Questioning human rights

30th June 2013


Our new public forum for discussion of human rights issues welcomes top level speakers

  • Human rights forum

    Students, Fellows and members of the public gather at Wadham's Human Rights Forum

  • Event speakers

    James Harding, former Editor of The Times with Anne Spackman, its former Comment Editor

  • Event speaker

    Conor Gearty, Professor of Human Rights Law at LSE discusses ideas from his latest book Liberty and Security

Human Rights Forum

A stimulating series of public events focussing on human rights issues is attracting new audiences to Wadham College.

Sharing candid insights into crucial human rights issues including life on death row, press freedom and phone hacking, renowned speakers from the media, law and academia have been welcomed by the College to ‘The Human Rights Forum’.

The Forum is an initiative of Wadham’s Warden, Ken Macdonald QC. “I want to bring people into the College as a centre of intellectual endeavour – a place to which speakers will come to share their insights and expertise,” he said. The forum builds on the depth of expertise amongst Wadham Law Fellows and their peers.

Lord Macdonald plans that the College will host a minimum of two events per term with films, academic talks and political presentations all aimed at encouraging new people to engage with the life of Wadham College, both as participants and audience members.
Recent events include:

Terrorism and Human Rights - Lessons from Syria and the Sahel.
Ben Emmerson QC, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Terrorism and Human Rights spoke about the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism. A specialist in European human rights law, public international law and international criminal law, Emmerson has 25 years’ experience litigating before international courts and tribunals including the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Hacking, Blagging and Bribing? The Press after Leveson
Hugh Tomlinson QC, leading media law silk and Chair of ‘Hacked Off’, discussed the aftermath of the Leveson Inquiry. Specialising in media and information law including defamation, confidence, privacy and data protection, he played a central role in the campaign for the full disclosure of UK MPs' parliamentary expenses and in the News of the World phone-hacking revelations. He is known for his privacy work for celebrities who include Lily Allen, David and Victoria Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Ryan Giggs, former banker Fred Goodwin and Prince Charles.

Fourteen Days in May - Justice Denied: Edward Johnson’s Fight For His Life
Screening of this award winning film documentary, shot inside Death Row in Mississippi in 1987, following the last 14 days in the life of Edward Johnson, who was held there for eight years. It concludes with a final interview 20 minutes before his execution in the gas chamber for a murder he was later proved not to have committed. Clive Stafford Smith, the Founder of ‘Reprieve’, and Edward Johnson's lawyer and Paul Hamann, former Head of Documentaries at the BBC, discussed the film.

Editing The Times – Newspapers in a Political World
James Harding, the former Editor of The Times, and Anne Spackman, its former Comment Editor, discussed editing newspapers during turbulent times including the aftermath of the Leveson inquiry, the introduction of paywalls and journalistic integrity and political freedom. James Harding was appointed Editor of The Times in 2007, the youngest person to have taken up that role. He is to become Director of News at the BBC. Anne Spackman was appointed Comment Editor of The Times in 2008. She was Editor-in-Chief of Times Online and, as Managing Editor, played a major role in its conversion from broadsheet to compact format.

Liberty and Security - for all or just for the affluent?
Conor Gearty, Professor of Human Rights Law at LSE discussed ideas from his latest book Liberty and Security. He believes that the proclamation of universal liberty and security is mocked by facts on the ground: the vast inequalities in supposedly free societies, the authoritarian regimes with regular elections, and the terrible socio-economic deprivation camouflaged by cynically proclaimed commitments to human rights.