Students Staff

02 July 2015

Global Elder inspires next generation of human rights defenders

Human rights lawyer Hina Jilani urged an audience of human rights students and defenders to make change happen in the world by working together at the Human Rights Centre inaugural annual lecture last night.

  • You can watch our video, with Hina Jilani talking about what inspired her and why education for women is critical, on our Vimeo channel

Speaking about the challenges faced by human rights defenders around the world, the pioneering lawyer said the international community should not rely on states to make change happen and that promoting and advancing human rights was the responsibility of “we the people.”

  • See photos from the lecture on Flickr.

Ms Jilani outlined the risks human rights defenders have taken in countries including South Africa, and criticised the international community for sometimes failing to listen to those defenders when doing so could have prevented atrocities such as the Rwanda genocide of 1994.

Speaking about democracy and the European migrant crisis during the question and answer session after the lecture, Ms Jilani emphasised her belief that democracy is not always about majority rule and urged world leaders to “change public opinion” where public opinion falls short of human rights obligations.

In an interview shortly before the lecture, Ms Jilani, who is a leading figure in the promotion of women’s rights in her native Pakistan and internationally, explained what inspired her and why she believes education can help empower women.

Ms Jilani is a leading figure in the promotion of women’s rights in her native Pakistan and internationally. From 2000 to 2008 she was the first Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders.

The annual lecture coincided with the Human Rights Centre Summer School which offers a five-day course on research methods followed by a second week of thematic modules on cutting-edge human rights issues.

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