RUB Research School

Associate Doctoral Candidate Robin Ramsahye

Law/Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV)

The Possibility of an International Legal Land Rights Framework

The allocation of land has shaped the history and structure of societies over millennia. Currently, land rights are receiving unprecedented levels of attention in international law. Land is increasingly seen as an emerging issue in human rights law, in large part due to the phenomenon of “land grabbing” and ensuing problems of forced migration. Land evictions and the dispossession of people from lands they depend on have prompted large numbers to leave their lands for fear of economic hardship or violence, mostly in the global south.
This project explores the possibility of an international legal framework to accommodate a land-rights related interplay between legal fields such as international human rights law, international environmental law or international economic law.
It addresses whether international law can and should regulate the relations of the multiplicity of stakeholders in land amidst competing notions of land as an economic asset, human right or key aspect of environmental protection. Is a global land rights system desirable and, if so, what would a “just” system entail? In this context, the thesis particularly scrutinizes current attempts to recognize a “human right to land” to protect vulnerable populations and examines its potential to tackle the concrete question of forced migration due to landlessness.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Pierre Thielbörger

About Robin Ramsahye

Having graduated from the Hildegardis Gymnasium Hagen in 2007, I studied law at Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) and Sorbonne Law School Paris (Université Paris 1), graduating in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Since 2015, I have been a research associate and PhD student at RUB‘s Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV). My PhD project addresses the role of land rights for vulnerable populations, especially with regard to displacement.

07/2017-06/2020 SYLFF PhD Scholarship
07/2015-07/2019 International Realization Budget of RUB Research School in
support of PhD project
11/2011-09/2013 Scholarship of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation
(Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes) for parts of undergra
duate law studies and a graduate study programme (Master
2, France)
09/2010-04/2011 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition:
German National Champion Award, German National Best
Oralist Award, Advanced Rounds Team in International
Rounds, Washington, D.C. (Memorial award: 13th out of 123)
09/2009-02/2010 Sponsorship of a semester at University of Oklahoma School
of Law by RUB’s International Office (MAUI-UTRECHT Net


  • Book Review: „Research Methods in Human Rights - A Handbook“, Edward Elgar Publishing 2018, Humanitäres Völkerrecht (HuV), Issue 1, 2019 Bofax: „Der Fall Sami. A: Zwischen „Abschiebung“ und „Zurückholung“, No. 511D, 31 July 2018
  • Blog Post: „The Human Right to Land, A Case of Too Many Rights Spoiling the Broth or a Recipe for Justice?“, Völkerrechtsblog, 2 November 2016
  • Article: „Hybrid Warfare: zwischen Cyber-Attacken und Manipulation von Informationen“,
  • together with Pierre Thielbörger, Die Friedenswarte, Issue 1-2, 2015.

As a student, I was a member of the „“Imprisonment Group““, led by Professor Feltes of RUB‘s School of Law. For a maximum of three semesters, members visited a group of prisoners to discuss social and legal issues every two weeks. Since 2015 I have been a member of the „Bochumer Flüchtlingshilfe“ (Student Refugee Aid), which supports refugees with translations and accompanies them in navigating their initial steps in Germany (paperwork, doctors appointments etc.). Within the SYLFF Mikrokolleg on Forced Migration, we are currently setting up workshops for pupils and public discussion forums to engage with the public in on problems of Forced Migration relating to Germany.

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