Date and time: Friday 28 January 2011
Speakers: Karima Bennoune and Gita Saghal
Chair: Chetan Bhatt
This event considers some of the sharp debates posed by political religion and religious violence that have emerged in international human rights law and in international human rights organisations. Professor Karima Bennoune argues that movements of political Islam can pose major challenges to international human rights law. Yet, the field of international law has failed to offer a significant response. Her paper seeks to explain these failures and to discuss their impact on human rights law and practice. Gita Saghal's paper explores the impact of political religion and religious violence, especially as it affects women world-wide. In so doing, she highlights how human rights organisations can be complicit with authoritarian religious movements and with violence against women and against civilians. Using recent examples, she illustrates how the universality of human rights has been compromised and suggests some ways forward.
Karima Bennoune (pictured) is professor of law and Arthur L Dickson scholar at Rutgers University. From 1995 until 1999, Karima was a legal adviser at Amnesty International. She sits on the board of trustees of the Center for Constitutional Rights and on the council of the network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws
Gita Saghal is a writer and journalist on issues of feminism, fundamentalism, and racism, a director of prize-winning documentary films, and a women's rights and human rights activist.
Chetan Bhatt (chair) is professor of Sociology and director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights