Book Launch: The International Legal Order's Colour Line

January 19, 2024 | 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Online & in-person

This event is over

'Munk Centre For International Studies - 1 Devonshire Place
Prior to the twentieth century, international law was predominantly written by and for the 'civilised nations' of the white Global North. It justified doctrines of racial inequality and effectively drew a colour line that excluded citizens of the Global South and persons of African descent from participating in international law-making while subjecting them to colonialism and the slave trade.
The International Legal Order's Colour Line (Oxford UP, 2023) narrates this divide and charts the development of regulation on racism and racial discrimination at the international level, principally within the United Nations. Most notably, it outlines how these themes gained traction once the Global South gained more participation in international law-making after the First World War. It challenges the narrative that human rights are a creation of the Global North by focussing on the decisive contributions that countries of the Global South and people of colour made to anchor anti-racism in international law.  The International Legal Order's Colour Line provides a comprehensive history and compelling new approach to the history of human
Sponsor: The Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History
John Meehan


William A. Schabas

Professor of international law at Middlesex University in London, emeritus professor at Leiden University and the University of Galway, distinguished visiting faculty at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po and a door tenant at 9 Bedford Row. Professor Schabas is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Royal Irish Academy.