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Miss Dara Eisen

Member of the Durham Law School


Dara is a full-time PhD candidate at Durham Law School. She gained her first-class hons LLB from Liverpool John Moores University where she returned during the Covid-19 Pandemic to teach online seminars. After her undergraduate degree in Liverpool Dara joined Durham law school’s LLM program in International Law and Governance for which she obtained a distinction for her efforts. She has taught undergraduate level EU Constitutional Law at Durham University and is also a law tutor with the Durham University International Study Centre teaching on the International Foundations Year and International Pre-Masters Programme. During her time in education Dara has been active member in various societies and continues to be involved in extra-circular responsivities such as being a student ambassador for the UK’s animal law charity A-Law. She is also a global advisor at Mazeltov – Innovation and Justice, a think tank run by early career professionals, and is the chair of their mentorship programme. Dara’s key research interests include international law, international human rights law, and culture.

Thesis Synopsis

Dara’s thesis seeks to reconsider the international legal approach to ‘harmful’ cultural practices. She explores how protecting individuals from harm and respecting cultural divergences can be at odds with one another where a cultural practice causes a type of harm.

Dara focuses on three specific case studies where this takes place:

  • Female Genital Cutting, a cultural practice which alters the genitals of females, often as a coming-of-age celebration.
  • Male Circumcision, where male genitalia is altered, often for religious ritualistic reasons and,
  • Whaling, where whales are hunted as part of a cultural practice.

Through the exploration and comparison of these case studies, the analysis of harm, and of western representation in international human rights law (IHRL) Dara will aim to propose a new approach to clashes between IHRL and culture. She hopes to inspire human rights practitioners and lawmakers to better balance the respect for culture and the mitigation of harm in IHRL.