I joined the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam in February 2007. Among my external academic appointments, I have been a senior research fellow in the School of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand since January 2007, an Editor (since 2013) of the South African Journal on Human Rights (from Feb 2017- Feb 2019 Editor-in-Chief) and a visiting research fellow in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University in 2017.
I studied law in England (1992: LLB, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and 1994: LLM, with Merit, School of Oriental and African Studies, London) and was called to the English bar in 1995. After fifteen years as a human rights practitioner in South Africa and The Netherlands, in 2009 I obtained a PhD in the sociology of law at Utrecht University with a thesis on "Advocating for Accountability: Civic-State Interactions to Protect Refugees in South Africa", published by Intersentia (Antwerp).
From the early 1990s, off and on until early 2000, which included short appointments as assistant to a British Member of Parliament and as legal advisor for the Dutch Refugee Council, I held various positions for the South African organisation Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR). For seven years following my time with LHR I completed numerous assignments as a freelance consultant, trainer and researcher, based in The Hague. I trained government officials, police officers, military personnel, lawyers, NGOs and journalists and advised governments, the United Nations and civil society organisations in the development sector on a wide range of human rights and legal issues, developing particular regional experience in Southern Africa and Palestine.
Since 1999, I have published scholarly work, in academic and other journals, as well as four books and one special issue of a journal.
My academic research has been in three, overlapping areas, all concerning the potential for legal mobilisation to lead to progressive structural change.
The first, long-standing area of research has theorized and evaluated the structural opportunities and constraints of civic-state interactions in the context of human rights advocacy and in particular public interest litigation, with a particular focus on refugees and migrants. While this area of research has focused primarily on South Africa, I have also written on legal mobilization in Latin America, Palestine and the Netherlands. This area of reseach has also critiqued the deleterious effects of evaluating legal doctrine without critically taking into account the social, historical and political context and the pedagogies of legal learning from crisis.
A second, related area of research has been to critically evaluate the content and implementation of laws and policies and the roles of civic actors in the framing and enforcement of these policies. In this area, I have focussed primarily on refugee laws and policies in South Africa, but I have also been examining the negative consequences of the social reproduction by migration experts of concepts such as ‘irregular migration’, and the uncritical application of legal-doctrinal concepts in legal-political analyses of armed conflict and international criminal justice.
A third research area has critically evaluated efforts by civic actors, states and international institutions, to enforce international criminal law, both through international tribunals and in national legal systems.
In 2005, I received a WOTRO award to support field research in South Africa from the Dutch National Science Foundation (NWO). Since working at ISS, I have participated in various grants, including a two-year programme funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), a two-year programme funded by Hivos and a teaching project in Suriname. At the end of 2014, together with colleagues from the Erasmus School of Law I was jointly awarded a five-year (2015-2020) matching grant from EUR, amounting to a combined institutional commitment of 1.6 million Euros.
T. Truong, D. Gasper, J.D. Handmaker & S.I. Bergh (2014). Migration, Gender, Social Justice: Perspectives on Human Insecurity. In T-D. Truong, D. Gasper, J. Handmaker & S. Bergh (Eds.), Migration, gender and social justice: perspectives on human insecurity (Hexagon Series on Human and Environmental Security and Peace, 9) (pp. 3-26). Heidelberg: Springer doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-28012-2
K. Arts & J.D. Handmaker (2010). Cultures of Constitutionalism: An Introduction. In M. Frishman & S. Muller (Eds.), The Dynamics of Constitutionalism in the Age of Globalisation (From Peace to Justice Series) (pp. 49-55). The Hague: Hague Academic Press
