Human Rights Law Centre

10th Annual AHRI Conference - A First For Human Rights Law Centre

14th September 2009

The University of Nottingham Human Rights Law Centre will host a world class panel of human rights experts, including Mary Robinson and Thomas Hammarberg, from 17-19 September 2009.

Recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, Mary Robinson will deliver a keynote speech at the 10th Annual Conference of the Association of Human Rights Institutes: Partnerships and Reform for Human Rights Protection, at the Human Rights Law Centre, University of Nottingham.

Mary Robinson was the first woman President of Ireland (1990 – 1997) and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997 – 2002). In 2002 she founded Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, an NGO that aims to put human rights standards at the heart of global governance and ensure that the voices of the most vulnerable are heard on the international stage.

Some of Europe's most eminent human rights practitioners and academics will attend the conference to debate a reform agenda for the international human rights protection system.

Other notable guest speakers include:

Thomas Hammarberg

Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, is one of the most important official figures in European human rights. He is former Secretary-General of Amnesty International and Swedish Representative for the multilateral Middle East peace process. He has also served as Regional Advisor for Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus at the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Personal Representative of the Swedish Prime Minister to the Special Session on Children of the UN General Assembly and as Chairman of the International Council on Human Rights Policy.

Jan Nordlander

Jan Axel Nordlander represents the Swedish Presidency of the EU. He is a career diplomat and has been Sweden's Ambassador at large for Human Rights for four years. As such, he will chair the European Union human rights dialogues this autumn with China, Russia and a number of Central Asian and Caucasian states. Mr. Nordlander is the alternate Head of Sweden's delegation to the UN Human Rights Council and has previously been Ambassador to Bangkok and Damascus.

Dr Bertrand Ramcharan

Dr Ramcharan was Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights after the then High Commissioner Sergio Vieira de Mello was killed in 2003 during an attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad. He is also the former Chancellor of the University of Guyana. Dr Ramcharan is currently Director of the Guyana Institute of Public Policy and Senior Human Rights Fellow at the University of Nottingham Human Rights Law Centre.

Marcia Kran

Marcia V. J. Kran is Director of the Research and Right to Development Division at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She was formerly Head of Policy and Programs at the Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific of United Nations Development Program in Bangkok, Democratic Governance Practice Leader at the UNDP Regional Centre for Europe and the CIS in Bratislava, Director of the Criminal Justice Program at the Open Society Justice Initiative in Budapest and Senior Legal Advisor to the Cambodian Minister of Women's and Veteran's Affairs.

In 2005 she was awarded the Walter S. Tarnopolsky Prize by the International Commission of Jurists (Canada) in recognition of her outstanding contributions to international human rights.

Prof. Monica McWilliams

Professor McWilliams was appointed Chief Commissioner for Human Rights in Northern Ireland in September 2005 and appointed for a further four years from September 2008. She is currently on leave from the University of Ulster where she is Professor of Women's Studies. Previously, she served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2003 and was elected member of the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations which led to the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in 1998. She was a co-founder and leader of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition from 1997 to 2005.

She has published widely on domestic violence, human security and the role of the political conflict on women's lives. Her work has been recognised by the John F. Kennedy Leadership and Courage Award and the Frank Cousin's Peace Award. She has received a Doctor of Humane Letters from Lesley College, Massachusetts and Mount Mary College, Milwaukee, and is a graduate of Queen's University Belfast and the University of Michigan.

Prof. Manfred Nowak

Professor Nowak was appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture in 2004. Previously, he served as the UN expert on legal questions on enforced disappearances, as a judge at the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as an expert member of the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances and as the UN expert on missing persons in the former Yugoslavia.

Professor Nowak is the founder and Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, Vienna University. He has been a member of the International Commission of Jurists since 1995, and has received numerous prizes, including the UNESCO Prize for the Teaching of Human Rights in 1994 and the Bruno Kreisky Award of Human Rights.

Professor Michael O'Flaherty

Professor O'Flaherty is Co-Director of the Human Rights Law Centre at the University of Nottingham and a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee. In 2007 he was appointed Professor of Applied Human Rights at the University of Nottingham. Formerly, he held senior UN human rights positions in Geneva, New York, Sierra Leone and Bosnia Herzegovina. He acts as advisor to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNICEF, the Sierra Leone Special Court and to a number of human rights NGOs. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Prof. O'Flaherty is also a member of advisory boards of the European Roma Rights Centre, Budapest; Diplomacy Training Programme, Sydney; National Forum for Human Rights, Freetown, Sierra Leone; and the University of Sarajevo Human Rights Centre, Bosnia and Herzegovina. His research interests are in the field of human rights, with particular reference to conflict and post-conflict situations and the law and practice of United Nations human rights treaty bodies.
Posted on Wednesday 16th September 2009

Human Rights Law Centre

School of Law
University of Nottingham
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Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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