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From Human Rights to the Primacy of the Political

Date: 7 November-8 November 2008 Time: 9am - 5pm

Everywhere it seems that human rights are being overwhelmed by political expediency and brute power. Indeed, the efficacy of human rights, and the ability of the human rights movement and human rights law to deliver over the long-term, is being challenged. While some commentators argue that human rights are merely the pliant weapons of first world nations and neo-liberalism, others point up the ways that a noble cause is easily perverted by lofty aspiration.

What is, and should be, the relationship between human rights and politics? Does international and humanitarian activism have any practical and political credibility in the twenty-first century?

This conference will bring together academics, judges, practitioners, policy makers and activists from a wide range of fields and disciplines, offering a rare opportunity to confront and reflect upon one of the most relevant and challenging concerns of our age.


Confirmed Speakers:

Craig Murray (Former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan)

Louise Selisny (Amnesty International)

Professor Robert Fine (Warwick University)

Confirmed Papers:

Theory's betrayal of legality, is there no law after Auschwitz? An historical reconstruction that considers if juristic posturing colludes with negative political agendas Lorie Charlesworth, Law School, Liverpool John Moores University

Dignity and the Accursed: Reconnecting Human Rights and Atrocity Stephen Riley, Law School Sheffield Hallam University

The UN's return to the civilizing mission? Ralph Wilde, University College London Faculty of Laws

Carl Schmitt and the Sociology of the Political David M. Seymour, Law School, Lancaster University

Is It Time for the Rehabilitation of Human Rights Professor Bill Bowring, School of Law, Birkbeck College, London

Between Universalism and Particularism: Theorising the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights Process Dr Yuri Borgmann-Prebil and Dr Elizabeth Craig, University of Sussex

West Papua: The Forgotten Genocide Carmela Baranowska, University of Melbourne

"Let the constitution protect you! Hold your hands up!": Subjectivity construction and the deprivation of rights in two novels on the Mexican Dirty War Cornelia Gräbner, Lecturer in Hispanic Studies, Lancaster University

Linking Human Rights, Taxation and Development - A Kenyan Case Study Attiya Waris, Law School, Lancaster University

Religious Liberty as a Debased Enlightenment Ideal: a Universalist Norm Reconstructed in the Image of Political and Social Power Relations Eion Daly, Faculty of Law, University College Cork

Reclaiming Human Rights in Enforcement Mechanisms for People with Disabilities -from Political Question to Universal Norm Eilionoir Flynn, Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University College Cork

European Court of Human Rights and the politics of truth Nicolas Kang-Riou, Salford Univeristy

Men Versus Man: The Politics of Avoiding Human Rights Obligations Kasey Lowe, School of Law, University of Edinburgh>

Justice as Fairness: Rawls's Theory of Constructive Rationalism as an Alternative to the Language of Balance in Delayed Prosecutions for Child Sexual Abuse Sinéad Ring, University College, Cork

Human Rights Legitimacy: The Challenge of Re-politicisation Emilie Secker, Law School, Lancaster University

Conflict in Chechnya and the European Court of Human Rights: triumph of the legal or rather the primacy of the political? Natalia Szablewska, Aberystwyth University

The Clash of Liberalism and Nationalism in the Contemporary Right of Self-determination James Summers, Law School, Lancaster University

Providing military and security assistance to authoritarian states: a human rights perspective Mindia Vashakmadze, European University Institute

Securing Human Rights Beyond the Water Wars Louise Selisny, Amnesty International

Human Rights talk in a Sovereignty culture: Constitutionality for an unconstitutional state Angus McDonald, Staffordshire University


For further details or to submit an abstract (maximum 250 words) please contact d.seymour@lancaster.ac.uk

Closing date for submissions 30th September 2008


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: David M. Seymour

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for Law and Society, Human Rights Forum, Law


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