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Marieke Hopman

Marieke Hopman

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26 februari 2019

Update: The PhD & everything after

26 februari 2019 | By | No Comments

Dear all,

It has been a while since I last updated you on the children’s rights research project, for which I apologize. This is due mostly due to the fact that I have been very busy finishing up the PhD. Last week, I finally sent it to the reading committee . The professors in this committee will over the coming weeks read the thesis and together decide whether or not they think it is good enough to award a PhD degree. If they do, I will have to publicly defend the PhD on 9 May 2019 (provisional date).

If you’re interested, here you can find the PhD’s table of contents, and here you can find the overview of social impact activities of the complete PhD project.

What else happened? I would say two major events deserve an update. First, intern Ambra Borne went to Geneva to tell the delegations of several countries about our research on the child’s right to nationality in the TRNC. You can read

at the UN in Geneva

at the UN in Geneva

about her experiences here. During this visit, Ambra met with many country delegations who she told about the rights of children in the TRNC, hoping that in January they would ask questions about this situation during the review of Cyprus. And during the January UPR session we found out that this had been very effective! Several countries recommended Cyprus to ensure non-discriminatory application of Cypriot nationality law, and some specifically referred to the rights of children.

A second major event is the following: as you may remember, last summer I decided to take some time to write a proposal for NWO funding for a four year research project. Last December we learned that this proposal, about the development rights of children living in conflict situations, has been awarded a grant!! In total, the sum for the project is € 788.666. In terms of theory and methodology, this project will be a follow-up of the PhD research, whereby in order to understand children’s rights violations, an understanding of all norms involved (legal & non-legal) will become part of the picture (see images below). Through this framework, children’s development rights will be researched in four different countries, together with several NGO partners and local research.

theory2

theoretical partThese changes of course mean that my mission of researching children’s rights will continue, while it will also change shape and form. I am hoping for more people to become involved, so that the project can grow, slowly, and more people will be educated and learn to research children’s rights by looking at law through children’s eyes. I believe there is a lot we can do in the world and it has only just started!

Some practical changes, for example in terms of finances as well as working with partners and other researchers, will have to take shape over the coming months. I promise to update you again soon. But first, I am going to enjoy my upcoming HOLIDAY :-)!

Marieke Hopman

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25 november 2018

Update: sharing our research results in Cyprus, part 4

25 november 2018 | By | No Comments

Dear all,

Please note that this message comes with a few weeks delay because unfortunately after writing this, I accidentally left my laptop at Istanbul airport, and only got it back today…

I (Marieke) am writing to you from Istanbul airport, on my way back to Maastricht. Over the past weeks we have been in Cyprus to share our research results. The most important goal was to make sure that our findings were brought to the attention of those for whom it could be of use, and to hopefully start a discussion about the rights of children living in northern Cyprus. Did we succeed?

In some sense we did. In total, we had meetings at 7 different embassies and consulates, all MPs in the TRNC parliament received a copy of the report, we shared our findings with different ministries, with 3 NGOs and with the EU and the UN. The research appeared in 3 different newspapers and on the radio.

Ambre presenting the research findings to international students who have children in the TRNC

Ambre presenting the research findings to international students who have children in the TRNC

The audience: a large group of international student-parents!

The audience: a large group of international student-parents!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ended our trip with two events which we organized. First, Ambra presented the research findings to a group of international students. We discussed what rights their children have, and how they can(not) access their rights. There was a very powerful discussion after the presentation. Lastly, we ended our trip with a presentation of the results in the Home for Cooperation, in the UN buffer zone. The event was very well attended and again there was a lot of discussion. It was great to notice that people attended the presentation from both sides (north and south), and that the audience was very diverse.

Marieke presenting the research in the Home for Cooperation

Marieke presenting the research in the Home for Cooperation

Emine Çolak, former minister of foreign affairs: "The research gives us new glasses. To not look at the conflict first, but first at the rights of children."