R. Berkhout & J.D. Handmaker (2010). Unlocking the Potential for Civic Action and Structural Change: Reflections on Mobilising Social Justice. In J.D. Handmaker & R. Berkhout (Eds.), Mobilising Social Justice: Perspectives from Researchers and Practitioners (Human Rights in Context Series, 2) (pp. 177-191). Pretoria: Pretoria University Law Press
J.D. Handmaker, L. De la Hunt & J. Klaaren (2008). Introduction. In J.D. Handmaker, L. De la Hunt & J. Klaaren (Eds.), Advancing Refugee Protection in South Africa (Human Rights in Context Series, 2) (pp. 1-10). Oxford/New York: Berghahn Books
J.D. Handmaker, L. De la Hunt & J. Klaaren (2008). Conclusion. In J.D. Handmaker, L. De la Hunt & J. Klaaren (Eds.), Advancing Refugee Protection in South Africa (Human Rights in Context Series, 2) (pp. 278-290). Oxford / New York: Berghahn Books
J.D. Handmaker (2008). Starting with a Clean Slate? Efforts to Deal with Asylum Application Backlogs in South Africa. In Advancing Refugee Protection in South Africa (Human Rights in Context Series, 2) (pp. 117-135). Oxford / New York: Berghahn Books
D. Ndssomin & J.D. Handmaker (2008). Solucao Duravel: Implementing a Durable Solution for Angolan Refugees in South Africa. In Advancing Refugee Protection in South Africa (pp. 136-166). Oxford / New York: Berghahn Books
V. Mayer, J. van Garderen, J.D. Handmaker & L. Anne de la Hunt (2008). Protecting the Most Vulnerable: Using the Existing Policy Framework to Strengthen Protection for Refugee Children. In Advancing Refugee Protection in South Africa (Human Rights in Context Series, 2) (pp. 186-213). Oxford / New York: Berghahn Books
F. Belvedere, P. Pigou & J.D. Handmaker (2008). Realising Rights: The Development of Health and Welfare Policies for Asylum-seekers and Refugees in South Africa. In Advancing Refugee Protection in South Africa (Human Rights in Context Series, 2) (pp. 242-277). Oxford / New York: Berghahn Books
J.D. Handmaker & A. Nieuwhof (2006). 'No man's land: Government mistreatment of Palestinian asylum seekers. In K. Musalo, J. Moore & R. Boswell (Eds.), Refugee Law and Policy: A Comparative and International Approach (Third Edition) (pp. 41-43). Durham: Carolina Academic Press
J.D. Handmaker (2005). 'Responsibility to Protect When International Authorities Fail'. In S. Asfaw, P. Weiderud & G. Kerber (Eds.), The Responsibility to Protect: Ethical and Theological Reflections (pp. 70-82). Geneva: World Council of Churches
J.D. Handmaker (2015). Foreword. In N. al-Azza & A. al-Orzza (Eds.), Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons 2013-2015, Vol. VIII (pp. xxv). Bethlehem: BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
J.D. Handmaker (1998). Asylum Determination Process. In P. Bouckaert (Ed.), Prohibited Persons: Undocumented Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers in South Africa (pp. 170-176). New York: Human Rights Watch
J.D. Handmaker, L.A. De la Hunt & J. Klaaren (Ed.). (2008). Advancing Refugee Protection in South Africa (Human Rights in Context Series, No. 2) (Human Rights in Context Series, 2). Oxford / New York: Berghahn Books
J.D. Handmaker, L.A. De la Hunt & J. Klaaren (Ed.). (2001). Perspectives on Refugee Protection in South Africa. Pretoria: Lawyers for Human Rights
J.D. Handmaker (2010). Looking Beyond the Law. [Bespreking van het boek What Constitutes Occupation? Israel as the Occupying Power in the Gaza Strip after Disengagement]. Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, 28(2), 279-282.
J.D. Handmaker (2007). Book Review "Academic Freedom is the Issue" Review of 'Why Boycott Israeli Universities?, BRICUP [Bespreking van het boek Book Review "Academic Freedom is the Issue" Review of 'Why Boycott Israeli Universities?, BRICUP]. Holy Land Studies, 6, 218-220.
J.D. Handmaker, K. Arts, M. Brus & H. Verrijn Stuart (2009). `Delegation of Dutch international law experts to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, with a special focus on Palestinian refugees: Report of the delegation¿s mission¿. (Extern rapport). Utrecht: ICCO Foundation
J.D. Handmaker (2010). Noot bij: The Hague Court of Appeal. (2009, oktober 26), Oxford Reports on International Law in Domestic Courts 2010-, (Al Shami v Ayalon, Appeal judgment, No K08/0386 Rechtspraak.nl: BK7374 (translation of BK1478), ILDC 673 (NL 2009), 26th October 2009, CA (The Hague)). [go to publisher's site]
M. van Eik & J.D. Handmaker (2007). Noot bij: Afdeling Bestuursrechtspraak Raad van State. (2005, juni 27), Oxford Reports on International Law in Domestic Courts 2007-ILDC 543, (Case Report and Commentary of Minister for Immigration Affairs and Integration v. A and B, Afdeling Bestuursrechtspraak Raad van State, 22 February 2006, 200507814/1 (JV 2006/132)).
