Students Staff

22 November 2011

Conference to honour human rights Professor

Professor Kevin Boyle

Leading international human rights experts will gather at the University of Essex for a conference in honour of Professor Kevin Boyle later this week, on Saturday 26 November.

Amongst those contributing to the discussions will be Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002 and former President of Ireland, who will be joining the conference live via a videolink.

Professor Kevin Boyle was an internationally respected human rights lawyer, activist and academic who sadly passed away last year. The founding Director of Article 19, the international non-governmental organisation promoting freedom of expression, he became Professor of Law at the University in 1989 and was Director of the Human Rights Centre from 1990 to 2003 and from 2006 to 2007. He brought many cases before the European Commission and Court of Human Rights and, together with colleague Francoise Hampson, was named Lawyer of the Year in 1998.

Diana Morales-Lourido, of the Human Rights Centre and co-organiser of the Conference, said: ‘This one-day conference will reflect on the many areas of human rights that most concerned Professor Boyle, including freedom of religion and expression and discrimination of minority groups. We very much hope that it will provide a tribute to the vast contribution he made and are delighted to be joined by so many of leading human rights figures and friends of Kevin.’

Also contributing are Mona Rishmawi, Head of the Rule of Law and Democracy Unit in the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Michael O’Boyle, Deputy Registrar at the European Court of Human Rights; philosopher Baroness Onora O’Neill; and Mark Lattimer, Executive Director of Minority Rights Group.

The conference will also coincide with the launch of the Professor Kevin Boyle Memorial Fund. The Fund will support students coming to the University from the developing world to study for any of the taught master degrees in Human Rights. It aims to support talented students who might otherwise be unable to study at Essex due to lack of funds. More information on the fund will be available from 26 November at:

The Kevin Boyle memorial conference will take place at the University’s Colchester Campus on Saturday 26 November. It is free and open to the public but registration is required. If you would like to attend, or for more information, e-mail: 

Notes to editors
For more information, contact the University of Essex Communications Office telephone: 01206 872807, e-mail

The conference programme for 26 November 2011 is:
9.30-10.00 Opening Session
- Welcome by Professor Colin Riordan, Vice Chancellor of the University of Essex
- Address by Professor John Packer on behalf of the School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex
- Address by Baroness Frances D’Souza Lord Speaker of the House of Lords
- Keynote Speaker: Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, Founder and President of Realising Rights from 2002-2010

10.00-11.00 Discrimination and Minorities
- Chair: Mark Lattimer, Executive Director, Minority Rights Group International
- Anneliese Baldaccini, Executive Officer, Asylum and Migration, Amnesty International
- Dr Corinne Lennox, lecturer in Human Rights, Institute of Commonwealth Studies,
University of London

11.00-11.30 Coffee Break

11.30-12.30 Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Expression
- Chair: Zeinab Badawi, Broadcast journalist, Presenter BBC World News Today
- Dr Juliet Sheen, Co-editor, World Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief
- Baroness Onora O’Neill of Bengarve CBE

12.30-2.00 Lunch

2.00-3.15 States of Emergency and Human Rights
- Chair: Professor Françoise Hampson OBE, Professor of Law, University of Essex
- Professor Tom Hadden, Emeritus Professor of Law, Queen’s University Belfast and
Part-time Professor at the Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster.
- Michael O’Boyle, Deputy Registrar of European Court of Human Rights
- Mona Rishmawi, Head, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch,
Research and Right to Development Division Office of the High Commissioner For Human Rights

3.15-3.45 Coffee Break

3.45-4.45 Democracy
- Chair: Professor Stuart Weir, Former Director of the Democratic Audit (1991-2007), former editor of the New Statesman and founder of Charter 88, the
campaign for democratic reform in the UK
- Professor David Beetham, Associate Director of the Democratic Audit; Honorary Fellow,
Human Rights Centre, University of Essex
- Iain Byrne ESR policy coordinator at Amnesty International and Fellow of the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex

4.45-5.15 Closing Session
- Keynote Speaker: Professor Sir Nigel Rodley KBE Professor of Law and Chair of the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex

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