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Dublin Human Rights Festival 2018

Speakers and Presenters

Human Rights 101

Sindy JoyceDr. Sindy Joyce is a human rights defender (HRD). She was the module coordinator and lecturer in ‘Travellers, Rights and Nomadism’ and ‘Travellers, Ethnicity and Rights’ in University College Dublin with the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice. Her research interests include both direct and indirect forms of racism, ethnicity/identity, social/political constructions of Irish Travellers and the production of space related inequalities. Sindy won the 2014 Traveller Pride Award for Education.

Khalid BaghirovKhalid Baghirov is a human rights lawyer who has taken on many high-profile and sensitive human rights cases. Only very few defense lawyers have dared to take such sensitive cases and defend persecuted human rights defenders, fearing repercussions for their work. Indeed, the government has targated those lawyers who have taken on cases of jailed political prisoners, activists and journalists. In 2016, Khalid Baghirov was selected as one of the finalists for the Front Line Defenders award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.

Serena ClarkSerena Clarke is a doctoral researcher at the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin. Her research focuses on public space, art and human rights in post-agreement landscapes.



Colin DardisColin Dardis is a poet, editor, arts coordinator and creative writing tutor based in Belfast.  He was one of Eyewear Publishing's Best New British and Irish Poets 2016, and an ACES '15-16 recipient from Arts Council Northern Ireland. A new collection, the x of y, was released earlier this year from Eyewear Publishing. Colin also co-runs Poetry NI, a multimedia platform for poets.  His work has been published widely throughout Ireland, the UK and USA.

Andrea RoccaAndrea Rocca (Moderator) is Deputy Director at Front Line Defenders. He joined the organisation in 2008, serving as Protection Coordinator for Sub-Saharan Africa from 2008 to 2011 and as Head of Protection from 2012 to 2016. Previously he worked at the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) in Geneva, where he supported human rights defenders in accessing international and regional human rights mechanisms.

The Human Rights 101 Panel will take place on Saturday 24th November 2018 at 10:15am – 11:15am at Wood Quay Venue, Dublin City Council Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8.

Environmental Justice

Geovani KrenakGeovani Krenak is part of the leadership of the Krenak people in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. As an indigenous people the Krenak have struggled to protect their ancestral lands from countless invasions from the Brazilian government and multinational corporations. These entities are responsible for some of the biggest environmental crimes in Brazil. Since 2015, the presence of multinational corporations in the Minas Gerais area has had a hugely negative effect on the Krenak people. It has become impossible for the Krenak to practice their sacred rituals in the waters of the River Dolce. They can no longer eat the fish from the river nor teach their children to swim as the multinational corporations have severely polluted the river water. The Krenak people are resisting, but because of this resistance they are also at risk.

Oisín CoghlanOisin Coghlan is Director of Friends of the Earth Ireland, the Irish member of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network with over 2 million supporters in 75 countries. His main focus is climate change and he led the 8 year campaign for a climate law which culminated in the passing of the Climate Action Act in 2015. 

Sian Cowman is an activist and writer involved in environmental and feminist issues. Having completed her BSc in International Development and Food Policy at University College Cork, Sian has gone on to work with NGOs and volunteer solidarity groups. She is the Vice-Chair of the board of Friends of the Earth Ireland, the Coordinator of the Latin America Solidarity Centre in Dublin, and also works remotely for The Democracy Center in Bolivia. Through her work these organisations, as well as her journalistic writings in a diverse range of publications, Sian focuses on environmental grassroots organising and eco-feminism.

Edwin AlblasEdwin Alblas is a spokesperson for Climate Case Ireland, a case in which a group of concerned citizens are taking the Irish government to court to demand stronger action against climate change. Climate Case Ireland has already gained more than 3000 supporters stating the case is also ‘in their name’, with the hearing scheduled end of January 2019.  Edwin is currently doing his PhD research in environmental law in UCD.

Sinéad Mercier

Micheal CallaghanMícheál Callaghan (Moderator) is a PhD researcher in the UCD Sutherland School of Law, examining community and local stakeholder input into biodiversity governance in Ireland. He is passionate about community level sustainability and resilience. He co-founded Transition Monaghan, to promote sustainability in Co. Monaghan and was the Green Party candidate for Cavan-Monaghan in the last general election. He passionately believes  that the transition to a low-carbon world must be a just and fair transition.

