Students Staff

12 June 2015

Global human rights Elder to give inaugural lecture

Pioneering lawyer and pro-democracy campaigner Hina Jilani will give a public lecture at the University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre in July.

Hina Jilani

Hina Jilani. Picture courtesy of Jeff Moore, The Elders

Ms Jilani, a leading figure in the promotion of women’s rights in her native Pakistan and internationally, is a member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights which was founded in 2007 by Nelson Mandela. From 2000 to 2008 she was the first Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders.

Ms Jilani will give the inaugural Human Rights Centre Annual lecture, entitled ‘The Global Situation of Human Rights Defenders’, on 1 July, coinciding with the Essex Human Rights Summer School on Human Rights Research Methods.

Ms Jilani said: “Nobody brings about change single-handedly. There are many people who are legendary, who have influenced events in the world, but behind them there is always a collective effort.”

Lorna McGregor, Director of the Human Rights Centre, added: “It is a huge honour to have Hina Jilani speaking at our first annual lecture. She has dedicated her life to fighting for human rights and democracy not just in Pakistan but around the world.”

“Her lecture offers us all a unique and unmissable opportunity to learn from one of the great global figures in the promotion and advancement of human rights.”

Hina Jilani is a renowned lawyer who has fought many landmark cases setting new standards for human rights in Pakistan. She established Pakistan’s first all-woman law firm in 1980, followed by Pakistan’s first legal aid centre in 1986.

Ms Jilani is also a leading activist in Pakistan’s women’s movement. In 1980 she founded the Women’s Action Forum, a pressure group which campaigns for women’s rights and equality. She was also a co-founder of Dastak, a shelter which provides free legal counsel and support to victims of gender-based violence.

In 1986 Ms Jilani was a co-founder of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, now the most important national body for monitoring rights violations. In 1992 she was appointed Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Essex’s Human Rights Centre is one of the oldest academic human rights centres in the world with a global reputation as a leader in research, practice and education. Founded in 1982, it has 80 members who have consistently produced pioneering academic and policy research on issues that are a priority and of direct relevance to victims of human rights violations, governments, NGOs and international organisations.

The Human Rights Centre Summer School offers a five-day course on research methods at Essex’s Colchester Campus between 29 June and 3 July, followed by a second week of thematic modules on cutting-edge human rights issues. Participants will be taught by Essex’s world-leading team of human rights experts as well as key global figures in the human rights movement.

Ms Jilani’s lecture is free and open to all but booking is recommended. Email the Human Rights Centre for further information.

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