Emine Çolak, former minister of foreign affairs: “The research gives us new glasses. To not look at the conflict first, but first at the rights of children.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will it make a difference? Now, of course, it is up to the people in northern Cyprus to do something with the research. They can decide to use it to claim their rights, or to organize better care for their children. They could try and do something about the persistent discrimination happening on both sides of the island. We already saw some people sharing the report on social media and sharing what they learned. We will see whether they follow up, since now it is in their hands.

Can coming to throw a bucket of water after me

Can coming to throw a bucket of water after me

On the last day, I saw our friend Can, whom I gave the last Turkish research reports, to distribute after we left. When I was back in the car and driving away, suddenly Can showed up, carrying a bucket. “It is a Turkish Cypriot tradition,” he said, “when someone leaves on a long journey, to throw water at them, so that they may come back.” And so I drove away, with the sound of water splashing behind me in the street.

Marieke Hopman

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11 oktober 2018

Update: sharing our research findings in Cyprus, part 3

11 oktober 2018 | By | No Comments

A very quick update, as I’m very tired and would like to stop working. However I wanted to quickly let you know how we are doing. Over the past few days me and Ambra have been running around from meeting to meeting, often splitting up so that we can do two at the same time. We’ve met with journalists, politicians, embassies, UNDP and people who participated in the research.

Meanwhile we are organizing two events: one this Saturday for international students in TRNC, to discuss with them the rights of children of international students in the TRNC; the second next Monday. The latter is a public event where we hope people from two sides (north and south) will come to discuss the rights of children living in north Cyprus with us.

Below some pictures!

Visiting the Canadian Consulate

Visiting the Canadian Consulate

Visiting the German embassy - the ambassador was so happy to receive some "Stroopwafels" (Dutch cookies)!

Visiting the German embassy – the ambassador was very happy to receive some “Stroopwafels” (Dutch cookies)!

Live on Radio Mayis to discuss our research!

Live on Radio Mayis to discuss our research!

Ambra talking about the research in a national newspaper

Ambra talking about the research in a national newspaper

Warmly welcomed by a very nice team at the Dutch embassy

Warmly welcomed by a very nice team at the Dutch embassy

 

 

 

Marieke Hopman

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8 oktober 2018

Marieke Hopman

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6 oktober 2018

Northern Cyprus: Sharing research findings II

6 oktober 2018 | By | No Comments

From 4-16 October Marieke and Ambra are in Cyprus to share the results of the research on the child’s right to nationality in the TRNC. On this blog, you can follow our adventures! If you haven’t yet, you can sign up on the right to get automatic e-mails when there is a new update –> 

Thursday night (4 Oct) we arrived in Cyprus, with a mission to share the findings of our research with as many people as possible, and in particular those who can make a difference for children living in the TRNC (politicians, journalists, international actors). So far people are so excited about the research, we are welcomed everywhere almost as heroes! At the same time it is challenging, because everything goes “Cyprus style” (which means: take it easy, no rush, but also: you can speak to anyone, even the president, if you know someone who knows him). In addition, we’re a little anxious as to how people will react, both in the north and the south, because the topic of nationality is a VERY sensitive topic.

The reports

The reports

For example, on Friday we met with the NGO “Home for Cooperation“, who want to host an event (happening 15th of October) during which we present our research and have a discussion with the audience. We hope that people from both sides (north and south of Cyprus) will attend. During the event, will not be allowed to use “TRNC” or even “the North” but instead have to speak about “the northern part of Cyprus”.

 

Picking up the 350 research reports

Picking up the 350 research reports

On Saturday we picked up the printed reports. There are 350 copies in total: 250 in Turkish, 150 in English. And they look great!! After that we met with the TRNC Minister of Education. Because we found in our research that who gets (good quality) education and who does not is very much connected to the ethnicity and nationality of the child, we wanted to talk to him to share our findings. We weren’t sure whether he would be interested, but we ended up talking for almost two hours!

With the TRNC Minister of Education (and translator Ali)

With the TRNC Minister of Education

Later in the day we drove to Famagusta to share the reports with journalist Metin Ziya Güngör. We took some photos to go with the article (to pose professionally is still a bit of a challenge…) and he will write about the research, an article which will be sent to, and may be printed by, all newspapers in northern Cyprus. So hopefully this will spread the news.

