Students Staff

9 April 2015

Essex expert chairs Amnesty film screening

Filed under: Latest news, What's on — Tags: , , — Communications Office @ 10:22 am
The film poster for Where Should the Birds Fly

The screening of Where Should the Birds Fly takes place on 15 April

Essex researcher Dr Shohini Chaudhuri is lending her human rights expertise to an Amnesty International film screening and discussion exploring the experiences of Palestinians living in Gaza.

The screening of Fida Qishta’s Where Should the Birds Fly on 15 April at Amnesty’s UK offices in London, will be followed by a discussion chaired by Dr Chaudhuri who is also co-organiser of the event.

Dr Chaudhuri, of the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, and the Human Rights Centre, said: “Where Should the Birds Fly is an unusual and important film because it provides a Palestinian perspective that is missing in much of our mainstream news coverage of the Gaza conflicts.

“And while humanitarian concern about Palestinians declines once a fragile ceasefire is declared, the film explores the conflict’s lingering effects and everyday oppression through its focus on the blockade and routine attacks by Israel of which the full-scale military assaults are intensifications.”

The documentary film, released in 2013, tells the story of the 2008-09 Gaza War, and its aftermath through the eyes of its Director Fida Qishta and 10-year-old girl Mona.

Dr Chaudhuri added: “Its emotional heart is the story of Mona, a ten-year-old orphan, whose resilience and ability to speak truth to power belies her years. A powerful testimony of human rights violations by Israel in Gaza, it’s a film that must be seen by everyone.”

The event takes place at Amnesty’s Human Rights Action Centre in London and tickets are available on Eventbrite.


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20 November 2014

Article accolade for professor

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 11:04 am
Dr Julian Burger

Dr Julian Burger

Dr Julian Burger of the Human Rights Centre has been awarded the Peter Lyon Memorial Prize for an article exploring the impact of the colonial heritage on indigenous peoples in the Commonwealth.

Published in August 2013, ‘Indigenous Peoples in Commonwealth Countries: The Legacy of the Past and Present-Day Struggles for Self-Determination’ tries to understand why countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand were the last to accept that indigenous peoples had a right to self-determination.

Founded in memory of a former editor of The Round Table journal, the annual Peter Lyon Memorial Prize is awarded by the journal’s publisher Routledge for the best policy-oriented article on a theme of significance for the contemporary Commonwealth.

Dr Burger, a Visiting Professor at Essex, is a Fellow of the Human Rights Consortium at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in the School of Advanced Study, University of London. He previously worked at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for 20 years during which time he headed the programme on indigenous peoples and minorities.

Read Dr Burger’s article in full (subscribers only).

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14 May 2014

EU ruling has “straightjacketed the librarian”

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , , — Communications Office @ 10:49 am

Researchers writing in our Human Rights Centre blog have criticised the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling that ordinary people have a ‘right to be forgotten.’

Commenting on the landmark Google Spain case, which has ruled that search engines must delete links to “irrelevant” and outdated data on request, Peter Noorland, Chief Executive of the Media Legal Defence Initiative, said: “The vast library [of the internet] is still there. And it is growing. But the indexing is under serious threat – the European Court of Justice has straightjacketed the librarian.”

Essex Professors Steve Peers and Lorna Woods have also written about the judgment, which campaign group Index on Censorship has claimed “violates the fundamental principles of freedom of expression.”

Commenting shortly after the judgment, Professor Peers wrote: “The essential problem with this judgement is that the CJEU concerns itself so much with enforcing the right to privacy, that it forgot that other rights are also applicable.”

He has argued that Google is a victim of its own success,” and that “there is no reason why the passage of time should count against the exercise of the right of freedom of expression.”

Further implications, including those for social media, will be discussed further in the Human Rights Centre blog.

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3 April 2014

New online forum for human rights

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , , — Communications Office @ 2:16 pm
Lorna McGregor, Director of the Human Rights Centre

Lorna McGregor, Director of the Human Rights Centre

Our Human Rights Centre has this week launched a new blog that will help break down disciplinary barriers and provide a forum for our experts to learn more from each other.

In its opening post, Director of the Centre Lorna McGregor and Managing Editor of the blog Daragh Murray highlight how the blog will help “the development of new and innovative solutions to human rights challenges.”

