Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti was the latest high profile human rights campaigner speaking at Middlesex, as part of the University’s series of free public debates.
In conversation with Middlesex Professor of Law, Ziauddin Sardar, Shami spoke about Liberty and how successful the campaigning group has been in protecting civil liberties and promoting human rights for everyone.
“I was here to have a conversation with Middlesex law students. I think we had a pretty rigorous conversation about the rights of freedoms in Britain…and why human rights matter, and why the rule of law is a crucial ingredient in a democracy.”
She said universities should play a bigger part in promoting human rights issues to the wider public.
“I think that universities like Middlesex can play a crucial part in making students aware of their rights and freedoms and why they matter. But their influence can be even beyond the student body.
“Modern universities, particularly urban universities, are well placed to be open to the public - to take their research and learning and make it accessible to the wider public.
“When it comes to law students there's also, in this time of declining legal aid, a really important role - under supervision of course by qualified lawyers and lecturers - to actually give legal advice to people that wouldn't otherwise get it.
“In doing that, they can become really powerful ambassadors for the rule of law and for the importance of human rights in Britain.”
Shami, who was given an honorary degree by Middlesex in 2011, said she was honoured to be invited back to the University and speak to the students in a lecture.
“Middlesex is a great place. It's a real pleasure to be back for a real conversation.”
“I find it a place that's very engaged and engaging. People who are not living in an ivory tower but are part of the community around them, part of the society around them. And I hope I get invited back again.”
Held annually, The Middlesex University Law Debates are a public series of events designed to consider the most pressing legal and ethical issues of the day.
This year’s series, entitled ‘Born Under One Law’, is billed as a series of challenging conversations on the key questions of our times.