Human rights in modern Britain

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Shami Chakrabarti, Oxford Brookes' Chancellor and Director of Liberty, discussed human rights with a panel of law students during the annual Chancellor's Lecture at the university.

Shami Chakrabarti, Oxford Brookes’ Chancellor and Director of Liberty, discussed human rights with a panel of law students during the annual Chancellor’s Lecture at the university.

Entitled Common Values, Rights and Freedoms in Britain, the lecture covered the Human Rights Act, The War on Terror and “where it has left us and where it has left our rights and freedoms,” as well as freedoms of thought, conscience and religion.

“The human rights act – why so maligned?” Asked Shami (pictured) in front of an audience that packed the Main Hall at the Gipsy Lane site.

The Act was passed in 2001 and she explained that the values it embodied ran deep in Britain. However: “We had the Twin Towers atrocity in New York so the infancy of the Human Rights Act has also been the War on Terror.”

She said we were lucky to live in the oldest democracy in the world but, discussing the process of extraordinary rendition, said: “I never thought I would live to see torture in freedom’s name.”

The law students on the panel were Luke Campbell, Alan Charlton, Ruth Eastley and Virigilia Pitt.

Luke said: “I was both excited and honoured when I was approached to take part in Shami's annual lecture. As a third year student here at Oxford Brookes I can say with confidence this was a highlight of my academic studies.”

Shami Chakrabarti joined human rights group Liberty as In-House Counsel on 10 September 2001. Since becoming Liberty’s Director in 2003 she has written, spoken and broadcast widely on the importance of the post-WW2 human rights framework as an essential component of democratic society. She was appointed Chancellor of Oxford Brookes in July 2008.

The lecture took place on Tuesday 23 November.