrates this divide and charts the development of regulation on racism and racial discrimination at the international level, principally within the United Nations. Most notably, it outlines how these themes gained traction once the Global South gained more participation in international law-making after the First World War. It challenges the narrative that human rights are a creation of the Global North by focussing on the decisive contributions that countries of the Global South and people of colour made to anchor anti-racism in international law.