Human Rights Charity Comes to Queen Mary
8 November 2011
A leading human rights charity has joined the School of Law at Queen Mary, University of London in a new partnership that will hone the skills of students wishing to specialise in human rights law and practice.
The British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) will teach students at the Mile End campus about developments in UK human rights law, alongside QM academic specialists such as Professor Geraldine van Bueren, Professor Lizzie Barmes and Merris Amos.
BIHR will also offer internships to those students interested in applying academic theories that they have learnt on civil liberties, social justice and human rights.
In addition, the charity will work with the QM Law School’s pro-bono law clinic and Legal Advice Centre, providing information and careers advice to students interested in this specialist field of work.
“As a national independent human rights charity, BIHR is committed to bringing rights to life in the UK. Our aim is to challenge inequality and social justice in everyday life by lobbying and campaigning on the importance of human rights laws and values,” explains Stephen Bowen, Director of the BIHR.
“The Human Rights Act is UK-wide, and protects all people's fundamental rights and freedoms from an “arbitrary, discriminatory or overweening state”. The Act allows UK courts to consider our human rights directly, rather than having to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
“Since the introduction of the Act, we have specialised in taking human rights 'beyond the courtroom', translating the ideas and laws into practical tools for people and organisations to use in everyday life. This approach offers lots of opportunities for joint ventures with Queen Mary.”
BIHR has two specific internships open to Queen Mary law students: one for a postgraduate and one for a third-year student over the summer vacation. There will be shorter-term placements available too; to help students understand the practice of human rights and how a small charity operates.
“There are numerous roles for interns to undertake with us,” Stephen adds, “from assisting our policy and legal work, to helping our training and outreach activities or helping run events or campaigns.”
With a new base at Queen Mary, the BIHR will have access to the latest academic developments on human rights, and aims to carry out joint research projects and events with human rights specialists at the university.
Peter Alldridge, Head of the Department of Law at Queen Mary, said, “We are pleased and proud to welcome the BIHR, and look forward to enduring collaborations in many areas that will contribute to our being able to offer something distinctive and exciting to our students.”
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