Describing how human rights inherently cut across many different disciplines they add: “translating this desire for inter-disciplinary activity into practice is often difficult to achieve. We all have our own unique histories and experiences: we speak different disciplinary languages. This blog is intended to help break down these disciplinary barriers, and to provide a forum where we can learn about each other’s research, work, and activities.”

The first post, by Professor Michael Freeman of the Department of Government, discusses this inter-disciplinary approach to human rights. Future posts will explore artistic representations of the death penalty (Robert Priseman) and the transition from dictatorship to democracy (Natasha Ezrow).

Keep up-to-date with the discussion through the Human Rights Centre blog.

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20 March 2014

Human rights in Iran remains a “serious concern”

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , — Communications Office @ 2:57 pm
Dr Ahmed Shaheed

Dr Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Iran

Despite acknowledging some progress, Essex-based UN Special Rapporteur Professor Ahmed Shaheed has said that the human rights situation in Iran “remains of serious concern” in his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council.

Speaking in Geneva earlier this week, Professor Shaheed from our School of Law and Human Rights Centre, once again called for an “immediate moratorium” on the death penalty, highlighted press restrictions, and called for the release of all political prisoners. He also raised concerns that Iran’s draft Charter of Citizens’ Rights is unacceptably vague, with too many “overly-broad caveats.”

In his sixth report since accepting the Iran mandate, Professor Shaheed once again focused on the use of the death penalty in cases that do not qualify as the “most serious” crimes. He drew specific attention to the cases of cultural activists Hashem Shabani and Hadi Rashedi and former child bride Farzaneh Moradi.

Speaking about freedom of the press, Professor Shaheed highlighted the forced shut down of publications Bahar and Aseman following the publication of commentary on theological questions. Professor Shaheed said this indicates “that the Government will not even tolerate discussion within the confines of the state religion.”

Professor Shaheed also called for the release of all political prisoners and spoke about the “chilling effect” of the harsh sentencing of student activists.

Watch Professor Shaheed’s presentation online.

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14 November 2013

Essex experts offer opinion to ECHR

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , , — Communications Office @ 4:48 pm
Professor Noam Lubell

Professor Noam Lubell

Academics from the School of Law have advised the European Court of Human Rights on how it might effectively apply human rights law in armed conflict situations.

Professors Francoise Hampson and Noam Lubell, both also of the Human Rights Centre, submitted their expert opinion in a case concerning the detention of an individual by the UK during the Iraq conflict.

Professor Lubell explained: “Human rights law and the law of armed conflict are two separate bodies of law, yet they can both be applicable in situations such as military occupation.

“Our intervention provided the Court with an analysis of how these two bodies of law interact with each other, and suggested ways in which the Court might address cases arising from armed conflicts. It also provided information on the legal regulation of detention during armed conflict.”

An oral hearing of the case takes place in December.

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12 November 2013

Essex leads the way at mapping and monitoring human rights conference

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , , , , , — Communications Office @ 1:12 pm
One of the panels from the event

Dr Andrew Fagan from the Human Rights Centre, Professor Todd Landman, Executive Dean in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Jonathan Cooper from Cyberalpha and Astrid Zweynert, Deputy Editor of Trust Organisation at Thomson Reuters Foundation

Key figures from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Amnesty International and Minority Rights Group International joined forces with the University of Essex and the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Friday 8 November at a conference aimed at promoting the mapping and monitoring of human rights protection around the world.

The event, which was held at the prestigious Thomson Reuters building in Canary Wharf, featured presentations and discussions on developments in the use of data, web resources and social media in the field of human rights.

Professor Todd Landman, Executive Dean for the Faculty of Social Sciences at Essex,  said: “The day gathered together leading experts in the use of systematic methods for measuring, monitoring and mapping human rights while promoting rich discussions that cut across academics, policy makers, journalists, and human rights activists. The event showed that there are many perils in this work and that all efforts should concentrate on the best collection of the most validated evidence possible.”

The conference was part of an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project, Extending the Human Rights Atlas. This project is led by the University of Essex in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, The Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex, The Mackman Group and the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences – Mexico (FLACSO-Mexico).


The Human Rights Atlas website

To view the Twitter feed from the conference please go to #maphumanrights2013

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