Dr Rachel Ibreck

Staff details

Position Lecturer in Politics and International Relations
Email r.ibreck (@gold.ac.uk)
Dr Rachel Ibreck

Rachel’s research centres on the politics of human rights, justice and civil society in the context of conflict and genocide, principally in Africa. Her expertise in this area is based on interdisciplinary academic research and activist engagement. She is interested in settings which have been sites of atrocities, and laboratories for international interventions in peacekeeping, peacebuilding and humanitarian response. In particular she focuses on the agency of marginalised groups in the pursuit of rights, justice and peace, including through ethnographic and participatory action research methodologies.

Rachel has published on the politics of memory in post-genocide Rwanda, based on PhD research, and is continuing to explore the relationship between mourning, identity and rights after or during mass violence. Another stream of research focuses on land conflict, including transnational and local resistance to ‘land grabbing’ in Africa. She has also worked on everyday experiences of justice amid conflict in South Sudan as part of the Justice and Security Research Programme at LSE.

Academic Qualifications

  • PhD Politics and International Relations, University of Bristol (2009).
  • MSc Social Science Research Methods, University of Bristol (2004).
  • MA Area Studies Africa, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (1995).                 


Rachel was previously based at the London School of Economics in 2014-16, the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London in 2013-14 and the University of Limerick in 2011-13, and has taught peace and conflict, human rights, development, African politics, humanitarianism.

Current teaching:

  • The Politics of Conflict and Peacebuilding in Africa: 3rd year undergraduate
  • Global Governance: 2nd year undergraduate
  • The Politics of Human Rights: MA option

Area of supervision

Rachel is interested in supervising topics relating to human rights activism, justice and peacebuilding in conflict-affected or post conflict settings, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, and in the use of political ethnography and participatory action research methodologies.

Professional projects

Rachel previously worked in human rights research, most recently as former director of Justice Africa. She continues to collaborate with practitioners – a current initiative involves developing an archive of court observations in South Sudan.

Recent Publications

Rachel Ibreck (2015) A Right to Land? Activism against land grabbing in Africa’, in Advocacy in Conflict, Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism, Alex de Waal (ed) London: Zed Books.

Rachel Ibreck (2013) ‘International Constructions of National Memories: The Aims and Effects of Donor Support for Genocide Remembrance in Rwanda’, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 7:2, pp. 149-169.

Rachel Ibreck and Alex de Waal, (2013) ‘Hybrid Social Movements in Africa’, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 31:2, pp. 303-324.

Rachel Ibreck (2012) ‘The Time of Mourning: The Politics of Commemorating the Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda’ in Philip Lee and Pradip Thomas (eds) Public Memory, Public Media, and the Politics of Justice, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 98-120.

Rachel Ibreck (2010) ‘The Politics of Mourning: Survivor Contributions to Memorials in Post-Genocide Rwanda’, Memory Studies, 3:4, pp. 330-343.

Other interests

Rachel is interested in collaborations with civil society activists in Africa on research of mutual concern. This working paper co-authored with Naomi Pendle (2016) highlights initial findings from a partnership to develop an archive of customary and statutory court observations in South Sudan: Customary Protection? Chiefs’ Courts as Public Authority in UN Protection of Civilians Sites in South Sudan

She is also exploring new ways to make research findings accessible to wider audiences. This cartoon on Seeking Justice in South Sudan co-authored with Victor Ndula, Godfrey Bulla and Alex de Waal, (2015) is based on participatory action research on a land dispute in Juba, South Sudan.