Taking a picture for the news article

Taking a picture for the news article

On Monday we will publish the report online, so stay tuned for more of our adventures and to read the report…

Marieke Hopman

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21 september 2018

Northern Cyprus: sharing the results 1

21 september 2018 | By | One Comment

Dear all,

It’s time for a new update! Exciting things are happening. I spent most of the summer writing a research proposal for the Dutch science organization NWO, for a follow-up project of 4 years to the PhD. If we get it, it will be another research on children’s rights including 4 case studies, yet this time Bigger and Better: the project includes 5 NGOs, 7 universities and 9 professors. We will get our first reviews in about two weeks, so fingers crossed!TRNC report 1

Second, over the summer me and Ambra have been working on the report on the child’s right to nationality in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. report 3Below you see a preview of some of the pages of the English version, it will also be published in Turkish.

 

You may be wondering why it looks so nice? This kind of design must be very expensive? Well, no! What happened: some time ago, I did a radio interview about my research on Dutch national radio. Rik Hurks, CEO of marketing & communications bureau Mannen van 80, heard this interview and was moved by the story. He got in touch and turned out to be very enthusiastic about the research project and wanted his company to do some social responsibility. And so for a very low wage they are designing this report so beautifully – and not just that, they are also making an online quiz! Mannen van 80 are also part of the NWO application so I hope we get to work together much more in the future.

From 4-16 October me and Ambra will be in Cyprus to share the research results. We are currently setting up a program which hopefully includes meeting with political actors (national and international), media engagement and discussion events. To be continued…!

report 2

Marieke Hopman

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13 juli 2018

First output research on child’s right to nationality in TRNC

13 juli 2018 | By | No Comments

Dear all, I am very happy and proud to share with you our first official output of our research on the child’s right to nationality in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus! This document is a UPR shadow report to the UPR of the Republic of Cyprus. Basically, every four years, every member state of the UN has to report to the UN Human Rights Council to say how they are doing on protecting human rights in their country. To get good information on the human rights situation in states, the Council also asks NGOs to write so-called “shadow reports”. Together with the NGO Institute for Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI), yesterday we submitted a report on the rights of Turkish Cypriots to a nationality, and on subsequent (violation of) human rights resulting from whether or not someone has a certain nationality. Please note that, because this submission is about human rights in Cyprus as related to the Republic of Cyprus, other issues with right to nationality for people living in North Cyprus are not part of this report. Members of the research team are: Ambra, Céline, Florentina, Nikki and Raphaela. I (Marieke) have been leading the research. UPR Cyprus ISI UM researchers

Marieke Hopman

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18 juni 2018

On making choices and the continuation of the project

18 juni 2018 | By | One Comment

Dear all,

As I wrote to you in March, since I am in the last phase of the PhD research, the time has come to look beyond and see what I can do next. It is a bit of a two-faced experience; on the one hand, I want to focus all my attention to reporting on and bringing attention to the TRNC case study, and to finishing the PhD book. On the other hand, I have to think about my next project, for otherwise I am going to find myself without work once the PhD is finished.

With Nobel Peace Prize-nominee Jaha Dukureh, discussing Female Genital Mutiliation

With Nobel Peace Prize-nominee Jaha Dukureh, discussing Female Genital Mutiliation

It is not so much about me having a job as it is about being able to continue my research on children’s rights. I honestly feel like I have only just started, and there is a sound basis yet also so much more work still needs to be done! However, to be able to do so, I need at least a basic income and some kind of institutional support. Basically: I need a contract.

In March I told you I’d applied for a job at the law faculty where I now work, for a position of empirical legal researcher, which I thought could be a good way in. Unfortunately, I was not even invited for an interview. So now what? Although I know I have some research money left and I also have some opportunities to raise more, I just don’t know exactly what shape or form to give it all. I started looking for external opportunities (mostly job openings at other universities). At the same time, I worked together with my intern on processing the data from the TRNC case, we wrote a recommendation (UPR) to the UN Human Rights Committee which we are hoping to submit together with two NGOs, and I finished the three courses/projects I was teaching.

