Dr. Nathan Derejko is the Mauro Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice and Assistant Professor of Law at Robson Hall. Previously, Nathan was the Director of the Human Rights Centre Clinic at the University of Essex, Director of the Masters in Human Rights programme at University College London, a visiting lecturer at the International Institute of International Humanitarian Law in Sanremo Italy, and a doctoral research fellow at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland Galway.  

Nathan’s research and teaching interests span three interrelated fields of international law: international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and collective security and the use of force (jus ad bellum). He has a particular interest in the applicability and application of human rights during armed conflict, counter-terrorism and human rights, climate change and human rights, and the law and practice of non-international armed conflict. Nathan’s research has been widely cited both within and beyond academia, including by the United Nations Development Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the New York City Bar Association, and has been covered by various media outlets, including BBC Radio and Al-Jazeera English. Nathan also has a keen interest in the philosophy of teaching and learning both within and beyond the classroom, and is committed to bridging the theory and practice of human rights to provide students with both the knowledge and skills necessary to become effective human rights practitioners

Nathan remains actively engaged outside of academia, and has previously worked with a number of human rights and humanitarian organizations in Canada, Europe, East Africa and the Middle East, and continues to support various strategic litigation efforts, provide advanced training in international human rights and humanitarian law for military personnel and government agencies, and serves as an expert member for various NGO committees. Nathan currently sits on the Advisory Council of Defend Digital, an NGO focused on children’s rights to privacy and family life. This external engagement outside academia enables Nathan to remain at the forefront of practice and debate in the areas of his research, and translates into practice-informed teaching in the classroom. 

Nathan has a PhD in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the National University of Ireland Galway, and a BA in Political Science from Dalhousie University in Canada.

News and stories

Research areas

    • International human rights law and International humanitarian law 
    • Law/practice of Non-international Armed Conflict
    • Human rights obligations of organized armed groups 
    • Counter-terrorism and human rights 
    • Climate change and human rights 
    • Collective security and the use of force 

Selected publications


  • Identifying Non-International Armed Conflict: International Law and Practice, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press (2023)

Peer Reviewed Articles

  • Human Rights, Mexico’s (Metaphorical?) Drug War and International Law,  (in progress)
  • A Forever War? Rethinking the Temporal Scope of Non-International Armed Conflict, 26 Oxford Journal of Conflict and Security Law 2, 2021. 
  • A Global Battlefield? Drones and the Geographical Scope of Armed Conflict, (co-authored with Noam Lubell), 11 Journal of International Criminal  1, 2013.

Book Reviews

  • International Humanitarian Law and Terrorism, Andrea Bianchi and Yasmin Naqvi, Hart Publishing 2011; Review published, 1 Oxford Journal of Conflict and Security Law 15, 2012.

Blog Posts

  • Temporalities of Protection and the ‘End’ of Non-International Armed Conflict, Armed Groups and International Law, 24 March 2021.
  • The Forever War and the Laws of War, Essex Law Research Blog, 21 January 2021.
  • Professor Hunt’s timely Social Rights are Human Rights – but the UK System is Rigged - is a welcome call to action for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, Human Rights Centre Blog, 18 September 2017. 

Amicus Curiae / NGO Reports / Policy Papers

  • ‘Forcible Transfer and International Humanitarian Law’. Amicus Curiae co-authored with Noam Lubell and attached to the joint petition HCJ 4019/10, Hamoked, the Centre for the Defence of the Individual v the Military Commander of the West Bank, Israeli High Court of Justice, 25 May 2010.
  • ‘Aggressive Urbanism: Urban Planning and the Displacement of Palestinians From and Within Occupied East Jerusalem’, The Civic Coalition for Jerusalem, 2009. 

Conference Papers /Speaking Events

  • ‘The Role of Law During War’, Imperial War Museum of London, 8 August 2019. 
  • Human Rights During Armed Conflict: A Military Perspective, 21 March 2018, University College London 
  • ‘Expanding the Traditional Classroom: Pedagogical Approaches to Clinical Human Rights’. National Centre for State Courts Kosovo, Pristina, Kosovo, 12 June 2014.
  • ‘The Boundaries of the Battlefield’. Conference on the ‘Contemporary Challenges in International Humanitarian Law’, International Committee of the Red Cross, Dublin Ireland, 17 October 2013.  
  • ‘Human Rights and Non-International Armed Conflict’. Workshop on Non-International Armed Conflict organised by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. Sanremo, Italy, 23 May 2012. 
  • ‘Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and International Humanitarian Law’. Conference on Counter-Terrorism Co-operation and International Law organised by Newcastle Law School, 2 May 2012.

Community involvement

    • Expert Member | Defend Digital Me Advisory Council | London, UK| Since 2019 
    • Academic Member | UK Prohibition of Torture Network | London, UK | Since 2017
    • Senior Fellow  | UK Higher Education Academy  | London, UK  | Since 2014
    • Expert Member | Child Soldiers International Advisory Group | London, UK | 2013 - 2016
    • Academic Member | Water Lex Scientific Committee | Geneva, Switzerland | 2012 - 2014
    • Visiting Lecturer | International Institute for Humanitarian Law | Sanremo, Italy |  May 2012.  

Student Comments

  • “Dr. Derejko truly cares about his students” 
  • “Dr Derejko engaged me as an individual and allowed me to step out of my academic comfort  zone. He was completely involved with the students and made me feel worthy of being in the class.”
  • “Nathan peaked my interest in the content. He is a wonderful and engaging professor with so much to offer. I would take another module with him any day- no matter the content.”
  • "Nathan’s seminars are very engaging and challenging - the mock debates/judgements were a  good way to structure the discussion and engage students.” 
  • “Nathan is brilliant- he transformed my understanding of law in war and international  relations. If it wasn't for Nathan I would have less interest in this topic and most likely would not have attended the lectures.”

Awards and grants

  • Canadian Centennial Scholarship Award (2015 -2016).
  • Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust Doctoral Grant (2015).
  • University of Essex Wivenhoe Bursary (2015).
  • University of Essex early career Excellence in Teaching Award  (2014).  
  • Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (Since 2014).
  • Research Grant, $10,000.00 USD, Foundation Open Society Institute. Essex Human Rights Clinic  research project on national surveillance and international human rights law (Dec. 2013).
  • Research Grant, $8,000.00 USD, Foundation Open Society Institute. Essex Human Rights Clinic research project on commissions of inquiry and international human rights law (Dec. 2012).