M. van Eik & J.D. Handmaker (2007). Noot bij: Afdeling Bestuursrechtspraak Raad van State. (2006, februari 22), Oxford Reports on International Law in Domestic Courts 2007-ILDC 546, (Case Report and Commentary of Minister for Immigration Affairs and Integration v. A and B, 200507814/1 (JV 2006/132)).
J.D. Handmaker & I. Magnee (2006). Noot bij: Netherlands, Council of State (Raad van State). (2004, juli 23), Oxford Reports on International Law in Domestic Courts 2006-ILDC 144, (), ‘Case Report and Commentary of Kesbir v. Minister of Justice’ Appeal Judgment, LJN: AQ5615, 200402639/1 and 200402651/1).
J.D. Handmaker (2016, januari 14). Legal mobilisation als analytisch kader voor de betrokkenheid van bedrijven bij mensenrechtenschendingen in de Palestijnse gebieden. Den Haag, Jaarvergadering Vereniging voor de Sociaalwetenschappelijke bestudering van het Recht.
J.D. Handmaker (2015, november 2). Legal mobilisation as a lens for law and development studies. International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam, ISS-IDLO Symposium: Current research on legal mobilisation.
H.S. Taekema, K.I. Bhatt, J.D. Handmaker & E. Mak (2019). The Legal Ladder: Civic Action and the Legitimacy of Governance Institutions in Europe. NORFACE call Democratic Governance in a Turbulent Age: .
J.D. Handmaker (2012). Getting beyond the conflict: Understanding the impasse between Israel & the Palestinians. Presentation for the module 'Palestina-Israël Conflict' organised by Studievereniging Sirius, Utrecht Law College: Utrecht (2012, juni 7).
J.D. Handmaker (2012). Normative pluralism and legal consciousness in international criminal law: Lawfare and the struggle against impunity. Annual Meeting of the Dutch-Flemish Socio-Legal Studies Association = Jaarvergadering van de Vereniging voor de Sociaalwetenschappelijke Bestudering van het Recht: Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands (2012, januari 12 - 2012, januari 13).
J.D. Handmaker (2012). Theorizing Civic-State Interactions to Protect Migrants and Refugees. LASA 2012: Toward a Third Century of Independence in Latin America: XXX International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association: San Francisco, CA (2012, mei 23 - 2012, mei 26).
J.D. Handmaker (2012). Introduction to the conference theme: 'The Politics of Justice: from a human rights revolution to global justice?'. Ninth Annual Conference From Peace to Justice: The Hague (2012, oktober 12 - 2012, oktober 13).
J.D. Handmaker (2009). Demystifying the Wall: Dispossession and Impunity in the Ongoing Impasse Between Israel and the Palestinians.
J.D. Handmaker (2009). Internationaal Recht en Mensenrechten. Congress en Debaat: Impasse Tussen Israël en Palestijnen: Rotterdam (2009, februari 19).
J.D. Handmaker (2009). Understanding Nationalism in the Search for a Just Peace. Studium Generale Lecture Series: Wageningen (2009, maart 9).
J.D. Handmaker (2009). 'Holding States and Companies Accountable in International Law'. Symposium on The International Court of Justice and Israel’s Wall: 5 years on Civil society in search of accountability: The Hague (2009, juli 9).
J.D. Handmaker (2009). Swallowing the Bitter Pill: A Socio-Legal Approach to Resolving the Impasse Between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace: Toronto (2009, juni 22 - 2009, juni 24).
J.D. Handmaker (2008). On the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A critical dialogue on human rights (Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, 10 December 2008).
J.D. Handmaker (2008). Dutch bank must disinvest from rights abuses (Online article in Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, London, United Kingdom).
