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Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award 2019 presented to Julie Fraser and Peggy ter Vrugt

Published: 13th December 2019 Last updated: 15th April 2020

On the occasion of UN Human Rights Day, the Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award has been presented today at Tilburg University. Julie Fraser of Utrecht University received the award for best dissertation in the field of human rights research and Peggy ter Vrugt of Maastricht University won the prize for best Master thesis in that area.

The jury, chaired by Distinguished University Professor at Tilburg University and President of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut, Prof. Ernst Hirsch Ballin, was unanimous in its decision. This year, 24 nominations for the Award were received from Dutch and Flemish universities, a number that almost doubled the 13 nominations received for the 2017 edition. 

Photo by Wilfried Scholtes: Peggy ter Vrugt and Julie Fraser

prijsuitreiking max van der stoel award

Dr. Julie Fraser’s dissertation is entitled Every Organ of Society. Exploring the Role of Social Institutions in the Effective Implementation of International Human Rights Law. According to the jury, this work goes to the heart of the challenges for human rights protection in the 21st century, that is, the involvement of social institutions and non-state actors in the implementation of human rights obligations. Fraser arrived to well-founded policy recommendations and rightly identified a shift from the state as the central actor in human rights implementation. The jury awarded Fraser 2,000 euros in prize money.

Peggy ter Vrugt LLM, who won the prize for her Master thesis Innocent, forgotten and punished. Rights of children of imprisoned mothers in the Netherlands, combined traditional juridical methods of legal interpretation with field research in a very original way, according to the jury.  The jury awarded Ms ter Vrugt with 500 euros in prize money.

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.

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