All research staff – University of Copenhagen

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Céline E J L Brassart Olsen

Céline E J L Brassart Olsen

Research Assistant, PhD Student

Current research

The Intersection of International Public Health and Human Rights Law in Obesity Prevention: Parallelism, Conflict or Complementarity?

The project explores the use of international law for obesity prevention, with a focus on the intersection between international public health law and human rights law, particularly the rights to health and adequate food. Obesity rates have been increasing throughout the world, and legal and regulatory interventions are emerging at global level to address the complex and multiple causes of obesity. However the measures adopted in this area by the leading international public health agency, the World Health Organization, have been criticized for their piecemeal approach and lack of legal robustness. Meanwhile, the human rights community has started to tackle the issue of obesity and to point out the human rights implications of obesity. Yet the interactions between the two regimes have been limited. Therefore, this project looks at the possible synergies between international public health law and human rights, their limits, and the extent to which such synergies could be used to strengthen the global regulatory approach to obesity prevention. It also explores the possible conflicts between the two approaches – for example, how the rights to freedom of speech and conduct business can be used to challenge obesity prevention interventions, and to which extent such conflicts could hinder the synergies between the two regimes. In order to inform these questions, the project uses the theory of regime interaction and makes a comparative analysis with the international legal developments in the field of tobacco control.

Céline’s project is part of the interdisciplinary research project Governing Obesity funded by the University of Copenhagen Excellence Programme for Interdisciplinary Research (2016). Governing obesity was set up to provide novel means for governing obesity and its consequences via effective interventions at the societal and individual level. 

Biography

As part of her PhD, Céline taught a Master Course in Health and Human Rights and was a visiting researcher at the O'Neill Institute for Global and National Health Law at Georgetown University. Prior to her PhD, Céline worked as a legal consultant for the World Health Organization on various projects, ranging from the adoption of the general policy strategy for WHO/Europe (Health2020) to the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control within the European region. She worked as a legal and policy advisor for the Smoke Free Partnership in Brussels, where she focused on the revision of the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive. She also worked as a legal consultant for Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids in Washington DC. Previously, she was an Associate at the law firm Dechert LLP in New York City, where she is admitted to the Bar.

She holds a Masters in International Legal Studies (LL.M.) from American University, and a dual degree in English and French Laws (Bachelor of Law/Maîtrise) from the University of Essex (UK) and Université Paris Ouest Nanterre (France).

Areas of interest

Global health law; Human rights; Non-communicable diseases; Tobacco control; Obesity prevention; EU law; International law

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