Human Rights and British Foreign Policy: Past, Present, and Future

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University of Liverpool

Teaching Hub 502

150 Mount Pleasant

Liverpool

L69 3GD

United Kingdom

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Keynote speaker: Dr Jamie Gaskarth (University of Birmingham)

The history of human rights has emerged as a dynamic research field in recent years, with historians such as Samuel Moyn and Jan Eckel arguing that the 1970s – rather than the 1940s or the 1780s – constituted the ‘breakthrough’ decade for human rights in international politics. Yet Britain remains conspicuous by its absence in these narratives. Historians such as Barbara Keys have argued convincingly that human rights considerations began to exert an influence over US foreign policy formulation in the 1970s. Scholars such as Sarah Snyder, meanwhile, have challenged conventional narratives of diplomatic history by exploring the role of NGOs, civil society and international organisations in shaping ideas about human rights in US and Soviet foreign policy during the last two decades of the Cold War. In the British case, however, the introduction of human rights considerations into the foreign policy-making process is often attributed to the New Labour government in 1997, interpreted as a radical shift ushering in a “new era” of British diplomacy. This symposium – sponsored by the University of Liverpool, the Royal Historical Society, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council – aims to address this myopia, providing a forum for interdisciplinary conversations between PGRs and postdoctoral researchers who are studying questions concerning the ethics of weapons sales, antiterrorism, collective security, and the role of the media in shaping responses to these issues from both historical and contemporary perspectives. To provide PGRs and ECRs with an opportunity to engage with policy experts, the symposium will also feature a closing roundtable of experts from advocacy groups and foreign policy think tanks – experts who are currently grappling with the implications of Brexit, and the future role that human rights considerations may play in the formulation and implementation of British foreign policy in a post-Brexit world.


Draft programme

9.00-9.10: Opening remarks, 502 – Teaching Room 4 (118a, First Floor)

9.10-10.00: Keynote lecture by Dr Jamie Gaskarth, 502 - Teaching Room 4 (118a, First Floor)

10.00-10.20: Coffee break

10.20-11.20: Parallel panel sessions

Panel One – Media Discourse on Human Rights: Past and Present, 502 - Flexible Teaching Room 1 (G17, Ground Floor)

Chair: TBC

Steve Westlake, ‘The “Oxfam of the Mind”? Humanitarian and Human Rights Rhetoric at the BBC External Services During the CPRS Crisis, 1975-1978’

Zixiu Liu, ‘Comparing the Russian and British News Framing of the Ukraine Crisis'

Panel Two – Human Rights, International Institutions, and the Pursuit of British Interests, 502 - Teaching Room 5 (114, First Floor)

Chair: TBC

Margot Tudor, ‘The Extension of British Strategic Interests in Post-Colonial Cyprus: Examining Collaboration with UN Peacekeepers in Spring 1964’

Simon Learoyd, ‘The Assyrian Minority - A Case of Moral Responsibility?’

11.20-11.30: Refreshment break

11.30-12.45: Panel session

Panel Three – Ethical Dimensions and Strategic Considerations: Human Rights within the FCO, 502 - Flexible Teaching Room 1 (G17, Ground Floor)

Chair: TBC

Emily McIndoe, ‘Britain, El Salvador and Human Rights: A Reconsideration’

Grace Livingstone, ‘Human Rights and British Foreign Policy towards the Pinochet Regime in Chile, 1973-82’

David Grealy, ‘David Owen and the “Morality of Compromise”: Human Rights and British Arms Sales, 1977-79’

12.45-13.45: Lunch

13.45-15.00: Panel session

Panel Four – Human Rights at Risk: Dissidents, Whistleblowers, and Assassination Plots, 502 - Flexible Teaching Room 1 (G17, Ground Floor)

Chair: TBC

Mark Hurst, ‘Crossing the Curtain: British Activists, Political Dissidents, and Understanding Human Rights Violations in the Soviet Bloc, 1965-1985’

Ian Foxley, ‘The Whistleblower Dilemma: an Examination of the Factors Shaping the Decision to Blow the Whistle or Not – a Case Study of the Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications (SANGCOM) Project’

Simon Ball, ‘The British State, Human Rights and Assassination in the 1970s’

15.00-15.20: Coffee break

15.20-16.20: Panel session

Panel Five – Beyond Brexit: Human Rights Law and the British State, 502 - Flexible Teaching Room 1 (G17, Ground Floor)

Chair: TBC

Catherine Tully, ‘“Not Conducive to the Public Good”: Human Rights, Citizenship and the “Unilateral” Betrayal of Britain’s Principled Opposition to the Death Penalty’

Danielle Reeder, ‘Us versus Them: The Role of Power Dynamics in the Legal Framing of Post-Brexit Collective Security Mechanisms’

16.20-16.30: Refreshment break

16.30-18.00: Roundtable discussion

The Role of NGOs in Shaping Britain’s Human Rights Agenda, 502 – Teaching Room 4 (118a, First Floor)

Participants:

Clive Baldwin

Kate Ferguson

Liam Walpole

Tom Cargill

Rayhan Haque

Date and Time

Location

University of Liverpool

Teaching Hub 502

150 Mount Pleasant

Liverpool

L69 3GD

United Kingdom

View Map

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