SACKVILLE, N.B. – Sir Nigel Rodley, a pioneer in international human rights, will deliver a lecture at Mount Allison on Wednesday as part of the university’s annual President’s Speakers Series.
The lecture, entitled Lighting the Darkness: Reflections on Human Rights Advocacy, takes place at 7 p.m. in Brunton Auditorium, located in the Marjorie Young Bell Conservatory of Music.
Drawing on his experience in drafting the UN Convention Against Torture and other similar standards, as well as conducting missions to countries with serious human rights violations, Rodley will take a look at how far the world has come in terms of human rights over the past 60 years and look forward to some of the challenges ahead.
“We are thrilled to have Sir Nigel Rodley speak at Mount Allison,” said Dr. Craig Brett, chair of the President’s Speakers Series organizing committee. “It is a wonderful opportunity for our students, and the community in general, to learn from someone with extensive experience in human rights advocacy at the highest levels. It is a privilege to have a speaker of this calibre on our campus.”
Rodley is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and served as Special Rapporteur on Torture for the UN Commission on Human Rights from 1993 to 2001.
“I was very moved to be asked to deliver a lecture in such a prestigious series on a topic that I have spent most of my professional life living,” he said. “I was lucky enough to find myself working in a field that simply didn’t exist as such when I started. What greater privilege now to be able to introduce it to students who might be able to choose a career in human rights, rather than just drop into it — or miss it altogether?”
Rodley is currently a professor of law at the University of Essex and chair of the university’s Human Rights Centre. Throughout his career he has combined law with human rights issues. He became the founding legal advisor and head of the legal and intergovernmental organizations office of Amnesty International in the 1970s and is a long-time member of the International Commission of Jurists, assuming the role of President of the organization in December.
“Human rights advocacy involves work at the most local level of human suffering,” he said. “Without close familiarity with the problems as they exist, one is ill-equipped to argue for new standards and better international and national bodies to prevent and repress abuses.”
The lecture is supported by the Bronfman Lecture Fund, and the Botsford-Westmorland Lecture Fund. Admission to the lecture is free and all are welcome to attend.