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Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights publishes two new Working Papers by UCC LLM Graduates

23 Mar 2021

The papers – on the timely topics of refugee deterrence policies, and climate change and human trafficking – were written by LLM International Human Rights Law and Public Policy graduates Niamh Collins and Camryn Jung, who were conferred online at UCC’s spring graduation ceremony earlier this month.

Working Paper No. 12 in the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Right’s (CCJHR) Legal Research Series is entitled “Ireland’s Refugee Deterrence Policies” and was written by Niamh Collins. The paper explores methods of deterrence (referring in Niamh’s research to punitive restrictions which only take place once an asylum seeker has reached the state in which they intend to seek protection), and how they manifest in Ireland.

Niamh Collins

Niamh’s background working with refugee advocacy services in Dublin inspired her choice of research topic. Her paper focuses on on restrictions on access to the labour market, protracted administrative procedures, limitations on family reunification, and direct provision, which were all issues that she came across on a daily basis in the course of her advocacy work. Niamh elaborates:

I felt then, as I do now, that these procedures simply cause on-going trauma to international protection applicants. I wanted to explore why Ireland chose to implement such policies.

Niamh’s research paper examines Irish asylum procedures, and draws comparison with policies in other European countries, which proved revelatory and alarming in terms of growing anti-refugee sentiment across the continent. Niamh explains:

I had been somewhat familiar with domestic policies around the international protection process in Ireland but I hadn’t previously looked much at the wider European context. As well as investigating EU law more extensively, the research also opened my eyes to the rising levels of populism and anti-refugee sentiment in many parts of Europe. Many countries are now implementing policies of deterrence which seem to be intended to curb inward migration and “push” asylum seekers towards neighbouring countries. Furthermore, during the course of my research, the European Commission launched its “New Pact on Migration and Asylum” which appears to bend to the will of anti-immigration parties across Europe. It presents, in my opinion, an under-ambitious plan for European Asylum policy and seems to be focused on fast-tracking deportations.

Working Paper No. 13 is entitled “Two Sides of the Same Coin: Climate Change and Human Trafficking” and was written by Camryn Jung. The paper considers how the two high profile issues of climate change and human trafficking impact not just the whole world, but each other, focusing on the fact that the industries in which people are labour trafficked are some of the most damaging industries for the environment.

Camryn Jung

Camryn explains further:

In terms of human trafficking, the media really focuses on a particular form – sex trafficking. My research focuses more on the dangers of labour trafficking and opened my eyes up to how many people really have been trafficked. Additionally, I was able to learn more about how China, Brazil, and the United States have been dealing with climate change.

Camryn, who is currently finishing her Juris Doctor at Brooklyn Law School in New York, first became interested in the issue of human trafficking during her undergraduate studies at the University of Delaware, where she took a course in International Criminal Justice. In Camryn’s own words:

In that class we discussed human trafficking at length. This was one of the first times I truly learned about how common trafficking is and I instantly knew this was an area I wanted to focus on. I also have a strong passion for the environment and environmental justice. I wanted to find a topic that allowed me to discuss both issues in depth and while talking with Dr Dug Cubie, he encouraged me to find a connection between the two.

Studying and graduating during a global pandemic

Camryn and Niamh were both undertaking their LLM studies at UCC when the Covid-19 pandemic closed the university’s doors in March 2020. Twelve months on, both students along with their classmates celebrated their graduation from the LLM International Human Rights Law and Public Policy programme at an online ceremony held on Monday 15 March 2021. It was certainly not the year that either of them expected! Niamh reflects:

Switching to online learning was a little strange for everyone. It all seemed to happen very suddenly. I remember a lecturer mentioning that there was a chance the campus might close (although they thought it would be unlikely). Next thing you know, we never came back for an in-person class! Luckily, I had completed the majority of my modules already.

I watched the graduation ceremony at home with my family and kept in contact with classmates throughout the day on social media and over Zoom. It was nice to mark the day, but disappointing not to have an opportunity to meet with our friends and lecturers on campus.

