Professor Tomoya Obokata
BA (Southern California), MA (Essex), LLM (Sussex), PhD(Nottingham)
I joined York Law School in September 2022 as Professor of International Human Rights Law. I previously taught at Keele University, Queen’s University Belfast and University of Dundee.
I hold BA in International Relations (University of Southern California), MA in Theory and Practice of Human Rights (University of Essex), LLM in International Criminal Law (University of Sussex), and PhD in Law (University of Nottingham).
I am an expert on transnational organised crime and modern slavery and have a number of publications in these areas. In the past I worked as an independent expert for entities including the UK Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, the International Organisation for Migration, the European Union, and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime.
Currently I serve as Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms Slavery for the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. In this role, I produce thematic reports to the Council and the United Nations General Assembly, conduct country visits, respond to allegations of human rights violations and engage with a number of stakeholders formally and informally with a view to enhancing responses to contemporary forms of slavery globally.
My main research interests are International Human Rights Law, International/Transnational Criminal Law & Justice, and Refugee/Migration Law.
Within these broad areas, my focus has been on transnational organised crime generally, and modern slavery in particular. I am interested in how international standards relating to these crimes are implemented in practice at the national level. I regularly conduct evidence-based research on State practice in responding to these crimes, often from a comparative perspective. My role as the UN Special Rapporteur also has allowed me to explore issues such as the impact of COVID-19, the role of organised criminal group, and victimisation of vulnerable groups such as displaced persons and minorities in modern slavery.
I also have experience in funded research, recently leading a project exploring good practice in addressing modern slavery during the COVID-19 pandemic as the Principal Investigator (funded by AHRC/Modern Slavery PEC). Previously I led a large AHRC project on the action against transnational organised crime in the island of Ireland (2012-2014). I am part of the AHRC Peer Review College and regularly review funding applications for other entities such as ESRC and the European Union.