Human Dignity as a Focus for Criminal Justice and Human Rights: Report on 6th Annual Postgraduate Conference, April 2012

The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights’ 6th Annual Postgraduate Conference was held on 26th April 2012 in Áras na Laoi, UCC on the theme of “Transformation and Reform: Structures and Mechanisms for Rights-Based Protections”. The aim was to critically examine the implications for individuals and rights-based protections that arise from recent proposals for major reforms at the national, European and international level. This was reflected in the variety and high quality of papers presented on a wide range of topics including Scottish and Irish Criminal Processes, Gender and Sexual Offences, Racism and Hate Speech, Irish Legal Processes, International Criminal Law, and International Humanitarian Law.

Professor Christopher McCrudden of Queen’s University Belfast delivered the keynote address examining An Integrated Approach to International Human Rights through the Concept of Human Dignity. Professor McCrudden traced the origins of the concept of human dignity, and noted the implications for both methodological approaches to researching and substantive enforcement of human rights that arise from a renewed focus on human dignity within international human rights law.

 

A video of the event can be seen here

The conference attracted a total of 66 attendees with speakers from across the island of Ireland and the UK, including from UCC, TCD, UCD, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, University of Ulster, King’s College London, University of Strathclyde, NUIG, the Law Reform Commission, Griffith College Dublin, University of Nottingham, University of Aberdeen, University of Bedfordshire, Queen’s University Belfast, Queen Mary, University of London as well as legal and non-governmental practitioners.

A number of innovations were made to the conference programme this year including the introduction of a competition for best paper. The competition was won by Sarah Singer of Queen Mary, University of London. Sarah presented her paper titled “Exclusion from Refugee Status: Asylum Seekers & Terrorism in the UK” at a plenary session of the conference. The paper was very well received and provided a valuable opportunity to highlight the excellent standard of postgraduate research which the CCJHR seeks to promote.

The conference concluded with a panel discussion on the topic of Transformation and Reform. This was also a new addition to the CCJHR conference programme and allowed for reflection and discussion on the disparate issues raised in the plenary sessions and parallel workshops during the day.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended and presented at the conference, in particular Professor McCrudden and Sarah Singer, and for the excellent support from UCC Faculty staff on the day. Pictures from the conference and a podcast of the keynote speech by Professor McCrudden will be available shortly on the CCJHR website.