For Camryn, it was particularly disappointing to not get the opportunity to return to Cork to celebrate graduation with her classmates. She says:

It was disappointing to finish my LLM online. It was definitely more difficult because classes were pre-recorded, which took away from my interactions with other students. One of my most valuable learning experiences for me at UCC was learning from my classmates through their point-of-view, experiences, and questions about what we were discussing each day. Additionally, I was looking forward to an in-person graduation, not only to be able to return to Ireland, but to be able to reconnect with all of the wonderful people I was able to meet while studying at UCC. I am lucky enough that our program has stayed connected and we had a private virtual get together after the ceremony, but it was not the same as being able to reconnect over a Franciscan Well’s pizza!

What’s next?

Now officially alumni of the UCC School of Law with their LLM degrees and excellent research papers under their belts, we asked Niamh and Camryn about their future career plans.

For Niamh, her LLM experience has helped to enhance the skills needed in her advocacy work:

Researching during the LLM gave me an opportunity to delve more deeply into issues that I had been encountering in my work. I hope to return to advocacy work in either a direct information-giving role, or in a research and policy-shaping capacity. It is hard to say where my career will take me, but I have gained confidence in my knowledge and abilities that I will take with me wherever I end up!

And for Camryn, the LLM in International Human Rights Law and Public Policy will give her an edge as she pursues a career as a human rights lawyer in the US:

I will be graduating [with a Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School] in May 2021 and then will take the July 2021 New York Bar Exam. After this I hope to use my LLM and JD to become a practicing attorney in New York, focusing on human rights law. Not every attorney, especially new attorneys, in the U.S. have an LLM degree, so I hope to use mine to show employers that I have a specialized knowledge in this area of law.

About the CCJHR

The CCJHR seeks to contribute to national and international debates on criminal justice, human rights, and the intersection between the two. It does this through innovative programmes of legal education and training, strategic partnerships with Government, statutory bodies, and civil society organisations worldwide, and through the promotion of cutting-edge interdisciplinary research.

Find out more at

Call for submissions to the Legal Research Working Papers series

The CCJHR Legal Research Working Papers series publishes excellent research in the fields of human rights, crime, justice and law. One of the objectives of the CCJHR is to support the dissemination of research in progress. The Working Paper series is peer-reviewed and edited by the CCJHR. Submissions to the Working Papers series are open to UCC academics, PhD students and research fellows. The series also publishes selected ‘best papers’ from the UCC postgraduate community. For further details, contact

The full series can be found at

Choose the LLM in International Human Rights Law and Public Policy at UCC!

As two of our most recent graduates of the programme, Niamh Collins’ and Camryn Jung’s insights into the LLM in International Human Rights Law and Public Policy are as up-to-date as they come!

Niamh says that the course “attracts extremely passionate students from all around the world”, and that she learned a lot from her classmates. She praises the LLM Programme Director Dr Dug Cubie and her supervisor Dr Fiona Donson for their support, encouragement and engagement with students.

Similarly, Camryn loved “being able to meet and learn from other students around the world.” She enjoyed the collaborative nature of the programme and how “each class really allowed every student to discuss their views on an issue and draw on their personal background to enhance the class’s learning”. A key highlight of Camryn’s time in Cork was the people:

As an international student, I was worried about meeting other people when I moved, it is one thing to move across the ocean, but another to do it alone. I met people from all over the world. I met people from Ireland, Italy, Uganda, Canada, and even a girl who grew up 20 minutes away from me in the U.S. The people I met while at UCC truly made my experience what it was.

Whether you’re a prospective international student like Camryn, or Cork is closer to home for you like Niamh, the LLM in International Human Rights Law and Public Policy could be right up your street. If their research and all-round experience at the UCC School of Law has piqued your interest, you can find out more about the programme and apply via:

UCC School of Law offers a range of postgraduate programmes across numerous legal areas. Take the next step in your career today via:  

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