The Environmental Justice Panel will take place at 11:30am – 12:45pm on Saturday 24th November 2018 at Wood Quay Venue, Dublin City Council Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8.

You can’t post that! Regulating content and expression in the digital age

Elizabeth FarriesElizabeth Farries is the Information Rights Project Manager for the Irish Council for Civil Liberties together with the International Network of Civil Law Organizations. She is called to the Bar in British Columbia, and has a practice background in litigation, intellectual property, and human rights. Her research interests focus on how women’s privacy rights are encroached online. On this and other topics, she has numerous trade, academic, and community publications.

Craig DwyerCraig Dwyer worked as the Social Media Director for Yes Equality during the marriage equality referendum, as Newstalk's first Social Media Manager and he travelled to Australia in 2017 to work on their marriage equality campaign. In 2018 Craig co-founded the Transparent Referendum Initiative which advocated for increased transparency of online political ads during the 8th Amendment referendum campaign.

Siobhán CummiskeySiobhán Cummiskey is the Head of Content Policy of Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Facebook.




The You can’t post that! Regulating content and expression in the digital age Panel will take place at 1:00pm – 2:15pm on Saturday 24th November 2018 at Wood Quay Venue, Wood Quay, Dublin 2.

Sharing The Struggle: Civil rights solidarity across the generations

Bernadette McAliskeyBernadette McAliskey is a lifelong human rights and social justice campaigner whose active engagement ranges from neighbourhood organizing to national & international campaigning; from voting registration and election campaigns to parliamentary representation. She is currently CEO of STEP (South Tyrone Empowerment Programme) a rights-based community organisation in Mid Ulster working with those ‘furthest from the table of plenty’ – the long term-unemployed; the homelessness; families with complex needs; people with disabilities; and new immigrants, building common cause for equality of human rights.

Michael FarrellMichael Farrell was a prominent activist in the Civil Rights movement in Northern Ireland in 1968 and afterwards, and is the author of several books about the political history of Northern Ireland. He worked as a journalist in the 1980s and was involved in the Miscarriage of Justice campaigns on behalf of the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four and Judith Ward. He became a solicitor in the early 1990s and took cases to the European Court of Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee and the Council of Europe Committee on Social Rights. He is currently a member of the Council of Europe Commission Against Racism and a member of the Council of State.


Brian DooleyBrian Dooley is a senior advisor at the US-based NGO Human Rights First, working with human rights defenders in the middle east and elsewhere. He is author of several books on Irish and US history, including "Black and Green: The Fight for Civil Rights in Northern Ireland and Black America." In the 1970s he played minor GAA for London.

Jabari MicklesJabari Mickles is a Youth and Teacher Organizer for Power U Center for Social Change. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan and comes from a union labor family. Jabari started his organizing efforts with Dream Defenders in 2012, several months after the organization started, around ending the School to Prison Pipeline. Jabari is also does cinematography and illustrations.

Martina DevlinMartina Devlin (Moderator) is an author and journalist. Her latest book is Truth & Dare: Short Stories about Women Who Shaped Ireland. Novels include About Sisterland, The House Where It Happened and Ship of Dreams. She writes a weekly current affairs column for the Irish Independent, is vice-chair of the Irish Writers Centre and is a PhD candidate at Trinity College Dublin.

The Sharing The Struggle: Civil rights solidarity across the generations Panel will take place at 2:30pm – 3:30pm on Saturday 24th November 2018 at Wood Quay Venue, Dublin City Council Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8.

LGBT+ rights in Ireland & Beyond: Advocating for equality in a troubled world

Mario PratamaMario Pratama, founder of Transhition Collective and Transmen Indonesia, a young transgender man known for his persistence in mainstreaming gender identity issues among LGBTIQ and Human Rights movement in Indonesia. He works mainly with grassroot trans community: from handling daily violence cases to facing police and extremist groups in streets, and bring their voice to international community through various advocacy initiatives. Surviving continuous threats and attacks followed by depression, he is now trying to establish psychosocial security mechanism especially for LGBTIQ Human Rights Defenders in Indonesia.

