Daria Davitti

Senior Lecturer


My research focuses on the implementation of international law and international human rights law in complex contexts, such as situations of armed conflict, forced migration and humanitarian emergencies. My work examines the obligations and responsibility of states, international organisations, and private companies operating in such contexts. More generally, I am interested in the ways in which international human rights law intersects with other branches of international law, and in its theoretical and practical dimensions, its uses and conceptualisations.

The research project that I am currently carrying out here in Lund is called Liquid Borders and examines EU migration policies to interrogate how they contribute to the 'liquidity' of the EU border, for instance through externalisation, cooperation with third countries, privatisation and development aid. The project considers the implications of this border 'liquidity' in terms of responsibility for breaches of international law. The theoretical framework underpinning this project is set out in my article 'Biopolitical Borders and the State of Exception in the European Migration 'Crisis'', published in the European Journal of International Law, issue 29(4) of 2019, and is further developed in various forthcoming publications.

More broadly, my research looks critically at recent measures adopted to implement migration control policies, including through outsourcing of services to private military and security companies and through financial mechanisms aimed at resourcing humanitarian responses. I am interested in understanding what drives the on-going securitisation and privatisation of migration, and how current policies affect access to international protection and, in turn, the health and wellbeing of people on the move.

My expertise in both international investment law and business and human rights means that I am ideally situated to examine the privatisation of migration and the relevance of impact investing in refugee responses. I am the Head of the Human Rights Law Centre's Forced Migration Unit at the University of Nottingham (UK) where current research examines these privatised aspects of migration. The Forced Migration Unit has a strong network of NGOs, think-tanks and scholars. 

Based on my professional background as a human rights field officer with the United Nations (both the former Department of Peacekeeping Operations, DPKO, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR), my expertise relates to the protection of human rights in situations of armed conflict. My research in this area of law examines the intersection between international human rights law and international investment law in conflict situations. My monograph with Hart Publishing (2019) focuses on the protection of the right to water in the context of extractive sector investment in countries like Afghanistan. In this context, I am a founding member of The IEL Collective, of which the Faculty of Law is an institutional member. The IEL Collective was launched to provide a space for critical reflection on the complex interactions in the growing field of international economic law. It aims to explore how epistemological and methodological diversity in the discipline can contribute towards the development of a more holistic landscape of scholarship on law and the governance of the global economy. 

I have supervised to completion to PhD candidates: 

Emma Allen, Keele University (UK) 'Climate Change and Disappearing Island States – Deterritorialisation, Sovereignty and Statehood in International Law' (with Dr Mario Prost, Keele). Emma's project is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Submitted in September 2019, successfully defended in November 2019. Currently a lecturer at Keele University, School of Law, UK.

Ruth Brittle , University of Nottingham (UK) 'The Best Interests of the Child in Refugee Asylum Determinations' (with Prof Ralph Sandland, Nottingham). Ruth's project is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Successfully defended in July 2019. Currently a lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, School of Law, UK. 

I am currently supervising the following two PhD candidates:

Sara Palacios Arapiles, University of Nottingham (UK) 'The Erithrean National Service: Persecution amounting to Slavery?' (with Dr Annamaria La Chimia, Nottingham). Sara's project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Soo Hyun Lee, Lund University, Faculty of Law (Sweden), UN 2030 Agenda Programme PhD Researcher (wtih Professor Ulf Linderfalk as first supervisor). Soo Hyun's project examines a State's right to regulate for the public interest on matters of sustainable development and economic policy when engaging in international economic law.

My former LLM supervisee Caterina Parodi was awarded the EMA Thesis Prize 2016/2017 to publish her thesis.



Recent research outputs

Daria Davitti, Ho, J., Vargiu, P. & Yilmaz Vastardis, A., 2020 May 16, Medium.

Research output: Other contributionWeb publication/Blog post

Daria Davitti, 2020 Apr 15, In : German Law Journal. 21, 3, p. 487-505

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Daria Davitti & Collective, T. IEL., 2020 Mar 24, Medium.

Research output: Other contributionWeb publication/Blog post

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