Students Staff

28 November 2014

Students focus on the future of human rights

Students at the University of Essex will be hosting a series of events, starting on 1 December, to mark International Human Rights Week.

Organised by Essex’s Human Rights Society, the week starts on 1 December with the students’ annual ‘chalking of the steps’ event where they write the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in numerous languages, on the concrete steps of the University’s Colchester Campus.

The theme of this year’s events is The Future of Human Rights and will include debates and panel discussions covering topics such as female genital mutilation and disability rights. There will also be an event promoting the connections between the arts and human rights, as well as a film screening. All events are open to the public and free to attend.

Peter Wieltschnig, President of the Human Rights Society, explained why it’s important to Essex students that they mark Human Rights Day: “We need to acknowledge that human rights don’t exist in a vacuum, that they don’t exist in and of themselves…we need to argue and fight for them or else we risk losing them.”

Speaking about the ‘chalking of the steps,’ he added: “It reminds us that we need to constantly tend to our human rights obligations.”

This year’s programme is:

Monday 1 December
8am-9am: Chalking of the steps, Square 3

4.00pm-5.30pm: Conference on Female Genital Mutilation with charity FORWARD and Ryan Hill from the University of Bedfordshire, room 5N.4.6

Tuesday 2 December
6.30pm-8.30pm: Human Rights and the Arts with poetry reading from Laila Sumpton and a performance by Ice and Fire, the Hexagon

Wednesday 3 December
5pm-7pm: Panel Discussion on the Future of Human Rights with Essex’s Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, also Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee, UK Director of Reporters without Borders Heather Blake, and Paul Dilane, Executive Director of the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, LTB 9

Thursday 4 December
7pm-9pm: Talk on Disability Rights, with Professors Sabine Michalowski and Wayne Martin, from Essex, and student Ricky Blair, LTB 4

Friday 5 December
7pm-9pm: Screening of Even the Rain, LTB 3

All of the events take place at the University’s Colchester Campus, Wivenhoe Park. 


More information

For further information, please contact the University of Essex Communications Office, telephone: 01206 873529, or email:

...more news releases