Book: Families of the Missing

I am a humanitarian practitioner and researcher with an interest in humanitarian protection, human rights and transitional justice. For the last decade I have combined academic research with a consulting practice focusing on policy and programme support with international agencies, including the UN and NGOs, with an emphasis on states emerging from conflict and violence. I am a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York.

My consulting work has sought to provide policy and programmatic support to a range of humanitarian and human rights related programming, including extensive engagement with monitoring and evaluation, and in particular of protection and rule of law. My academic 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 therapeutic approaches to histories of violence. My research has focused on addressing legacies of violence after conflict, taking a critical persperctive on transitional justice and a focus on emancipatory approaches driven by victims. I have tried to drive my research through innovative participatory approaches that see knowledge production and activism as inseparable. I have worked extensively on the issue of persons disappeared and missing in armed conflict, as well as dead and missing migrants at the EU's southern border. I have worked for many years in both Nepal and Tunisia, and have broad experience in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

contact: simon.robins[at]


Recent publications

  • Robins, Simon (2016) Transition but not Transformation: How Nepal's liberal peace fails its citizens, in: Nepal Transition to Peace: A decade of the Comprehensive Peace Accord. Kathmandu: NTTP/ USAID.
  • Robins, Simon (2016) Book Review Unbribable Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Fight for The Commons, Dialogues on Historical Justice and Memory.
  • Robins, Simon (2014) Book Review: Jessica Auchter, The Politics of Haunting and Memory in International Relations, London and New York: Dialogues on Historical Justice and Memory.
  • 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 and Ram Kumar Bhandari (2012), 'From victims to actors: Mobilising victims to drive transitional justice process', NEFAD: Kathmandu.This is the report of a participatory action research project funded by the Berghof Foundation and conducted in collaboration with NEFAD, the National Network of Families of the Disappeared and Missing, Nepal. It aims to understand how victims of conflict can become agents in addressing the legacies of violence. The following documents are available:
  • 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. Pp. 297. Historical Justice and Memory Network.
  • 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. (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. (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.