Rhiannon Neilsen is currently a PhD Candidate in International Relations at the University of New South Wales, Canberra. In 2017, she was awarded a UNSW Scientia Scholarship to undertake her doctoral studies with Professor Toni Erskine under the project heading ‘New Technologies and the Ethics of War’. Rhiannon’s thesis examines the potential for cyber-capabilities to protect vulnerable populations from mass atrocity crimes – that is, genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and war crimes – in the 21st century. Specifically, it asks: Can cyber-capabilities can be used effectively and ethically by states, international organisations, and non-state actors (such as transnational corporations, private military contractors, and individuals) to support Pillars 2 and 3 of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)?
Rhiannon’s research interests include atrocity prevention, moral and political philosophy, conflict in the cyber-realm, norms in international relations, human rights, and R2P. Her published work has been on early warning signs and perpetrator motivations for genocide, moral injury, and political approaches to human rights.