Max van der Stoel Awards 2023 presented to Floris Tan (Leiden University) and Tycho Scholten (VU Amsterdam)

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The Max van der Stoel Human Rights Awards 2023, coordinated by the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research (NNHRR) and Tilburg Law School, were presented on Dec. 7 to Floris Tan of Leiden University and Tycho Scholten of VU Amsterdam. Floris Tan received the award for the best dissertation with a thesis on armed conflict, international humanitarian law and human rights law. Tycho Scholten won the prize for his master’s thesis on human rights in relation to climate lawsuits. The award is presented every two years on the occasion of Human Rights Day.

The jury, chaired by Prof. Koen Lemmens (KU Leuven), was unanimous in its decision. This year 15 nominations for the Award were received from Dutch and Flemish universities, of which 8 concerned PhD dissertations.

Floris Tan’s dissertation is entitled The Duty to Investigate in Situations of Armed Conflict: An Examination under International Law Humanitarian Law, International Human Rights Law, and Their Interplay.

According to the jury, the breadth and depth of this dissertation are impressive, as well as the systematic way in which the analysis was conducted. The study proposes that the notion of conflict be redefined, as the current definition is underinclusive. Tan also arrived at ’various useful and convincing conclusions about where conflicts could arise and how they should be dealt with’. The jury awarded Tan 3,000 euros in prize money.

Tycho Scholten won the prize for his Master thesis Groener bij de Buren. Mensenrechten en machtenscheiding in de klimaatrechtszaken van Nederland, Ierland en Duitsland (Greener at the Neighbors. Human Rights and Separation of Powers in the Climate Lawsuits of the Netherlands, Ireland and Germany). There was a high level of analysis and critical descriptions and thoughts in his thesis, according to the jury. Regardless of this complexity, it was still easy to follow and a pleasure to read. The jury awarded him 1,000 euros.

About the Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award

In 1995, Tilburg University introduced a Human Rights Award for outstanding academic publications in the area of human rights. In 2002, the award was renamed the Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award in honor of the Dutch Minister of State, first OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, former UN Rapporteur on human rights in Iraq, and Professor of International and European Law at Tilburg University, Max van der Stoel (1924-2011). In 2019, it was decided that the Tilburg Law School and the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research (NNHRR) would jointly organize the Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award on a bi-annual basis starting in 2019.

The award is an incentive for young researchers, and nominations are limited to graduate, pre-doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. Nominations can be submitted by all schools and institutes linked to Dutch and Flemish universities, as well as by the T.M.C. Asser Institute in The Hague.