Ibreck, Rachel . 2019. South Sudan's Injustice System: Law and Activism on the Frontline. London: Zed Books. ISBN 9781786993397

Edited Journal

Ibreck, Rachel ; McCorley, Ciara and Lodge, Tom, eds. 2013. Social Movements and Political Change in Africa, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 31(2). 0258-9001

Book Section

Ibreck, Rachel . 2018. Victims and Survivors from Cyangugu, Rwanda: The Politics of Testimony After Genocide. In: Vincent Druliolle and Roddy Brett, eds. The Politics of Victimhood in Post-conflict Societies, Comparative and Analytical Perspectives. Palgrave, pp. 301-325. ISBN 978-3-319-70202-5

Ibreck, Rachel and de Waal, Alex. 2018. A Human Security Strategy for the European Union in the Horn of Africa. In: Mary Kaldor; Iavor Rangelov and Sabine Selchow, eds. EU Global Strategy and Human Security Rethinking Approaches to Conflict. Routledge. ISBN 9781138098961

Ibreck, Rachel . 2017. Contesting Dispossession: Land rights activism in Gambella, Ethiopia and Pujehun, Sierra Leone. In: Dip Kapoor, ed. Against Colonization and Rural Dispossession. London, Uk: Zed Books, pp. 251-275. ISBN 9781783609444

Ibreck, Rachel . 2016. Memory. In: Tim Allen; Anna Macdonald and Henry Radice, eds. Humanitarianism: a dictionary of concepts. Routledge: Routledge. ISBN 9781857432817

Ibreck, Rachel . 2015. A Right to Land? Activism against land grabbing in Africa. In: Alex de Waal, ed. Advocacy in Conflict: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism. London: Zed Books. ISBN 9781783602728

Ibreck, Rachel . 2012. The Time of Mourning: The Politics of Commemorating the Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda. In: Philip Lee and Pradip Thomas, eds. Public Memory, Public Media and the Politics of Justice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 98-120. ISBN 978-0-230-35406-7

Ibreck, Rachel . 2011. The Resistance Memorial, Bisesero, Rwanda. In: Maggie Andrews; Charlie Bagot-Jewitt and Nigel Hunt, eds. Lest We Forget: Rethinking Cultures of Remembrance. Stroud, Gloucestershire: The History Press, pp. 210-214.


Ibreck, Rachel . 2018. [Review] Investing in Authoritarian Rule: Punishment and Patronage in Rwanda's Gacaca Courts for Genocide Crimes by Anuradha Chakravarty. Inside Rwanda's Gacaca Courts: Seeking Justice after Genocide by Bert Ingelaere Madison. Courts in Conflict: Interpreting the Layers of Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda by Nicola Palmer. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 56(01), pp. 169-174. ISSN 0022-278X

Ibreck, Rachel and Pendle, Naomi. 2017. Community Security and Justice under United Nations Governance: Lessons from Chiefs’ Courts in South Sudan’s Protection of Civilians Sites. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, 6(1), 16. ISSN 2165-2627

Ibreck, Rachel and Pendle, Naomi. 2016. Customary Protection? Chiefs’ Courts as Public Authority in United Nations Protection of Civilian Sites, South Sudan. The Justice and Security Research Programme(34), ISSN 2051-0926

de Waal, Alex and Ibreck, Rachel . 2013. Hybrid social movements in Africa. Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 31(2), pp. 303-324. ISSN 0258-9001

de Waal, Alex and Ibreck, Rachel . 2013. Alem Bekagn: The African Union's accidental human rights memorial. African Affairs, 112(447), pp. 191-215. ISSN 0001-9909

Ibreck, Rachel . 2013. International Constructions of National Memories: The Aims and Effects of Foreign Donors' Support for Genocide Remembrance in Rwanda. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 7(2), pp. 149-169. ISSN 1750-2977

Ibreck, Rachel . 2010. The politics of mourning: Survivor contributions to memorials in post-genocide Rwanda. Memory Studies, 3(4), pp. 330-343. ISSN 1750-6980


Ibreck, Rachel ; Logan, Hannah and Pendle, Naomi. 2017. Negotiating Justice: Courts as local civil authority during the conflict in South Sudan. Discussion Paper. Justice and Security Research Programme, LSE, London.