Marsden Grant to study disarmament

Press Release – University of Auckland

Dr Anna Hood from the University of Auckland Law School has been awarded a Marsden Grant worth $300,000 to study coercive disarmament.

Awarded annually, the Marsden Fund is managed by the Royal Society Te Apārangi on behalf of the government and supports excellence in science, engineering, maths, social sciences and the humanities in New Zealand by providing grants for investigator-initiated research.

With weapons posing one of the greatest threats to international peace and security, disarmament is one of the primary mechanisms for addressing the threat.

To date, the vast majority of academic work on the subject has focused on voluntary disarmament, where states come together and freely agree to limit or give up their weapons.

Scant attention has been paid to coercive disarmament, when a state, group of states or international organisations force another state to give up or limit their weapons. Prominent examples include the Security Council repeatedly taking action against North Korea and Iran to shut down their nuclear programmes, and the US and its allies invading Iraq in 2003 to destroy the weapons of mass destruction the country supposedly harboured.

Dr Hood’s research project titled Coercive Disarmament in International Law: 1919-2019 received a Marsden Fast-Start Grant. The funding will be distributed over three years, allowing Dr Hood to map the different coercive disarmament measures that have been created over the last century through international law – treaties, UN Security Council resolutions etc – and evaluate the key trends.

The aim of Dr Hood’s research is to produce a critical history of coercive disarmament law during the last decade. It will be the first time the suite of forcible disarmament measures embedded in international instruments have been systematically identified and analysed, and the first time that their role in the international legal system has been critically examined and conceptualised.

Specifically, the project will explore whether and how coercive disarmament can be understood as a form of collective punishment, a mode of preventative regulation, a means of authorising interventions into the governance or states, a modern form of banishment and/or other methods of control.

Dr Anna Hood is an expert in international law and a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland. She has a Master of Laws from New York University and a PhD from the University of Melbourne. Her research interests include international law and security, refugee and disarmament law.

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