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The Prohibition of Torture: Still a Valid Concern for UK Policy and Practic...

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Archaeology G6 Lecture Theatre, University College London

31-34 GORDON SQUARE

United Kingdom

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In his address in London on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture in June 2017, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned that politicians are increasingly undermining the UN Convention against Torture with their words, risking the widening of its practice. The UK government was also not immune from criticism, given recent proposals to change human rights law if it gets in the way of security operations and immigration controls. Notwithstanding, the UK remains a principal supporter of the torture prohibition at the United Nations, as well as investing significant resources in an expansive domestic monitoring apparatus. This public panel event will bring together leading UK practitioners in the field of torture prohibition to discuss the status of the prohibition in the UK today. This event comes at a critical time – with human rights norms in relation to torture prohibition facing major threats globally. With a focus on UK territories and policy, the panel will survey the key challenge facing the prohibition of torture in both law and practice, the UK’s policy in this regard, the effectiveness of diverse mechanisms in torture prevention, accountability and redress, as well as key areas of attention, including prison conditions, immigration detention facilities and treatment of vulnerable groups.

PANEL MEMBERS:

Malcom Evans

Sir Malcolm Evans is Professor of Public International Law at the University of Bristol, where he has taught since 1988. His areas of legal specialism include both international human rights protection and the international law of the sea. In the field of human rights his particular interests concern torture and torture prevention and the protection of religious liberty under international law, on both of which he was written extensively. He became a member of the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture (the SPT) in 2009 and since 2011 has been serving as its Chair. From 2014-2015 he was the Chairperson of the Meeting of Chairs of UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies.

Carla Ferstman

Carla Ferstman is Director of REDRESS, a London-based human rights organisation that helps torture survivors obtain justice and reparation. She was called to the Bar in British Columbia, Canada in 1994 and practiced there as a criminal law barrister. Also prior to joining REDRESS, she worked with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in post-genocide Rwanda, with Amnesty International's International Secretariat as a legal researcher on trials in Central Africa and as Executive Legal Advisor to Bosnia and Herzegovina's Commission for Real Property Claims of Displaced Persons and Refugees (CRPC). She obtained an LL.B. from the University of British Columbia and an LL.M. from New York University and completed her DPhil at the University of Oxford. She has published and is a regular commentator on victims' rights, the International Criminal Court and the prohibition against torture.

John Wadham

John Wadham is Chair of the UK National Preventative Mechanism (NPM). He was formally Chief Legal Officer for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission and, most recently, the Director of the Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights (INTERIGHTS). Between 1995 and 2003 he was the Director of Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties). He also worked for several law centres in South London and in private practice. John Wadham is a solicitor with wide experience in the public and non-government sector. He also has considerable international expertise. Throughout his career, he has worked to protect the rights of detainees.

CHAIR:

Tom Pegram (GGI Deputy Director)

This event is organised in collaboration with the SOAS Centre for Human Rights Law, the UCL Institute of the Americas, and UCL Laws.

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Archaeology G6 Lecture Theatre, University College London

31-34 GORDON SQUARE

United Kingdom

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