Shami Chakrabarti, outgoing Liberty Director, speaks in front of Scottish audience

January 25, 2016

The well-known human rights defender Shami Chakrabarti is leaving her job as Director of Liberty and the NGO Justice Scotland organized a public event in there honor at the Faculty of Advocates’ Laigh Hall with an open and informative discussion ranging from the ISIS threat to authoritarian politics and defending the Human Rights Act. The event, the second in the JUSTICE Scotland “Beyond Law” series hosted by the Faculty, was praised by Lord Hodge, the UK Supreme Court Justice, who is chairing the series. “What a treat,” he stated, describing Ms Chakrabarti as a “very articulate and humane voice for libertarian views.”

Ms Chakrabarti herself was delighted to have taken part. She said: “I really enjoyed it. I thought the contributions from the floor in particular showed what a thoughtful bunch of lawyers you have here, and how concerned they are, not only about the law but the way it shapes the kind of society we want to live in.”

Ms Chakrabarti recalled how she had caused alarm among family and friends when, after joining the English bar, she took a post in the Home Office, others not seeing her as a likely candidate for the civil service. And when she then left to become in-house counsel at Liberty, there was more consternation.

After a mere one day of “blue sky thinking” with Liberty the world was changed by the awful events of 9/11. “Of course it was a game changer but I don’t think it was the beginning of our authoritarian politics. That had started earlier – attacks on judges, lawyers, legal aid, migrants. In our age, governments can feel quite powerless because the challenges are global and are not going to be solved by one government or another, yet senior politicians have to be seen to be doing something,” she suggested.

.. All around the world, she added, attacks were being made on human rights defenders. “It is happening in our country, and we cannot let it continue,” she said. “I think we have to defend the Human Rights Act and the ECHR, otherwise we are going in completely the wrong direction.”

Source: Shami Chakrabarti wows audience at JUSTICE event – Scottish Legal News

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