Human rights: the case for the defence

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute, LSE Human Rights and the Wollstonecraft Society

In-person and online public event (Old Theatre, Old Building)


Baroness Chakrabarti

Baroness Chakrabarti

Professor Conor Gearty

Professor Conor Gearty

Bee Rowlatt

Bee Rowlatt


Professor Alpa Shah

Professor Alpa Shah

We are threatened by wars, inequality, new technologies and climate catastrophe, and we need our human rights now more than ever. At this year’s annual Wollstonecraft Society Lecture, we are joined by Shami Chakrabarti, lawyer, parliamentarian and leading British human rights defender.

Chakrabarti will discuss her latest book Human Rights: The Case for the Defence, which shows us why human rights are essential for our future. Outlining the historic national and international struggles for human rights, from the fall of Babylon, to the present day, Chakrabarti is an indispensable guide to the law and logic underpinning human dignity and universal freedoms. Her intervention will engage both sceptics and supporters, equipping believers in the battle of ideas and persuading doubters to think again. For human rights to survive, they must be far better understood by everyone.

Meet our speakers and chair

Shami Chakrabarti is a leading British human rights lawyer and campaigner who has written and broadcast widely and held a number of public roles in recent decades. A legislator in the House of Lords, she is the author of On Liberty and Of Women. Director of Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties) from 2003 to 2016, she was Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales from 2016 to 2020.

Conor Gearty (@conorgearty) is Professor of Human Rights Law at LSE and a barrister in practice at Matrix Chambers. He has published widely on terrorism, civil liberties and human rights. His next book, Homeland Insecurity. The Rise and Rise of Global Anti-Terrorism Law will be published by Polity in late May.

Bee Rowlatt (@BeeRowlatt) is a writer and public speaker, and a programmer of events at the British Library. Her most recent book In Search of Mary retraced Wollstonecraft’s 1795 treasure hunt over the Skagerrak Sea. She led the campaign for the Wollstonecraft memorial sculpture and is chair of the human rights education charity, the Wollstonecraft Society.

Alpa Shah (@alpashah001) is Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her new book is The Incarcerations: BK-16 and the search for democracy in India. Her last book, Nightmarch, was finalist Orwell Prize for Political Writing, New Statesman Book of the Year, finalist New India Foundation Book Prize, longlisted Tata Literature Live Non-Fiction Award, winner Association for Political and Legal Anthropology Book Prize.

More about this event

This event will be available to watch on LSE Live. LSE Live is the new home for our live streams, allowing you to tune in and join the global debate at LSE, wherever you are in the world. If you can't attend live, a video will be made available shortly afterwards on LSE's YouTube channel.

The LSE International Inequalities Institute (@LSEInequalities) brings together experts from many of the School's departments and centres to lead cutting-edge research focused on understanding why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world, and to develop critical tools to address these challenges.

LSE Human Rights (@LSEHumanRights) is a trans-disciplinary centre of excellence for international academic research, teaching and critical scholarship on human rights.

The Wollstonecraft Society (@TheWollSoc) aims to carry Mary Wollstonecraft’s legacy of human rights and equality into the lives of people who don’t know her work. Its goals are to increase awareness of her legacy, and inspire community engagement.

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