Did a nice 25min interview about my research on children's rights, on national radio (Radio 1)!

Did a nice 25min interview about my research on children’s rights, on national radio (Radio 1)!

Then two new opportunities presented itself; on the one hand, I was asked to teach certain courses next semester for my department. As part of this would fall outside of my current contract, they would have to give me one. It’s not yet clear what shape or form this would take – a teaching-only contract was an option, but I refused that because I want to do research. Then, secondly, I was approached by some other colleagues about a research proposal; apparently, Maastricht University has the opportunity to apply for funding with NWO on a program that is specifically meant for interdisciplinary research on SDGs (“Sustainable Development Goals”). First I was asked if I wanted to join as a post-doc researcher, to spend my time researching legal education in different low- and middle income countries. I said no, because I want to study children’s rights. Later, they came back to me and offered the opportunity to write a proposal myself. What a chance!!!

I proposed the subject of “children’s rights in unrecognized states” and the team agreed. So I decided to throw around my whole schedule – because the deadline for the proposal is in September -, to delay the PhD by a month and spend a month on this proposal. The best thing about this call is that not only does it give a chance to do this kind of valuable research, but it also gives a budget for implementation of the research results!! The worst thing about it is that even if you spend a lot of time writing a good proposal, it might get turned down.

There is little information about children's rights in unrecognized states

There is little information about children’s rights in unrecognized states

In this proposal, I have to decide how much time I’d like to spend on the project and how much time I might want to spend on teaching, management, communication (writing these blogs, for example). It is all quite overwhelming and to be honest, at the moment I don’t really know which way to go from here. This also because many things are uncertain, and I haven’t even given you the full picture yet – I am also written into another research proposal and may get a post-doc position there, I am also asked to teach several courses, some of which directly, some “maybe”, and this has to be decided around now, the university board is also considering a proposal which I wrote with a team for a Platform which, if granted, I would manage… -.

Today I went for a long bike ride, to calm down and clear my mind. I did not find an answer yet, but what I did realize is this: any decision I take has to be guided by my mission: to support children all over the world. More specifically: to use research to understand why children are made to suffer at the hands of authorities (operationalized as “situations where children’s rights are violated”) and what can be done about this; and: through research, to make the voices heard of the most invisible, marginalized children in this world.

Last meeting with "my" team of MA students  (I mentored them) who researched the child's right to education in the NL for children without legal residence permit, before they present their report to NGO Defence for Children..

Last meeting with “my” team of MA students (I mentored them) who researched the child’s right to education in the NL for children without legal residence permit. Next month they will present their report to NGO Defence for Children.

My mission is not to please my bosses. It is not to be liked by colleagues. It is not to bring money to the institution. It is not to become a successful academic (at least not in the classical sense). It is not to earn a lot of money. These may be side-effects, and maybe pleasant side-effects, but they are not the goal. I want to make a change. I want to use research to understand why children are made to suffer at the hands of authorities. And it should be that mission guiding me in the tricky choices that I will have to make over the coming months.

Marieke Hopman

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3 april 2018

Update: March 2018

3 april 2018 | By | No Comments

March has been a very intense month, both in highs and lows. Quite a few good things happened (most strikingly I won a prize and was interviewed by two national newspapers) but I felt like I didn’t really have the time to enjoy any of it, because things have been very busy. This is of course completely my own fault because I am so excited about the research, and I find it terribly hard to say saying nono when interesting opportunities come up. And so at some point, namely right now, I find myself running around as, like the Dutch say, “a chicken with no head”. I feel guilty for not being able to give the attention to my family and friends that they deserve, for not taking care of the household, for not doing my work up to standard because of no time…So I started making a plan for 2018, and now I feel back on top of my game (and I will start saying no!).

