What strategies do human rights defenders use to resist reality? Emerson Cepeda in A paso de tesis

What strategies do human rights defenders use to resist reality? Emerson Cepeda in A paso de tesis

We continue this year with our section entitled: A paso de tesis. This section is published in the Netcapaz newsletter, our platform for researchers on peace issues related to Colombia. On this occasion, we invite Emerson Cepeda, PhD student in Advanced Studies in Human Rights at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. A Lawyer and researcher, Emerson is registered on the Netcapaz platform and tells us about his doctoral progress.

How has your research topic transformed since you started the doctoral process?

Since the beginning of my PhD, I have been interested in understanding the repression that affects human rights defenders and the strategies they use to resist and transform reality. Of the many things that have been transformed in my doctoral research, I would like to share two. On the one hand, I de-emphasised violence in order to pay more attention to the strategies of human rights defenders. This emphasis uncovers the experiences of society that sustain hope and can help build peace. On the other hand, I have learned to emphasize the relevance of the voice of human rights defenders in academic work. This is because peace research must translate the voices of human rights defenders.

 What specific issues related to the area of peace and conflict do you think your research will contribute to?

I’m going to mention four contributions of my research that, in my opinion, may be important. First, the violence that affects human rights defenders must be evaluated from the perspective of the interests that threaten rights claims, particularly the economic and political interests of powerful groups. Second, legal mobilisation to resist violence depends on considering tactics as episodes of interaction with society through participation. Third, transnational legal mobilisation is linked to the real and lasting commitments of the rights organisations that litigate the cases. Fourth, reparation as a legal strategy to rebuild ideas and experiences of mobilisation that have been disarticulated by violence.

What products of your research have recently been produced?

 First, a book chapter on the strategies of environmentalists in Colombia to promote spaces for participation (Popular Consultations and Extractivism in Colombia: From Local to Global Actions against Mining and Climate Change, Ed. Bloomsbury, 2021). Second, an article on the reparation of environmental damage (Reparation of environmental damage caused by transnational corporations. Experiences of international and national courts, Revista Estudios Constitucionales, 2022). Third, two reports on judgments dealing with violence against demonstrators and trade unionists can be found in International Law in Domestic Courts, Oxford University Press.

I have also disseminated the results of my thesis at the Jornada Doctoral of the Institute des Amériques (2021) and the Encuentro Doctoral of the Asociación Iberoamericana de Facultades y Escuelas de Derecho (Suijuris, 2021).  Finally, I hope to publish 4 articles on the aforementioned contributions of my research.


Find out more

Visit Emerson Cepeda’s profile on the Necapaz platform