Accessibility statement

Dr Simon Robins
Research Fellow, ESRC Transformative Justice in Tunisia and Egypt project



I am a humanitarian practitioner and researcher with an interest in transitional justice, humanitarian protection and human rights. My work is driven by a desire to put the needs of victims of conflict at the heart of efforts to address its legacies, and this has led to my engaging with victim-centred and bottom up approaches to addressing histories of violence. In particular I have explored participatory approaches to addressing the legacies of rights violations after conflict. The issue of persons disappeared and missing in armed conflict remains a focus of my work, and I have completed a PhD at the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU) at the University of York in the UK, on the issue and critiquing current practice in transitional justice, and recently published a book on this work (Families of the Missing. A Test for Contemporary Approaches to Transitional Justice). I am also the founder of a blog on the issue of missing persons:

I am currently involved in three research projects at the CAHR:  

   - The ESRC funded Transformative Justice project represents an effort to understand the many agendas that both contributed to the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, and that seek transformation through them, challenging narrow understandings of 'transition' with the views of typical Egyptians and Tunisians.   

  - The NWO funded Transitional Justice Barometer in Tunisia aims to build a research capacity in Tunisia - through a research unit within Tunis-based partner KADEM - to provide prompt, relevant and high quality research that can support Tunisia’s transitional justice process   

  - The ESRC funded Missing Migrants project aims to address the many migrant bodies found on Europe's southern shores during the ongoing crisis in the Mediterranean, that are never identified and are who thus missing to their families. Data is being collected in Italy, Greece and from families of missing migrants to  develop policy recommendations for states and regional bodies.

I have consulted for a range of international agencies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Save the Children UK, the International Centre for Transitional Justice, Avocats sans Frontières and the Institute for Security Studies, among others. I have also worked with the ICRC in Geneva as Advisor on missing persons and their families, and as a delegate in the field in Timor-Leste, Uganda and Nepal.


Selected publications

Robins, S. (2013) Toward Victim-centered Transitional Justice: Nepal and Timor-Leste, Middle East Institute: Middle East-Asia Project (MAP) series on "Pathways to Transitional Justice in the Arab World — Reflections on the Asia Pacific Experience."

Robins, S. (2013) Families of the Missing: A Test for Contemporary Approaches to Transitional Justice, New York / London: Routledge Glasshouse.

Robins, S. (2013) Book Review: Jenny Edkins, Missing: Persons and Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011. Social & Legal Studies 22(1) 133–146.

Robins, S. (2013) 'An empirical approach to post-conflict legitimacy: Victims’ needs and the everyday', Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 7 (1).

Robins, S. and Ram Kumar Bhandari (2012), 'From victims to actors: Mobilising victims to drive transitional justice process', NEFAD: Kathmandu.

Robins, S. (2012), Book review: Gender in Transitional Justice. Edited by Susanne Buckley-Zistel and Ruth Stanley. Hampshire, UK and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Robins, S. (2012) 'Constructing meaning from disappearance: Local memorialisation in post-conflict Nepal', Conference paper presented at ISA 2012, San Diego, 1-3 April 2012.

Robins, S. (2012) 'Transitional justice as an elite discourse: Human rights practice between the global and the local in post-conflict Nepal', Critical Asian Studies, 44(1).

Robins, S. (2012) 'Challenging the therapeutic ethic: A victim-centred evaluation of transitional justice process in Timor-Leste', International Journal of Transitional Justice, 2012, 1-23.

Robins, S. (2011) 'Addressing the needs of families of the Missing:  A test of contemporary approaches to transitional justice', PhD Thesis. York, UK: PRDU, University of York.

Robins, S. (2011) "To Live as Other Kenyans Do": A Study of the Reparative Demands of Kenyan Victims of Human Rights Violations, Nairobi: International Center for Transitional Justice.

H. Wasti, P. Mahat, R. Karn & S. Robins (2011), 'Victims' families needs for truth and justice - Challenges for human rights groups and the Nepali justice system' in We need the truth: Enforced Disappearances in Asia, ECAP, Guatemala.

Robins, S. (2011), 'Towards victim-centred transitional justice: Understanding the needs of families of the disappeared in postconflict Nepal', Int. Journal of Transitional Justice 5(1), March 2011.

Robins, S. (2010), 'Ambiguous loss in a non-Western context: Families of the disappeared in post-conflict Nepal', Family Relations 59 (July 2010): 253–268.

Robins, S. (2010) Book review: "Hugo van der Merwe, Victoria Baxter and Audrey R. Chapman (eds.) Assessing the impact of transitional justice: Challenges for empirical research (Washington USIP Press, 2009)", Millenium Journal of International Studies 39: 588.

Robins, S. (2010) 'Towards a victim-centred transitional justice: Understanding the needs of wives of the disappeared in Nepal', Conference paper presented at ISA 2010, New Orleans, 17-20 Feb. 2010.

Robins, S. (2010), 'An assessment of the needs of families of the Missing in Timor-Leste', York: PRDU. (A briefer version of this report published by ICRC  can be found here: Needs of families of the Missing in Timor-Leste (English) and Tetun, Portuguese, Indonesian.)

Robins, S. (2010),'A participatory approach to ethnographic research with victims of gross human rights violations:  Studying families of the disappeared in post-conflict Nepal', in Ozerdem, A. and Bowd, R. (eds), Participatory Research Methodologies in Development and Post Disaster/Conflict Reconstruction, Ashgate, 2010.

Robins, S. (2009), A Place for Tradition in an Effective Criminal Justice System, Customary Justice in Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia, ISS Policy Brief No 17, October 2009.

Robins, S. (2009), Addressing the Challenges of Law Enforcement in Africa, Policing in Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia,ISS Policy Brief No 16, October 2009.

Robins, S. (2009),Improving Africa's Prisons: Prison Policy in Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zimbabwe ISS Policy Brief No 09, September 2009.

Robins, S. (2009),Failing Young Offenders, Juvenile Justice in Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia,SS Policy Brief No 08, September 2009.

Robins, S. (2009),'Whose voices? Understanding victims' views of transition', Journal of Human Rights Practice, 1(2): 320 (2009).

Robins, S. (2009), 'Restorative approaches to criminal justice in Africa: The case of Uganda', in: The Theory and Practice of Criminal Justice in Africa, (African Human Security Inititaive) ISS Monograph series no. 161, June 2009.

Robins, S. (2009) Book review: "Pouligny, B., S. Chesterman and A. Schnabel (eds.), After Mass Crime: Rebuilding States and Communities, Tokyo: United Nations University Press, (2007). Breen Smyth, M., Truth Recovery and Justice After Conflict: Managing Violent Pasts, New York: Routledge, (2007)", Millennium Journal of International Studies, 37.3, March 2009.

Robins, S. (2009) 'An assessment of the needs of families of the Missing in Nepal', York: PRDU.

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