Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law
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Anna Lise Purkey

Anna Purkey is the 2015-2016 Gordon F. Henderson Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa. In 2015 Anna successfully completed her Doctorate of Civil Law at McGill University. Her thesis, entitled Legal Empowerment for a Dignified Life: Fiduciary duty and human rights-based capabilities in protracted refugee situations combines a modified version of the capabilities approach with the fiduciary theory of state legal authority to develop a human rights-based capabilities approach that constitutes a partial theory of justice. This approach is used to demonstrate that the legal empowerment of refugee communities is both a central capability in itself, as a means of enabling refugees to claim their rights vis a vis powerful actors, and as insurance against instrumentalization and domination by the state.

Anna has a B.C.L./LL.B from McGill University as well as an LL.M. from University of Toronto. Previously, she held the position of legal counsel at the Department of Justice Canada. She is involved with various civil society organizations including Action Réfugiés Montréal, where she is on the Board of Directors, and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and has taught in a contract capacity in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University.

Anna’s current research focuses on the role that refugee and other displaced communities can play in transitional justice processes and, in particular, on the importance of empowering individuals to access and to use the law to advance their rights and interests. In the coming year, Anna intends to survey refugee participation in recent transitional justice mechanisms. By applying the theoretical framework developed in her doctoral thesis, Anna will seek to understand the role that the effective participation of refugee communities in transitional justice can play in re-establishing a relationship of responsibility between the citizenry and the state, in rebuilding civic trust and in ensuring that the State meets its obligations in terms of securing valuable capabilities thereby fostering the conditions necessary for a lasting peace. In particular, Anna will apply this focus to the current process of peace negotiations taking place in Myanmar and to the refugee communities living along the Thai-Burmese border.

Publications:

Anna Purkey, “A Dignified Approach: Legal Empowerment and Human Rights in Protracted Refugee Situations” (2014) 27:2 Journal of Refugee Studies 260.

Book review of Kirsten McConnachie, Governing Refugees: Justice, Order and Legal Pluralism (New York: Routledge, 2014), (2014) 30:2 Refuge 103.

Anna Lise Purkey, “Questioning Governance in Protracted Refugee Situations: The Fiduciary Nature of the State-Refugee Relationship” (2013) 25:4 International Journal of Refugee Law 693.

Anna Purkey, “Whose Right to What Justice? The Administration of Justice in Refugee Camps” (2011) 17:1 New England Journal of International and Comparative Law 121.

Selected presentations:

Legal Empowerment and a Just Society: Increasing the agency of refugees and other marginalized groups and the accountability of powerful actors. Presentation at the ISA/IPSA/ECPR/APSA Joint Conference on Human Rights and Justice, The Hague, 8-10 June 2015, Human Rights and Justice

Panel: Protection in Countries of First Asylum. Workshop at the Canadian Council for Refugees Fall Consultation, Gatineau, 27-29 November 2014, Connecting Communities, Saving Lives

Transitioning to Justice: Legal Empowerment in Protracted Refugee Situations. Presentation at the XV International Association for the Study of Forced Migration Conference, Bogota, Colombia, 14-17 July 2014, Forced Migration and Peace

A Place in the World: The Role of Legal Empowerment in the Creation of a ‘Space’ for the Full Realization of the Human Potential and Capabilities of Refugees in Protracted Situations. Presentation at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, Toronto, March 2014, Spaces and Places: Geopolitics in an Era of Globalization

Whose Right to What Justice? Humanitarian Intervention and the Administration of Justice in Refugee Camps. Presentation at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, Montreal, March 2011, Global Governance: Political Authority in Transition

Worlds unto Themselves: Questioning State Governance of Refugee Camps. Presentation at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, Montreal, March 2011, Global Governance: Political Authority in Transition

Whose Right to What Justice? Humanitarian Intervention and the Administration of Justice in Refugee Camps. Presentation at the 2nd Annual conference of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, Ottawa, June 2009, Forced Migration and Shifting Borders


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