About Human Rights & International Legal Discourse

Human Rights & International Legal Discourse is a peer-reviewed law journal that encourages the critical study of the increasing influence of human rights law on international legal discourse. In addition to traditional international public law, the journal aims to focus on the interaction of human rights law with specific domains of international law, including international development law, international environmental law, international criminal law, international labour law, and international trade law. The journal places special emphasis on promoting a north-south dialogue. 

The Journal is run by an Editorial Board composed of academic experts from the law faculties of the universities of Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Leuven and Utrecht. It has an Advisory Board composed of distinguished international experts.


The journal analyses the interaction between human rights and contemporary international law. Traditional international law was exclusively inter-state law that mainly sanctioned relations between Western states. On the other hand, the human rights genre has evolved differently and unlike traditional international law, addresses itself to the concerns of state as well as non-state actors. Human rights have had a growing influence on traditional international law to the extent that the interests of individuals, minorities, newly independent states, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), multinationals and other companies are increasingly coming under the spotlight of contemporary international law. Moreover, these new actors have contributed to creating a brand of international law which is articulated within non-diplomatic circles. Lobbyists, national lawyers, judges and even the man on the street increasingly have a greater stake in determining the manner in which international affairs evolve. This is influencing international law to such an extent that several of the traditional premises upon which it was built have to be reappraised. 

Human Rights and Legal Discourse attracts high-quality contributions from all over the world. These analyse the afore-mentioned interaction between human rights and contemporary international law. The aim is to discuss how human rights is influenced and is influencing traditional international public law. Emphases are laid on the incidents of human rights on certain specific domains such as development law, humanitarian law, environmental law, trade law, labour law and criminal law. Special attention is be given to north-south relations.


Two volumes are published every year by Intersentia. Regularly volumes will are devoted to one theme to give room for in-depth analysis and debate. Volumes consist of a number of main contributions (10.000 to 15.000 words), shorter articles (5.000 to 8.000 words) and essay book reviews (5.000 to 8.000 words). HR&ILD also publishes review essays (4.000-8.000 words). Authors of review essays are invited to discuss one or more books and share personal views and opinions on the issue while focussing on the interaction(s) between human rights and other domains of international law.