IBA - International Bar Association

01/24/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/24/2020 07:00

Is the age of human rights over? IBAHRI Programme Lawyer participates in SOAS Law Society debate

On 9 March 2018, the Law Society of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London held a debate on whether the age of human rights is truly over. The sold-out event used the former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's declaration in 2000 that we were in an 'age of human rights' as its starting point. Annan spoke in an undoubtedly important moment in history, particularly with the development of the Rome Statute - which established core international crimes - and the International Criminal Court - which tries individuals for those crimes. Yet eighteen years on, atrocities continue to happen and many still act with impunity.

IBAHRI Programme Lawyer Jurate Guzeviciute appeared on the panel alongside Keina Yoshida from Doughty Street Chambers and Moataz El Fegiery from Front Line Defenders. The panel explored the rich history of 'human rights' as well as accusations of imperialist motivations within the movements. 'Human rights' is an imperfect field and its flaws must be challenged. However, the panel ultimately concluded that this is not a reason to give up and that it is through this process of reflection and development that we can stop impunity in the future.