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LCIL Friday Lecture: 'CEDAW and transformative judicial obligations: the vulnerable migrant domestic worker and root causes of abuse' - Dr. Cheah W. L., National University of Singapore
This lecture puts forward the conceptual argument that the transformative goals of the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against (CEDAW), which require states to eradicate root causes of injustice, can be made more effective not only through legislation and policy, as commonly argued, but through the judiciary. It highlights the need to develop the content and scope of transformative judicial obligations under CEDAW based on a comparative study of judicial decisions dealing with the abuse of female migrant domestic workers (MDWs) in three key MDW destinations that are CEDAW parties—Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. By engaging with scholarship on CEDAW’s positive obligations, transformative equality, and theories of adjudication, it argues that criminal law courts should not only ensure the accountability and punishment of perpetrators but also ascertain and critique the laws, policies, and practices enabling MDW abuse in judicial decisions. While there is much scholarship on the nature of MDW abuse and regulation of domestic work, there has yet to be a CEDAW-focused comparative analysis of case law dealing with such abuse. This research thus addresses a gap in academic debates on MDW rights and the types of positive obligations owed by courts under CEDAW.

Nov 19, 2021 01:00 PM in London

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Dr. Cheah W.L.
@National University of Singapore
Dr. Cheah W.L. is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore (NUS) since 2007. She holds academic qualifications from the National University of Singapore (LL.B., LL.M.), Harvard Law School (LL.M.), and Oxford University (D.Phil). She conducts research in the core disciplines of international criminal law, transitional justice, and human rights law with a focus on the intersections of law, culture, and power. Within these areas, her research explores the diverse and complex roles performed by domestic and international criminal courts beyond their paradigm aim of adjudicating on the guilt or otherwise of those charged with criminal offences. Her work has been accepted for publication in journals such as the Leiden Journal of International Law, European Journal of International Law, Michigan Journal of International Law, Journal of International Criminal Justice, Human Rights Quarterly, and Harvard Human Rights Journal.