PhD researcher Natasha Gooden invited to speak at international conference

The conference organised by Adamas University, India, on 'Global ramification on international human rights: challenges and the way forward' was held virtually over Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 April.

The conference was inaugurated by Honourable Mr Justice Dipak Misra, Former Chief Justice of India; Honourable Mr Justice P.C. Pant, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India; and Honourable Mr Justice C.K. Thakkar, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India. The inaugurates delivered lectures along with several former Honourable judges of different High Courts in India and Professor William Schabas, Professor of International Law at Middlesex University. The conference had over 600 hundred participants from across 28 different countries.

PhD researcher Natasha Gooden and Dr Subhajit Basu of the School of Law attended the entirety of the two-day conference which explored a broad range of human rights issues of relevance in the Indian sub-continent. “One of the most sobering sessions of the conference involved discussing human trafficking in India and outside India. The session contained not only in-depth legal analysis and the inadequacy of the legal framework but also real-life stories of trafficked men and women” explained Dr Basu.

“The conference itself was extremely insightful and thought provoking and displayed not only the passion that each individual had towards strengthening and developing human rights but also the importance of such rights and how they impact every human and every aspect of their life” said Natasha when reflecting upon her experience of attending the conference.

Natasha was invited to speak at the conference, about ‘disinformation and conflict’. Her presentation was based on research, conducted jointly with Dr Basu, into developing a regulatory framework for ‘disinformation’ within the parameters of international law.

The presentation aimed to address whether the current rules surrounding the law of armed conflict have a role in regulating and limiting disinformation during times of conflict. As information is now being regarded as a valued commodity, there is also a significant increase in disinformation being used as a tool to disseminate false information to mislead or cause harm purposely. The false narratives aim to destabilise democracies to promote their geopolitical interests by spreading falsehoods to undermine our trust in truth and disorient us and undermine our sense of truth. The presentation highlighted that the legal challenge is not only rooted in conflict regulation where the boundaries between war and peace have become blurred, and there has been an increase in the range of actors, but also wider implications on human rights where there is a delicate balance between effective regulation and the freedom of expression, as the wider the freedom, the greater the possibility of disinformation. 

Attending and presenting at the conference with such a highly esteemed delegation of legal professions and academics was a great privilege.

Natasha Gooden

Dr Basu said “India has a highly hierarchical society; in a conference where most speakers are Honourable Judges, PhD researchers rarely get the opportunity to present a paper. It is a rather impressive feather in Natasha's cap. Although it is a joint research paper, I insisted that organisers allow Natasha to present the paper”.