J.D. Handmaker (2008). From Jerusalem to The Hague: Reflections on the ICJ Wall Decision (Paper presented at the conference on The Wall and the Law, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, 9 May 2008).
J.D. Handmaker (2008). Discussant: Refugee & Policy in US / Canada from legal / historical perspective (Paper presented at Joint Annual Meeting of the LSA and CLSA, Montreal, Canada, 29 May - 1 June 2008).
J.D. Handmaker (2008). Realising Palestinian Rights: Socio-legal critiques (Paper presented at Course on Law and Society, Roosevelt Academy (Utrecht University), Middelburg, 29 September 2008).
J.D. Handmaker (2008). Litigating Refugee Rights in South Africa (Paper presented at Research in Progress Seminar, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, 20 November 2008).
J.D. Handmaker (2008). Socio-legal analysis of civic interventions to protect refugees in South Africa (Paper presented at The State of International Migration Studies in Southern Africa, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 17 - 19 March 2008).
J.D. Handmaker (2008). (Re)defining the agenda (published in Haq-Al-Awda journal, Bethelehem, Occupied Palestine).
J.D. Handmaker (2007). Challenging Apartheid, Claming Humanity (Guest editorial in an NGO journal entitled Haq-Al-Awda published by Badil Bethlehem).
J.D. Handmaker (2007). Een situatie van straffeloosheid (transl. A Situation of Impunity) (Paper presented in a workshop on "Make My Day" organised by the University of Leiden Studentenvereniging Ontwikkelingssamenwerking The Netherlands on 30 March 2007).
J.D. Handmaker (2007). Refugee Act - 10 Years On: What legislative changes are needed for a more effective asylum system?' (Panel presentation at the international conference organised by Mandela Institute of the School of Law and Forced Migration Studies Programme Johannesburg, South Africa on 12 September).
J.D. Handmaker (2007). Litigating Refugee Rights in South Africa (Paper presented at the international conference on "Law and Society in the 21st Century: Transformations, Resistances, Futures" organised by Humboldt University Law and Society Association and Research Committee on Sociology of Law in Berlin on 25-28 July 2007).
J.D. Handmaker (2012). Jury report, Awarding of the 2012 Visions of Peace Thesis Prize. Visies of Vrede / Visions of Peace Symposium: The Hague (2012, november 16).
J.D. Handmaker (2010). Public Interest Litigation in South Africa and the Potential for Structural Change. Law and Society Association Conference: Chicago, Illinois (2010, mei 27 - 2010, mei 30).
J.D. Handmaker (2010). Refugee Rights: Advocacy and Outreach. Helsinki Citizens Assembly: Istanbul, Turkey (2010, juli 5 - 2010, juli 6).
J.D. Handmaker (2009). Workshop Paper on International Law and Human Rights. Expert Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East: Rotterdam (2009, januari 26).
J.D. Handmaker (2010). Het recht op terugkeer? Doorbreken van de impasse.
J.D. Handmaker (2010). `Ending the impasse: Should one agree to disagree? Studium Generale: Tilburg (2010, maart 9).
J.D. Handmaker (2009). Gaza en verkiezingen in Israël.
J.D. Handmaker (Interview) (2020, jan 15). Rechtstaat dient gerespecteerd te worden. [radio-uitzending]. In Actueel. Paramaribo, Suriname: http://www.abcsuriname.com. http://www.abcsuriname.com/nieuws/1-lokaal-nieuws/6432-rechtstaat-dient-gerespecteerd-te-worden
J.D. Handmaker (Panellist) (2015, jan 17). Were war crimes commited in Palestine? [televisie-uitzending]. In Inside Story. Doha: Al-Jazeera television. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2015/01/were-war-crimes-committed-palestine-2015117183741325180.html
J.D. Handmaker (Rapportage) (2012, mei 11). Juristen Bezorgd over Suriname. [televisie-uitzending]. In NOS Nieuws. Paramaribo: http://nos.nl/artikel/372261-juristen-bezorgd-over-suriname.html. http://nos.nl/artikel/372261-juristen-bezorgd-over-suriname.html
J.D. Handmaker (2005). Civil society and international law: protecting and promoting human rights in the light of the July 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. In United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine. Implementing the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory - the role of Governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society (pp. 75-82). Geneva: United Nations