The OxHRH continues to be a strong and passionate voice for upholding human rights. On January 31st, 2017, we held a conversation on Brexit and human rights in the UK, in partnership with the Bonavero Institute for Human Rights, the Public Law Discussion Group and the Programme for the Foundations of Constitutional Law and Government. In front of a live audience of over 250 people, Paul Craig, Alison Young, Nick Barber, Timothy Endicott and Sandra Fredman, debated the impact Miller will have on UK’s legal landscape. We live-streamed this event on Facebook and it has been archived on the OxHRH website and Youtube account. Across these different platforms, the Brexit conversation has been viewed over 1000 times!
The government’s proposed Great Repeal Bill raises many challenging questions. OxHRH Director Professor Fredman and Professor Young recently submitted a report to the Women and Equalities Committee. Their report explains what might be included in the proposed Great Repeal Bill to protect equality rights after Brexit. It sets out the problems which such a clause would address, shows how these problems affect equality legislation and proposes several possible clauses which could address the problems identified.
In 2017, building upon our past success with the RightsUp magazine style podcast series, we have pioneered a new podcasts series: #RightsNow. This new series, produced by Dr Kira Allman, consists of mini episodes that explore current events dealing with human rights issues. Deputy-Director Dr Meghan Campbell explored human rights responses to the UK Parliament’s vote against compulsory sex education. Professor Alison Young considered the Miller decision and James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Global Issues Programme at Amnesty International on the rise of the use of the death penalty in the Middle East and North Africa. Each of this mini-podcasts have been listened to over 80 times on Soundcloud, viewed over 18,000 times on Twitter and published on iTunes.
To celebrate the OxHRH’s five year anniversary we have released a series of short videos: Professor Sandra Fredman reflects on the founding vision of the OxHRH and current and former students talk about how the Hub is an immeasurably valuable research tool.
The OxHRH’s flagship activity, the OxHRH Blog, covers human rights issues from around the globe. This term we have published blogs on the recent measures decriminalizing gender-based violence in Russia, on the voting rights of refugees and using legislation from the US as a tool for pre-litigation strategies in environmental litigation. The OxHRH blog remains at the cutting-edge of newest developments. Law Commissioner David Ormerod QC confronted the recent controversies in the press in a blog published on The Law Commission’s Consultation on the Protection of Official Data. After publishing an OxHRH blog on discrimination faced by lepers the authors presented their arguments before the Parliament of India’s official television broadcast agency.
On 22 February 2017, the OxHRH together with Oxford Pro Bono Publico participated in the Great Legal Bake. Oxford University students and staff donated a colourful and delicious array of freshly baked goods and generously volunteered their time to help run the event. Through their hard work we were able to raise £175! Half of the proceeds are donated to the Access to Justice Foundation to be distributed to local free legal advice charities and the other half to Oxford Pro Bono Publico. The money raised will go a long way towards helping the poorest and most vulnerable to access justice through free legal assistance.
The next term is similarly full of exciting projects. The OxHRH is developing an online course on the role of strategic litigation in guaranteeing the right to high-quality education for all learners, for which we have been awarded grants from Open Society Foundations and the Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account Awards (ESCR- IAA). We have also been awarded an ESCR-IAA award to convene a high level workshop to explore innovative strategies for protecting a robust right to equality in the UK post-Brexit. We will be inviting government policy-makers, civil servants, academics, trade unions and the business community. In Trinity Term we will be hosting a graduate student workshop on human rights. We remain committed to fostering a global community and of upholding the universality of human rights.
We are incredibly grateful for all the hard work of the members of our team, the pro-bono support from Kathryn McConnachie and Carli Schoeman and to the financial support from the Bertha Foundation, the British Academy, Open Society Foundations, Hart Publishing and OUP, as well as the University of Oxford and the ESRC.