Students Staff

6 February 2015

Essex presence at Magna Carta conference

Filed under: Latest news, People pages, Research impact — Tags: , , , — Communications Office @ 5:27 pm
Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury

Essex graduate Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury was one of those participating in the Magna Carta event

Essex alumni have played a key role in an international conference marking the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.

Opened by Essex graduate and Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow MP, the four-day Human Rights in the Modern Day Commonwealth: Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter conference brought together parliamentarians, experts and academics.

One event focusing on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights featured an all-Essex panel: Chair of our Human Rights Centre Professor Sir Nigel Rodley was joined by Essex Honorary Graduate and former member of staff Baroness Onora O’Neill, and Dr Corinne Lennox who graduated in 2000 with an MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights.

Participants also included Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, the first female Speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament, who graduated from Essex in 2000 with a PhD and picked up an Honorary Degree last year.

The conference was hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK at the Houses of Parliament. The programme included the practical and social understanding of rights and freedoms, protection of women and girls, FGM, the death penalty, equality, LGBT rights, freedom of speech and a free press, terrorism and the right to a fair trial.


The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

10 January 2014

Essex’s lead role in new global think tank

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , , , , — Communications Office @ 3:52 pm
Dr Ahmed Shaheed

Dr Ahmed Shaheed, Visiting Professor in our School of Law

Essex human rights experts have played a key role in the foundation and organisation of a new Geneva-based independent think tank dedicated to analysing and strengthening global human rights policy.

The Universal Rights Group is the world’s first independent think tank dedicated exclusively to human rights. It will provide scientifically-sound research, analysis and advice as well as a forum for discussion.

Several of Essex’s world-renowned human rights practitioners play key roles in the organisation of the Group. Dr Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Iran, and a member of our School of Law and Human Rights Centre, is Chairperson of the Board of Trustees which will help develop the work of the Group.

Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, and Professor Paul Hunt, both also of Law and the Human Rights Centre, are members of the Board of Trustees while Scott Sheeran is a member of the Advisory Committee.

The URG will officially be launched at an event in Geneva on 20 January and its first policy reports are due to be published in February.


The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

16 October 2013

Sir Nigel criticises US shutdown

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Tags: , , — Communications Office @ 12:05 pm
Professor Sir Nigel Rodley

Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, Chair of the UNHRC

The 109th session of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has opened with Professor Sir Nigel Rodley criticising Republicans over the US government shutdown after a review of the country’s rights record had to be postponed.

In his opening statement, UNHRC Chair Sir Nigel, of the School of Law, said: “The political party of Abraham Lincoln that, in fire and blood ended slavery and gave freedom to millions of people of African descent, seemed now to have party members who thought that wealth did not just rhyme with health, but should also determine access to it.”

Despite the Committee’s policy to refuse extensions at short notice, a request to postpone the review of the report of the US until March 2014 was upheld because the US delegation was unable to attend.

Speaking about the shutdown, Sir Nigel added that although this may not be the greatest consequence, there would be people who had been looking to the Committee to address their concerns about their treatment who would be left unsatisfied, and others financially affected by the late cancellation.

Like all UN member countries, the US is expected to submit to periodic reviews of its rights record. Countries whose reports will be reviewed by the Committee are Bolivia, Djibouti, Mauritania, Mozambique and Uruguay.

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

15 May 2013

Essex paper influences treatment of prisoners

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , , — Communications Office @ 11:27 am

The latest development in the University’s long association with the UN has seen an Essex paper cited in a UN resolution on the treatment of prisoners.Image of a prison tower behind barbed wire

Written after a panel of independent experts met at the Colchester Campus in 2012, the Essex paper is the only non-governmental text to be cited in the resolution that was adopted in Vienna by the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

In line with the recommendations made in the Essex paper, the resolution agrees to continue the revision process for Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners which were adopted in 1957.

Lorna McGregor, Director of the Human Rights Centre, who along with Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, played a crucial role in the 2012 meeting and the resulting paper explained: “The current rules are now over 50 years old and although they were the earliest and most influential standards on the treatment of prisoners when they were introduced, there have been many developments in international law that now make updating them a priority.

“We convened an expert group of human rights academics and practitioners last September and produced concrete proposals on the revision of the Rules. It is testament to Essex’s reputation that those proposals were heavily cited by states, the UN and civil society at an expert intergovernmental meeting Buenos Aires in December and have now been one of only a few submissions cited in this latest UN resolution.”

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.