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Dr. Joshua Curtis


Freie Universität Berlin

Human Rights Under Pressure - Ethics, Law and Politics

Post Doctoral Fellow

Boltzmannstraße 3
—14195 Berlin

Dr Joshua Curtis is a graduate of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway, where he gained a PhD in International Law and LLM in International Human Rights Law. He received his BA (Honours) in Moral, Political and Legal Philosophy from the University of Adelaide, Australia. He is a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics, with the Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy based in the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. His doctoral thesis examined the nexus between ‘Human Rights, Foreign Investment and International Cooperation’, providing a comprehensive human rights critique of the present approach to foreign investment within development economics, international investment law, and the process of financing for development. He has provided legal advice to The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and the Irish Cancer Society, Amnesty International (UK), the Informal Sector Service Centre (Nepal), and the Human Rights Law Centre (Australia).

Dr Curtis has published on the nature of legal obligations on States to cooperate internationally, on the application of human rights law to the process of economic policy-making, and on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. His expertise is interdisciplinary, covering human rights law, international economic law, development economics and global economic governance. He has lectured on these and related subjects at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and presented at numerous international conferences.

Dr Curtis was a member of the expert working group updating the 2003 Tilburg Guiding Principles on the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Human Rights. He authored the ‘Irish Centre for Human Rights Submission to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs in Response to the 2012 Review of the White Paper on Irish Aid’, delivering workshops and consultations for high-level decision-makers including Irish members of the European Parliament. He is the principle author of an in-depth study on 'TTIP, ISDS and the Implications of Irish Public Health Policy' commissioned by the Irish Cancer Society, and is currently an advisor to the South Centre (Geneva) and the International Federation for Human Rights (Paris), and an academic member of the Extraterritorial Obligations Consortium (Heidelberg).  


 - 'Development and Human Rights' - Semester Course - 3rd Year level
 - 'UN Human Rights Structures and Procedures' - Semester Course - 3rd Year level


 - 'Macro-economic Policies, Neo-liberalism and Socio-economic Rights' - Seminar - LLM level (Masters in Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)
 - 'International Investment Law and Socio-economic Rights' - Seminar - LLM level (Masters in International Human Rights Law)
 - 'Financing for Development and Human Rights' - Seminar - LLM (International Human Rights Law)

Further Course Design

 - 'Economic, Social and Cultural Rights' - LLM Semester Course - co-designed with Dr John Reynolds, NUI Maynooth

  - Advising and guiding LLM students with respect to 10,000 word essays and 20,000 word theses, including conceptualisation, substantive critique, proof reading and advice on academic writing.

Dr Curtis researches in the following areas: 

- Interdisciplinary intersection of socio-economic rights, international economic law, development economics and global governance

- International cooperative/extraterritorial human rights obligations

- International investment and trade law

- International economic negotiations

- Foreign investment

- Financing for development

- Business and human rights

- Critical legal theory

- History of economics

As a Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Curtis will focus on a study of ‘The EU, the BRICS, Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations and International Economic Governance’; an analysis of the duties of key State groupings in transnational economic governance from an approach that melds cooperative human rights obligations and heterodox development economics, with specific reference to the process of Financing for Development in the context of major rivalries between competing economic theories on development economics.

--- and John Reynolds, ‘TTIP, ISDS and the Implications for Public Health in Ireland’, Irish Cancer Society, July 2015 [Commissioned report]

---, ‘Reflections on the United Nations Business and Human Rights Forum 2014’, Business and Human Rights in Ireland, December 2014 [Blog post]

---, ‘The Economics of Necessity: Human Rights and Ireland’s Natural Resources’ 7 Irish Yearbook of International Law (2012) [Article]

--- and Shane Darcy, ‘The Right to a Social and International Order for the Realisation of Human Rights: Article 28 of the Universal Declaration and International Cooperation’, in David Keane and Yvonne McDermott (eds), The Challenge Of Human Rights: Past, Present and Future (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2012) [Book chapter]

---, ‘Response to the 2012 Review of the White Paper on Irish Aid’, Irish Centre for Human Rights Submission to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, April 2012 [Submission]

Conference Papers and Workshop Presentations

‘Do Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations Mandate a Pre-Negotiation Phase in the Process Regarding Trade and Investment Agreements?’, EU Regional Meeting of the Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations Consortium, Brussels, Belgium, February 2015. 

‘Restricting the Rights of Foreign Investors under International Investment Law - Possibilities of a Renegotiation’, Global Governance and Transnational Human Rights Obligations (GLOTHRO) Exploratory Workshop on Direct Obligations of Corporations under International Law, Bled, Slovenia, January 2013. 

‘Applying Obligations of International Cooperation to Negotiations on Investment Agreements’, 2013 Harvard Institute for Global Law and Policy Workshop, Doha, Qatar, January 2013. 

‘Socio-Economic Rights as Reply to the Neo-liberal Economics of Necessity’, High-Level Workshop on Global and National Strategies for Socio-Economic Rights, London, United Kingdom, June 2012. 

‘Human Rights Impact Assessments and the IFIs’ and ‘Macro-Economic Policy and Human Rights Norms’, Tilburg Workshop on World Bank, IMF and Human Rights, Tilburg, Netherlands, April 2012.

‘Socio-Economic Rights as Reply to the Neo-liberal Economics of Necessity’, Sciences-Po Law and Boundaries Conference – Legal Responses to Economic Crises, Paris, France, April 2012. 

‘International Cooperation and Foreign Direct Investment’, Global Governance and Transnational Human Rights Obligations (GLOTHRO) Executive Training Seminar and Doctoral School, Florence, Italy, December 2011. 

‘International Assistance and Cooperation: Two Separate Obligations’, Global Governance and Transnational Human Rights Obligations (GLOTHRO) Stocktaking Conference, Antwerp, Belgium, May 2011.

‘International Cooperation and the Structure of the Global Economic Order: Beyond the Failure of Charitable Assistance’, Forgotten Rights, Forgotten Concepts - 10th Anniversary Conference of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Galway, Ireland, November 2010. 

‘International Investment Law and the Domestic Provision of Socio-Economic Rights’, Iran and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Tehran, Iran, June 2010.

Freie Universität Berlin
The Minerva Center for Human Rights
Menschenrechtszentrum Uni Potsdam
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Einstein Foundation Berlin
Dahlem Research School