Prior to undertaking her PhD, Rebecca had a career with international humanitarian NGOs, managing legal assistance and humanitarian response programs in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa. She has also worked as a humanitarian advocacy advisor with Oxfam and Save the Children, and as an associate lecturer in humanitarian assistance with Deakin University.  She is a certified lawyer, and a member of the international humanitarian law advisory committee with Australian Red Cross and an advisory board member with the International Rule of Law Initiative.

My thesis investigates the powers of the UN General Assembly to make recommendations on matters of international peace and security, in particular when the Security Council is paralysed by veto, with a focus on conflict-related human rights and humanitarian crises. It analyses the Assembly’s legal competence to engage in matters of international peace and security, and its practice, and considers the implications of that practice for the evolution of the Assembly’s legal competence over time.   Particular legal questions explored include: whether the General Assembly is legally competent to authorise conduct that may otherwise be unlawful; the role of the General Assembly in recommending unilateral sanctions, in light of its past practice of doing so, but bearing in mind its resolutions condemning unilateral coercive measures; and whether the General Assembly could pass a resolution making a ‘quasi-judicial determination’ regarding a state of necessity, so as to provide a legal basis for the provision of humanitarian assistance without the consent of the host state.

HDR project title:  The Competence of the UN General Assembly to Better Respond to Conflict-Related Human Rights and Humanitarian Crises

SupervisorsProfessor Anthony Cassimatis (primary) and Professor Alex Bellamy