ICO Research Fellows have a strong profile on the human rights aspects of the particular thematic issue and produces documents that are carefully researched, compellingly written, aimed at achieving specific impact in the field of human rights research, especially concerning the right to self-determination.
Focus in particular on issues recurring in different situations, such as division of governance competencies, fiscal organisation, rights of minorities and cross-border integration. Their research would assist mediators, officials from international organisations, State officials and even self-determination movements. All our candidates have a strong track record of high-quality independent research.  

Azmat A Khan

Azmat A Khan is a Kashmir born former UK based academic who has been appointed as a Senior Research Fellow with ICO to head a team of researchers to undertake a plan of programs on the Kashmir conflict, which has eluded a resolution for a very long time.

He is based in Greater Manchester and has a lifelong and firsthand knowledge and experience in this long-running dispute in South Asia where United Nations Military Observers have been stationed for the past 7 decades. 

He had built his professional career as an IT software development specialist and had been teaching this subject at various Universities and Colleges over the past 16 years before deciding to take early retirement to concentrate on the Kashmir issue.

He has written newspaper articles on the subject in many Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri publications including The Times and The Independent, as well as making presentations at national and international conferences in the UK and European Parliament. He has also spoken on conflict resolution and self-determination debates in seminars at the Oxford and Cambridge universities.

His remit with ICO is to conduct independent research and design a roadmap for the Kashmir case, provide historical insight into failures of the application of the self-determination concept as a legitimate right to this unresolved legacy of the British colonial Raj and build a case for international remedial framework through state-level mechanism empowering all people and communities within the region and undertake international advocacy campaign in pursuance of this case and for lasting peaceful outcome. 

He is also pursuing his Ph.D. thesis with Management International University.

Gerard Maguire

(Ph.D. in Law, Maynooth University, Ireland)

Before undertaking studies with the law department, Gerard graduated from Maynooth University with a degree in Anthropology and Spanish. He became a student of the law department in 2015 entering the LLM International Justice programme prior to commencing his Ph.D. in 2016. During his studies with the law department, he has acted as a Rapporteur for the Royal Irish Academy for their lecture series ‘Constitutional Conversations’ and has been part of a team of four students who took part in the Scholars at Risk Academic Freedom Monitoring programme. He has with Survival International on a research project focusing on the right to education of tribal children in their mother tongue. Gerard’s research interests are in the areas of International Humanitarian Law, Public International Law, International Human Rights Law and Genocide Studies. His current research focuses primarily on the rights of indigenous peoples. While being an active researcher, Gerard has taught extensively on both undergraduate and postgraduate law programmes at Maynooth University and most recently within the Office of the Dean of Teaching and Learning at Maynooth University as a course instructor for the University’s Critical Skills programme.

Current Research Topic:
“Educational Institutions and Indigenous Peoples; Haven of Progression or Catalyst for Cultural Genocide”

This research is concerned with the phenomenon that is cultural genocide in the context of Indigenous Peoples and the role in which educational institutions play in this crime. My research is developing on existing legal principles and norms, which have evaded the scope of Indigenous Peoples and the role they play in International Law. At the root of this research is a question of the validity of the acceptance of the current definition of Genocide and the role of indigenous identity and statehood in international law.

Alice Neeson

(Ph.D. in Conflict Transformation, Queen’s University Belfast)

Alice Neeson is a social anthropologist and action researcher based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her Ph.D. research explored the role of participatory media in conflict transformation, with a particular focus on counter-narratives and the potential for communicative justice in wider movements for social change. She is particularly interested in the role of narratives in challenging inequalities, and exploring how participatory methodologies can be utilised for self-development and self-determination.

Dr. Tanya Herring

(Ph.D. in Bangor University Law School, Wales, UK)

Dr. Tanya Herring is an ICO Research Fellow focusing on Member State responsibility and obligations to prevent, protect, and to prosecute under the Palermo Protocols for crimes against children and vulnerable populations during forced displacement.  Her research employs the UN’s legal empowerment concept as a conduit to achieve self-determination.  The study sets the Rohingya crisis as a ‘critical-case’ — permitting empirical analytic generalization of international remedies that can be applied in other geographical places throughout the world.

Her study is underpinned by the concept self-determination’s rudimentary components of human rights and foundational freedoms align itself with the core elements of legal empowerment.  Both models address gaps found in statelessness — a condition that exists as there are an estimated 33 million people who are forcibly displaced by domestic and international conflict and violence, whereby children represent at least 50 percent worldwide. As mixed-methods socio-legal research, the study’s Tier #1 aim is to develop a scholarly ‘Model of Practice’ monograph, which depicts generalizable and replicable legal empowerment modalities for displaced populations. Tier #2 aim is structured as a response to the UNHCR and the UNCRC executive committees’ call to civil society and academia to research the large and troubling holes in the collective knowledge of the global statelessness phenomena.  The study also adds value to the basis for situations involving self-determination claims in particular compensation and relocation, as well as human rights violations in trafficking and labor exploitation.

Dr. Herring is an international criminal law and international human rights doctoral candidate/researcher with Bangor University Law School, Wales (UK) and researcher with the Wales Observatory for Youth and Human Rights.  Dr. Herring also holds doctorate degrees in education and management respectively, along with specialised training from the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and the Université de Genève on children’s rights.

Maria del Rosario Grima Algora

(Master of Laws, London School of Economics and Political Science)

Rosario studied a double degree in Law and Political Science in Spain and then a Master of Laws, with a specialization in human rights law, at LSE. She wrote her final dissertation on the Women, Peace and Security agenda of the UN Security Council and she also wrote a research paper on the international law of self-determination and indigenous peoples participation at the UN.

She has experience working on human rights and gender, with civil society organizations and at international organizations such as the European Union Delegation to the United Nations (New York), where she mainly focused on indigenous peoples and women’s human rights. She is currently participating in the ICO research project on “Indigenous women’s voices in decision-making as a means to self-determination”.

Irina Stepanova

Iryna Stepanova is an ICO Research Fellow with a solid background in law and a strong interest in human rights, international public law, international criminal law, and taxation. She speaks multiple languages and has work experience in the public sector, the private sector and within international organisations.

Initially specialising in tax law, she has broadened her work to include all aspects of international human rights law. Iryna wrote her Master’s thesis on European Double Taxation Conventions and Human Rights in a Globalized World (2016) and highlighted taxpayer rights protection under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and European Union law, with special attention to the interface between the two legal orders.

In research, her main focus is the taxpayer rights realisation from international and regional legal perspectives. It addresses the right to privacy and exchange of information, right to property and non-discrimination, as well as the problem of double taxation, double non-taxation and the right to a fair trial on tax matters. In terms of the research, European case law analysis indicates the necessity to make the European taxpayer code legally binding and to adopt a new protocol to the ECHR, expanding the rights that are protected by the Convention.

The study asserts that the current level of taxpayer rights implementation and protection requires the development of an International Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Thus, the project involves and explores the right to be informed; right to quality service; rights to pay no more than the correct amount of tax; right to be heard and retain representation; right to appeal; right to finality; right to privacy and confidentiality; right to a fair and just tax system. Based on the research, international communities are called upon to create an International Tax Court.

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