Human Rights on Tour: Next Stop Belfast!

We are delighted to welcome this guest post from Sanchita Hosali, British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR)

This time last year BIHR was in Belfast co-hosting a brilliant human rights day with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and we’re back! On Monday 5 November we are in Belfast as part of our 2012 Human Rights Tour visiting 16 towns and cities in 16 weeks, to spread the word about the 16 rights in the Human Rights Act (plus lots more!).

This free-to-attend day of awareness and activism is for anyone who wants to know more about human rights and how they are relevant to all of us in our daily lives.  The Tour events combine guest speakers, interactive training sessions, debate and discussion. Our event in Belfast is being co-hosted with the NIHRC and we will hear from Stephen Bowen, BIHR’s Director and NIHRC Commissioner Alan McBride.  Patrick Corrigan from Amnesty International UK/Human Rights Consortium will also be joining us.

We are now half way through the #16cities Tour, having already visited places as far afield as Truro to Inverness, Cardiff to Ipswich! Being out on the road people have told us how important it is to have space for open and informed discussions about human rights.

The opportunity to access training sessions on human rights laws, especially the Human Rights Act, has been well received. An Inverness attendee told us “I will use what I learnt today to be confident in supporting people I work with to access their rights to high quality care,” and another from Bournemouth exclaiming “Great day! Well presented by professionals who know their subject and put it across in an extremely engaging way.” Our Belfast event will explore the historical roots of human rights, highlight international mechanisms to protect rights and provide a practical introduction to the Human Rights Act, with interactive sessions to help bring rights to life.

Our sessions on current political debates about human rights have been equally as popular! The basic roots of human rights in protecting all people from arbitrary state power is often forgotten in current, often negative, debates swirling around Westminster political and media circles. This has led to questions about keeping or scrapping our Human Rights Act and this has become tangled up with the Westminster Commission on a Bill of Rights. What does this mean for Northern Ireland? How does it impact on practical action to make rights real? What about the Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland which is a central part of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement? Have people in Northern Ireland been able to have their say in the Commission’s investigation? These are some of the questions we will explore at our Belfast event and will no doubt make for an interesting day!

If you would like to read more about previous events in the 2012 Human Rights Tour 2012 you can check out our #16cities on Twitter (follow @BIHRhumanrights) and our Tour blog: You can also see the amazing Human Rights Bunting that attendees have made so far. Every person who attends the Tour has the chance to get creative and add their human rights message to the bunting, glitter pens at the ready Belfast!

But in all seriousness, the BIHR team are looking forward to returning to Belfast to deliver what we hope will be another inspiring and motivating session on human rights, how we make them real and why they matter. If you haven’t already booked your place there is still time to register here: Spread the word, we hope to see you there!

Time and venue:  5 November, 10am-4pm at NICVA, 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast, BT15 2GB.