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Putting Rights Back Together Again

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UN International Human Rights Day Event

  • Thursday 6 December 2012
  • Speaker: Salil Shetty
  • Chair: Chetan Bhatt
  • Suggested Twitter hashtag for this event: #LSEHRDay

The indivisibility of all human rights is proclaimed as a rhetorical goal, but the reality too often looks different.  For the majority of the world's population, says Salil Shetty, separating civil and political rights from economic, social and cultural rights could result in losing the battle for both.

Salil ShettySalil Shetty joined Amnesty International as the organization’s eighth Secretary General in July 2010.

A long-term activist on poverty and justice, Salil Shetty leads the movement's worldwide work to end the abuse of human rights. He is the organization’s chief political adviser, strategist and spokesperson and takes Amnesty International’s campaigns to the highest level of government, the United Nations and business.

Salil Shetty is leading an ambitious growth project for Amnesty International with plans to strengthen the human rights movement in the developing world and emerging economies. This comes at a time when human rights are dominant in the news agenda, inspired by the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Since joining the organization, Salil Shetty has travelled extensively meeting grassroots activists, political leaders and members of the media, as well as those on whose behalf Amnesty International is campaigning. This has included visits to Egypt in the aftermath of the 2011 uprisings and to Australia to campaign for the rights of indigenous people. He has represented Amnesty International at major meetings at the UN, the World Economic Forum and led Amnesty International's show of solidarity in Oslo for the imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo calling on the Chinese authorities to improve their human rights record.

Salil Shetty has been involved in campaigning for human rights from his student days in India. He was also heavily involved in citizens’ action for human rights in East Africa.

Prior to joining Amnesty International, Salil Shetty was Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign from 2003 to 2010. He played a pivotal role in building the global advocacy campaign for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals - eight goals to fight poverty, illiteracy and disease. As Chief Executive of ActionAid (from 1998 to 2003, before joining the UN), Salil Shetty is credited with transforming ActionAid into one of the world’s foremost international development NGOs.

Chetan Bhatt is Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights

Audio Recording

An audio recording of the event is online here