Laura HarmonLaura Harmon led the mobilisation team for the successful Together for Yes campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment in Ireland in 2018. She was the president of the Union of Students in Ireland in 2014/2015 during the marriage equality referendum where students played a leading role. She was Equality and Citizenship Officer with the Union of Students in Ireland from 2012-2014. She is currently the Women in Leadership Coordinator with the National Women’s Council of Ireland. 

Philippa RyderPhilippa Ryder has been active in LGBT+ rights for the past 15 years. A trans-woman, she is a board member of Transgender Equality Network Ireland, chair of her civil service department’s LGBT+ committee and was a part of Team Ireland at the World Gay Games in Paris this year. She met her wife Helen at a Star Trek convention in 1980 and they married in 1986. Both Philippa and Helen were heavily involved in both the Marriage Equality and Repeal campaigns.

Adam LongAdam Long (Moderator) has a background in LGBT advocacy and currently serves on the board of The National LGBT Federation (NXF), where he chairs the policy & communications subcommittee. His areas of interest include LGBT political representation and using the political system to advance LGBT equality and progressive change more generally. Adam chairs the annual Dublin PRIDE Political Debate, which has become a much welcome annual fixture of the PRIDE calendar. He also chaired last year's LGBT Panel as part of the inaugural Dublin Human Rights Festival.  

The LGBT+ rights in Ireland & Beyond: Advocating for equality in a troubled world Panel will take place at 4:00pm – 5:00pm on Saturday 24th November 2018 at Wood Quay Venue, Dublin City Council Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8.

Clowns without Borders

Clowns Without BordersClowns Without Borders Ireland, a group of professional street and circus artists, brings smiles and laughter to children and their communities who are in crisis in Ireland and around the world. The Clowns Without Borders Workshop will take place at 10:30am – 11:15am on Saturday 24th November 2018 at Smock Alley Theatre, Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin 8.

Street Art as a tool for change

Eoin McGinnEoin McGinn

The Street Art as a tool for change Graffiti mural workshop will take place at 11:30pm – 1:30pm on Saturday 24th November 2018 at Smock Alley Theatre, Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin 8.


Right to choice - Solidarity and next steps

 Ailbhe SmythAilbhe Smyth is an Irish academic, feminist and lesbian activist. She was a founding director of the Women's Education, Resource and Research Centre (WERRC), University College Dublin (UCD). She a spokeswoman and convenor for the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment.[3][4] She is also a founding member of Marriage Equality, convenor of Feminist Open Forum, an organiser for Action for Choice, a board member of Equality and Rights Alliance and is the former Chair of the National LGBT Federation

Goretti HorganGoretti Horgan is a long-time abortion rights activist; she was national organiser of the Anti Amendment Campaign 1982-3 and a founder member of Alliance for Choice in NI in 1997. She is a Social Policy lecturer at Ulster University and currently the Principal Investigator on an ESRC funded study  "Buying abortion through the internet; exploring the social harm of criminalising abortion in Northern Ireland and the UK."

Krystyna KacpuraKrystyna Kacpura has managed the ASTRA Secretariat (Central and Eastern European Women’s Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights) since its establishment in 1999. Engaged in the Federation for Women and Family Planning, she has been active in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights as the women’s rights defender for over 20 years. Currently she holds the seat of Executive Director of the Federation for Women and Family Planning and ASTRA Network.

Sorcha TunneySorcha Tunney is the Campaign Coordinator of Amnesty International Ireland’s It’s Time campaign working towards ensuring access to safe abortion services in Ireland in line with international human rights standards. Before this Sorcha lead on Amnesty International’s global campaign My Body My Rights which was called for an end to the control and criminalisation of sexual and reproductive rights.  Sorcha has also worked on the right to housing and ending forced evictions and also on ending discrimination against Roma in Europe.

Orla O'ConnorOrla O'Connor (Moderator) is Director of National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI). Orla is a feminist, and an expert in the policies needed to progress women’s equality in Ireland. Orla has led numerous high level, successful campaigns on a wide range of issues on women’s rights, including social welfare reform, pension reform and for the introduction of quality and affordable childcare. Orla is passionate about ensuring access to women’s reproductive rights; about ensuring more women are in leadership positions; about ending violence against women; and increasing women’s economic equality.

The Right to choice - Solidarity and next steps Panel will take place at 2:00pm – 3:15pm on Saturday 24th November 2018 at Smock Alley Theatre, Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin 8.

Telling the Stories of Women Human Rights Defenders

Laura CassidyLaura Cassidy is a writer from Co. Kildare and a founding editor of the literary journal Banshee.




Lina Ben MhenniLina Ben Mhenni is a Tunisian Internet activist, blogger and assistant lecturer in linguistics at Tunis University. Mhenni's blog, A Tunisian Girl, is written in Arabic, English, and French. During the rule of former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Mhenni was one of the few bloggers to blog using her real name rather than adopting a pseudonym to protect her identity. Her blog, as well as her Facebook and Twitter accounts, were censored under the Ben Ali regime. Mhenni began posting photos and video of protests of those injured throughout Tunisia.

Noeline Blackwell Noeline Blackwell is an Irish-based lawyer specialising in refugee law. She is the Chief Executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. Prior to that post, she served as the Director General of FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres), an NGO that provides free legal advice and services for those living in poverty. She is the former Chairperson of both the International Human Rights Trust and the Irish Section of Amnesty International. Noeline is a member of the Front Line Defenders Board of Directors.

The Telling the Stories of Women Human Rights Defenders Panel will take place at 3:30pm – 4:30pm on Saturday 24th November 2018 at Smock Alley Theatre, Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin 8.

Righteous Voice @ The International Bar

Clara Rose ThorntonClara Rose Thornton is a spoken word artist, culture journalist, event organiser, and RTÉ radio and television broadcaster. Her work focuses on the arts and their intersection with social justice, identity politics, history, and place. She is a multiple slam poetry champion, including a three-time Dublin/Leinster Poetry Slam Champion. RTÉ radio programmes to which Clara Rose frequently contributes include “The Ryan Tubridy Show”, “The History Show”, and “Arena”. She was instrumental in founding the inaugural Black History Month Ireland in 2014, and toured the country as the observance’s headlining performer. She performs her provocative spoken word at festivals and venues across Europe and North America. Her print cultural criticism is published internationally, including in the Irish Independent and the Irish Times. Clara Rose is Chicago-born (and proud), New-York-simmered, Dublin-dwelling.

Farah Elle

Farah Elle is a songwriter with an alternative pop sound influenced by an eclectic taste of genres; from hiphop to R&B and ska, while featuring Arabian echoes from her Libyan background. She sings in Arabic and English. Farah is currently based in Dublin, having moved to Ireland with her family when she was 2. Her rhythmic lyrics, piano-driven songs, and distinctive voice aim to reveal something of the beauty in the ephemeral everyday.

Chiamaka Enyi-AmadiChiamaka Enyi-Amadi was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and bred in Dublin, Ireland. Her writing and videos are heavily saturated with themes of shifting and marginal identities, particularly cultural diversity, bodily autonomy, and self care. She aims to promote women’s rights, positive mental health, and the importance of creative expression. Chiamaka's work has been published in print and online, and she has performed at festivals, cultural events, and workshops across Ireland, including for Poetry Ireland.

Righteous Voice will perform at 6:00pm on Saturday 24th November 2018 at The International Bar, 23 Wicklow St, Dublin 2.

LGBT+ History Walking Tour of Dublin

Tonie WalshKnown as Ireland’s Godfather of Gay, Tonie Walsh is a living legend. For decades he has fought tirelessly for civil rights – for housing rights, women’s rights, and queer rights – while the country changed around him. Legendary DJ, club impresario, historian, activist and master storyteller; Tonie tells the story of Ireland’s seismic social change from someone who has lived through it, gloriously, after dark.

The LGBT+ History Walking Tour of Dublin will begin at Barnardo Square in Dame Street at 3:00pm on Sunday 25 November.