Publication profile

A list of policy, research and institutional publications authored by Sean Lees that address global challenges and their relationship to the rule of law, access to justice, and sustainable peace and development.

I apply a unique methodology towards drafting policy and research publications which results in refreshing perspectives, sound analysis, and well-reasoned solutions. See below a partial list of my publications.

Born of the Islamic State:

Addressing Discrimination in Nationality Provision through a Rule of Law Framework

Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion

December 2016

The steady march towards the liberation of Iraq from the control of Islamic State (ISIS) is raising concerns for the children born of sexual slavery and forced marriages. How can we guarantee access to nationality for the children of women abducted by ISIS? What role might gender discrimination play in denying these children the right to nationality and how can it be addressed? This paper argues that the rule of law provides a conceptual framework to help rationalize and strengthen approaches towards addressing statelessness, particularly in cases involving discrimination in nationality provisions.

Shifting the Paradigm:

Rule of Law and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


September 2016

Writing on behalf of Irene Khan, Sean Lees analyzes the concept of rule of law as an instrument of legal and social justice, focusing on the relationship between rule of law and human rights from the perspective of development then highlighting the place of rule of law in the 2030 Agenda. Rule of law, properly understood and implemented, advances the three pillars of sustainable development—economic, social, and environmental—and reinforces their interlinkage through (1) legal and institutional reforms, (2) protection of rights, (3) access to justice, and (4) legal empowerment strategies.

Doing Justice to Sustainable Development: INtegrating the rule of law into the post-2015 development agenda

International Development Law Organization

July 2014

This IDLO flagship report demonstrates how and why the rule of law is indispensable to reaching sustainable development objectives. Inclusivity, equity and justice are at the core of the sustainable development paradigm, driving our collective efforts to correct artificial and harmful imbalances in economic growth, to remedy the miseries of lives lived in extreme poverty, and to ensure that resources and natural habitats are preserved for future generations. As this report demonstrates, the rule of law is key in this regard, placing a much needed but often overlooked focus on adopting sound and fair laws and policies, on building the capacity of institutions, and on empowering the poor and marginalized through a greater awareness and realization of their rights.

Sharing and Exploring Pacific Approaches to Dialogue: A Compendium of Case Studies from Pacific Island Countries

UN Development Programme

May 2015

Sean Lees drafted case studies on peacebuilding and dialogue practices in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands as a part of a wider compendium for UNDP’s Strengthening Capacities for Peace and Development in the Pacific project.

UN Secretary-General Report to the Security Council on the Rule of law and transitional justice in conflict societies (S/2011/634)

Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General

October 2011

United Nations rule of law initiatives are indispensable to international peace and security. In conflict and post-conflict settings the United Nations assists countries in establishing the rule of law by ensuring accountability and reinforcing norms, building confidence in justice and security institutions, and promoting gender equality. The Organization is increasingly focused on emerging threats to the rule of law, such as organized crime and illicit trafficking, and the root causes of conflict, including economic and social justice issues.

Annual Report: Global Programme on Strengthening the Rule of Law in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations

UN Development Programme

March 2010

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched its Global Programme on the Rule of Law based on Justice and Security in Conflict/Post-Conflict Situations in January 2008. The 2009 Annual report consolidated the Programme’s early findings in this second annual report, lifting its profile among international organizations as a lead provider of rule of law support in conflict and post-conflict settings. In doing so, UNDP, through its Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), also widened interest and intensified discussions around the rule of law as an important component of the UN’s peace and security mandate.

Access to justice and the rule of law

Forced Migration Review

April 2008

This article argues that due to the nature of displacement and encampment – entailing resource scarcity, geographic isolation, restricted mobility and curtailed legal rights – refugee victims of crime often have inadequate legal recourse. The article was written following a first-of-its-kind baseline study of justice and security issues in three refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar border.