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Sackler Distinguished Lecture Series on Human Rights

The Sackler Distinguished Lecture Series on Human Rights was established at Leiden University through an endowment given by Dr. Raymond R. Sackler and his wife, Beverly, international philanthropists with a commitment to supporting scientific research. The lectures mark the annual celebration of International Human Rights Day, which was proclaimed in 1950 by the United Nations to bring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’.

Past lectures

11 December 2017 | Wai Wai Nu

Human Rights in South East Asia: Overcoming the current crisis in Myanmar

On Monday 11 December, human rights activist Ms. Wai Wai Nu from Myanmar delivered the seventh Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture on Human Rights at Leiden Law School. The situation of Rohingya in Myanmar attracted world­wide media coverage. Ms. Wai Wai Nu shared her experiences and insights on how the situation came about, and how can we overcome the current crisis? Which steps should be taken at the national level, and what are the prospects for regional co-operation in the field of human rights? What can the international community do – and what about individuals? What lessons can we learn from the escalation of the situation in Myanmar, at a time that tensions occur in so many societies around the globe? Read more.

10 December 2016 | Thomas Hammarberg

The emergence of 'illiberal democracies' and the protection of human rights in Europe

On Saturday 10 December 2016, Thomas Hammarberg, former Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, delivered the sixth Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture on Human Rights.  Thomas Hammerberg spoke on the emergence of 'illiberal democracies' and the protection of human rights in Europe. The lecture was followed by a Q&A-session with Thomas Hammarberg. Read more

10 December 2015 | Rt. Hon. Lady Justice Arden, DBE

Magna Carta: how liberty of the subject was won and how Magna Carta can be used to think about the future

On 10 December 2015 the Rt. Hon. Lady Justice Arden, DBE, delivered the Fifth Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture on Human Rights. Lady Justice Arden spoke on the enduring spirit of the Great Charter that was signed at Runnymede on 15 June 1215, and which celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2015. The lecture was followed by a Q&A-session with Arden.

Magna Carta and Human Rights
Magna Carta was declared not to be binding within months of its execution. So is Magna Carta’s reputation justified, or is it just a myth? Lady Justice Arden addressed this question, describing Magna Carta’s key provisions and how, despite being declared not to be binding within months, Magna Carta lived on and became embedded in the political consciousness and legal tradition of a nation. Succeeding generations reinterpreted its important provisions, using it for what was relevant to them. She argued that the principles of Magna Carta can still be used today to create a fairer world.

10 December 2014 | Bryan A. Stevenson

Confronting Injustice: Protecting Human Rights in A Complex Era

On Wednesday 10 December 2014 Professor Bryan A. Stevenson delivered the fourth Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture on Human Rights at Leiden Law School. Stevenson received international fame through his work on prejudices against disadvantaged and minorities in the criminal justice system. The lecture dealt with the necessary elements to safeguard human rights when fear and hatred threaten to bring the trial to a detriment and when there is a chance that minorities may be abused. Stevenson spoke from his experience as an American lawyer, in which he had to deal with mass detention and excessive violence in the United States. The lecture therefore gave a broad perspective of what is required of lawyers and worried citizens when it comes to protecting fundamental human rights.

10 December 2013 | Salah Marghani

Libya: a Show Case of Human Rights Issues

On Tuesday 10 December 2013 Salah Marghani, Minister of Justice of Libya delivered the third Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture on Human Rights at Leiden Law School.

10 December 2012 | Albie Sachs

The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter

On Monday 10 December 2012 Dr Albie Sachs, formerly judge at the Constitutional Court of South Africa delivered the second Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture on Human Rights at Leiden Law School. 

10 December 2011 | Jean-Paul Costa

The current challenges facing the European Court of Human Rights

On Saturday 10 December 2011 Mr Jean-Paul Costa, Judge at the European Court of Human Rights 1998-2011, President of the Court from 19 January 2007 to 3 November 2011, delivered the first Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture on Human Rights at Leiden Law School. In the 2011, the legitimacy of the judgments of the ECHR has been the subject of some rather fierce debates in several European countries, including The Netherlands. Mr. Costa reflected on these debates. The lecture was followed by a Q & A session.

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