National human rights institutions: effective or just existing? (BCS 0354)

Venue: Queen\'s University Belfast

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Event Date/Time: Oct 26, 2003 End Date/Time: Nov 01, 2003
Report as Spam


 Are national human rights institutions effective instruments for the protection of human rights?
 Are they just a means for governments to pretend they are respecting human rights while continuing to ignore them?
 What should be our expectations of national human rights institutions?
 What conditions are necessary for national human rights institutions to be effective?
 How do we assess whether a national human rights institution has been a success or not?

In the past decade there has been a remarkable growth in national human rights institutions (NHRI) such as human rights commissions and ombudsmen. The United Nations has encouraged the development of such institutions and sought to provide guidelines for how they should operate. However several of those which have been established have come in for criticism from both governments and human rights activists and there remains uncertainty over what exactly we should expect them to achieve. This seminar seeks to draw on a range of international experience, including a recent research study, to explore the question of how we can best ensure that national human rights institutions play an effective role in the promotion and protection of human rights.

Topics covered include:
 the organisation of NHRIs
 funding and staffing
 working with the legislature
 working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
 using litigation effectively
 working with the media
 investigations
 legislation and education.

This seminar will be of interest to members and staff of NHRIs, human rights activists, government officials, lawyers, judges and academics working in the human rights field.

Stephen Livingstone is Professor of Human Rights Law, Director of the Human Rights Centre and Head of the School of Law at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). A graduate of Cambridge University and Harvard Law School he has also taught at the universities of Nottingham and Detroit. He is a member of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and of the executive of the Committee of the Administration of Justice in Belfast. His publications include Prison Law (with Tim Owen, 3rd ed Oxford 2003) and Civil Liberties Law (with Noel Whitty and Therese Murphy, Butterworths 2001) and he has regularly given human rights lectures throughout the world for the British Council, Council of Europe and Interrights. He has, with Rachel Murray, recently completed a study of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.


Alpha Connolly
Irish Human Rights Commission

David Feldman
UK Parliament Human Rights Committee

Jody Kollapen
South African Human Rights Commission

Kofi Kumado
University of Ghana

Kathleen Mahoney
Calgary University

Mohammed-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou
International Council for Human Rights Policy

Rachel Murray
Bristol University

Maggie Nicholson
Council of European

Mary Robinson
Former UN High Commissioner on Human Rights

*Subject to change


Additional Information

Fully residential fee: £950 (en-suite bedroom) The fee includes:  six nights' accommodation from Sunday 26 October to Friday 31 October 2003 inclusive  all meals from dinner on the evening of Sunday 26 October to breakfast on Saturday 1 November  a full professional programme  a social programme (including an opening reception)  welcome and farewell packs (containing a programme, contributors' summaries, local information, etc.)  a group photograph  an experienced event manager in attendance throughout  emergency medical insurance. There are places for up to 35 participants. DATES The event will begin with a reception on the evening of Sunday 26 October and will end after breakfast on Saturday 1 November.