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Protecting Human Rights in an anti-terrorist world

In conjunction with the BBC World Service Trust

Speaker: Hina Jilani, UN Special Representative for Human Rights Defenders
Chair: Professor Conor Gearty
December 2002

On 10 December 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since that day, 10 December is celebrated worldwide as International Human Rights Day. To mark the day, the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, in conjunction with the BBC World Service Trust, is delighted to host this lecture.


Leaders around the world-dictators and democrats alike-are telling their citizens to choose between security and freedom. But the real choice is between a world in which human rights are universally respected and one in which no one is safe. The lecture will ask whether the discourse of Human Rights is at a critical turning point. In doing this, it will examine the role of civil society and the ways in which Human Rights NGOs can maintain their influence in a very difficult climate.

Hina Jilani was appointed last year as Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders. Ms Jilani is a founding member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and is currently the Secretary General of the Commission. As an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, she has steadfastly advocated for those who have had their human rights violated, including victims of domestic violence, fundamentalist violence, bonded workers and victims of 'honour killings'. Ms Jilani also set up and currently runs the largest free legal aid centre in Pakistan, AGHS Legal Aid Cell, which focuses on women and promotes legal awareness, education, protection from exploitation, legal research, counselling and providing legal assistance. She has received a number of international awards including, most recently, the Amnesty International Genetta Sagan Award for Women's Rights and the UNIFEM Millennium Peace Prize for Women.