Also: coming month I will be applying for a position that has come up at the Maastricht University Law Faculty, namely the position of empirical legal researcher. If I do get this job, this might mean that the financial situation of the project changes. Ideally, in that case, I would get the university to pay for the last part of the PhD, and I would be able to use the money still in the fund to create many new research projects on children’s rights. More on this next month…

ups

  • Spent a week in the field, doing research on the child’s right to a nationality (Ambra stayed the whole month)
  • Good news: I am selected to be one of the new KNAW Faces of science!
  • Was interviewed by national newspaper Trouw twice; one time about homeschooling in the Netherlands (my first casestudy), which is on the rise, and once about what is necessary for education in the Central African Republic, and where donor money goes (my second case study)
  • Have been selected to speak at the Conference on Law & Development at Leiden University
  • So far the proposal for a Maastricht Platform for Community-Engaged Research, of a working group that I am leading, is getting support from almost all deans of Maastricht University. Will send it to the university board next week…fingers crossed!

     
     

    adult child

downs

  • My draft article on CAR’s legal orders was rejected by a peer-reviewed journal. The reviewer wrote, among other things, that it seemed like possibly my sampling of respondents was flawed and that s/he ‘at times could not help feeling that the results had been retrofitted to the author’s prior conclusions’. A terrible insult! Of course I had no prior conclusion before going into the CAR (if anything, my hypothesis was that there would be many different legal orders influencing the child’s right to education – which didn’t turn out to be the case)… But the reviewer’s remark might tell me something about how I wrote it all down. Perhaps not clear enough. For now, I have sent the paper in to another peer-reviewed journal, let’s see what they say…
  • Together with Dorris Devocht I am trying to understand how Dutch judges decide whether to try young defendants (age 16-23) according to juvenile or adult criminal law. I totally underestimated how messy this is both in law, in theory and in practice, and consequently how much time and energy analysis takes. See screenshot for only one of many excel sheets…

    screenshot analysis adult child

Marieke Hopman

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7 maart 2018

Update: February

7 maart 2018 | By | No Comments

Dear all,

As promised, I intend to write a monthly update on the ups & downs of the research. So here’s February’s report! Some general developments: the Marble project ended and the Premium project, a new student research project on children’s rights, began. The Premium students will be doing research on access to education for undocumented migrants in the Netherlands. I am mentoring this research project, which I initiated together with NGO Defence for Children.

Other than that, February was mostly a month of writing academic articles (I wrote one completely and started two others), and of starting collaborations around sharing the research on the child’s right to nationality.

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Premium students meeting Marble students for lunch, to share experiences of doing research on children’s rights

 ups

  • Spending a week in Denmark, having time to completely focus on writing an article. Sent it to a journal at the end of the month. Title: “Wait, What are We Fighting About? – Kelsen, Ehrlich and the Reconciliation of Normative Jurisprudence and Sociology of Law”
  • Started collaborative work on two other articles; one with Catalina Goanta on legal orders and blockchain, one with Dorris deVocht on the child/adolescent distinction in Dutch criminal law. So inspiring to work together! (Also I need publications to be able to continue the research I want to do after PhD…)
  • Had a very successful PhD event, “PhD stories” organized by my colleague Madalena Narciso. We came up with this idea because we wanted more senior researchers to share their struggles, ups & downs during their PhD.
  • Shared the research on child’s right to nationality at Tilburg University and ISS in the Hague. They came up with great ideas, feedback, we established future cooperation, and so lovely to see both Laura van Waas (TiU) and Jan Pronk (ISS) again!
  • Made good process on the proposal for a “Maastricht Platform for Community-Engaged Research”. Added a few new people to the working group – which is definitely looking like an A-team now :-)!   
 downs

  • The video of my Pecha Kucha talk “Going Back, Sharing Research, Making a Difference?” was published online. Not sure if I’m happy with the result – looks like I wanted to say too much in too little time.
  • Premium project had a difficult start; one student dropped out before we first met due to personal issues, another fainted several times during our first meeting and had to be picked up by an ambulance. The difficulty is that these talented students do the project in addition to their normal courses, for which they also want to get the best grades. So it gives them a lot of stress. I told the people who selected the students, that maybe they should take mental health in consideration more when selecting. They told me as a mentor I should give them more trust…
    Selfie with Prof. Dr. Jan Pronk (also former minister / UN special servant)

    Selfie with Prof. Dr. Jan Pronk (also former minister / UN special servant)

Clearly, February was a good month!