The Annual Front Line Defenders Lecture was established in 2013 to provoke discussion and debate about the range of issues affecting human rights defenders as they work tirelessly to bring about changes and build robust civil societies. Held in partnership with universities in Dublin, Belfast and Galway, the lecture is broadly accessible to a general audience with an interest in philosophy, law, human rights or politics.
2022 Annual Lecture:
Politicizing Human Rights in Palestine/Israel
14 - 16 March 2022 in Belfast, Dublin and Galway.
In Palestine/Israel, the recent criminalization and tagging of Palestinian human rights groups as “terrorist organizations” by Israel is a cynical political maneuver. A narcissistic view sees “Human Rights” as apolitical; that is, it should be universally conceived, internationally regulated, objectively adjudicated, legally administered, and never instrumentally exploited for particular interests.
However, it is only in explicit political contexts such as Palestine/Israel, that we can make sense of the goal of “Human Rights” and their defenders – to relieve victims of tyranny, oppression, and persecution.
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Prof. Noam Chomsky (MIT) delivered the inaugural lecture in 2013, with a thought-provoking presentation on the topic of Solidarity and the Responsibility to Respect. Click here to watch.
In 2014, Bruce Schneier, leading computer and internet security expert and fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, gave a stimulating address on the topic Is It Possible to be Safe Online – Human Rights Defenders and the Internet. Click here to watch.
In 2015 publisher, writer and philanthropist Dr. Sigrid Rausing shared her insights and vast practical experience on the topic, A Hardening Climate – Funding Human Rights in Repressive Societies. Click here to watch.
Philosopher Professor Jan Sokol spoke to the topic Dictatorship to Democracy - The Role of Human Rights Defenders for the 2016 Annual Lecture, recounting his experience of the Czechoslovakian transition to democracy (1989 – 1990) and discussing the appropriateness and efficiency of a "dissident" position. Click here to watch.
Nigerian lawyer and women's rights defender Hauwa Ibrahim presented the 2017 Annual Lecture. She addressed the issue of women's rights in Nigeria, at a time when extremist groups like Boko Haram have been on the ascent. Her lecture, Mothers Without Borders: Steering Youth Away from Violent Extremism, presented a grounds-eye view from the frontlines of some of the pressing issues of today, including her personal experiences of raising her children in an environment in which extremist groups are actively recruiting. Click here to watch.
Professor Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago presented the 2018 Annual Lecture. Professor Nussbaum's lecture "Accountability in an Era of Celebrity," was based on her chapter in the book, Ideas that Matter: Democracy, Justice, Rights (2018), edited by Annabelle Lever and Debra Satz. Click here to watch.
UCD School of Philosophy is the largest teaching and research centre for Philosophy in Ireland. The School is unique in the broad range of courses offered and its commitment to pluralism in its approach to Philosophy.Areas of expertise include Contemporary European (Continental Philosophy), Analytic Philosophy, Classical Philosophy, Philosophy of Law, Political Philosophy and Cognitive Science. In addition, the interdisciplinary Masters Programme in Philosophy and Public Affairs explores foundational questions in public policy formulation, including issues relevant to the formation of a just society. The issue of a just society connects directly with the concerns and activities of Front Line Defenders which has identified human rights defenders as "key agents of change working towards the creation of more just and equal societies".
Trinity College Dublin's Law School is Ireland's oldest and most renowned. The School's commitment to rigorous legal scholarship has placed it at the forefront of legal research in Ireland. The Law School strives to educate people who will be the leaders of the legal profession, the public service and society, and who will demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity and professional ethics and a deep concern for social justice in their practice of law and public service.
UCD School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe) is the oldest and the largest school of its kind in the Republic of Ireland, ranking in the global top 100. SPIRe is a dynamic, multi-faceted and highly-international school offering exciting and professionally-valuable programmes of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels.Our academic staff are engaged in cutting-edge research on a wide variety of political issues including, among others, ethno-political conflict, human rights, international relations, international political economy, political theory and Ireland's role in the European Union. The School is also home to three research centres: the Centre for Sustainable Development Solutions, the Dublin European Institute, and the Institute for British-Irish Studies.
The UCD Centre for Human Rights is composed of academic staff and researchers at University College Dublin engaged in scholarship in the human rights field. Hosted by the Sutherland School of Law at UCD, the Centre aims to enhance public understanding of human rights through a wide range of activities including publications, conferences, seminars and research projects; and to collaborate with national and international organisations, including national human rights institutions, governmental departments and non-governmental organisations working in the field of human rights.
National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) Irish Centre For Human Rights: The Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland Galway, is one of the world's premier university-based institutions for the study and promotion of international human rights and humanitarian law. Since its establishment in January 2000, the Centre has developed a global reputation for excellence in teaching, research and graduate training. Each year we attract high quality students from across the globe, to our acclaimed Masters programs in International Human Rights Law, Peace Operations, Conflict and Humanitarian Law, International Migration and Refugee Law and Policy and International Criminal Law. Our academic programmes now include unique education opportunities through our undergraduate BCL Law and Human Rights and BA Connect with Human Rights.
Queens University Belfast Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice: The Mitchell Institute responds to the unprecedented global challenge of building a peaceful, inclusive and secure world by bringing together the unparalleled expertise at Queen’s University Belfast, on these issues. Under the leadership of Professor Richard English, the Institute brings together researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and peace-builders from diverse backgrounds and international locations who share their multiple perspectives and work collaboratively to solve specific problems associated with the GRI’s priority themes.