Human Rights - human, right?

Published 29 September 2022 at 10:23
Photograph of a human hand gripping a prison fence

Is torture ever acceptable? Was former Prime Minister David Cameron reasonable in feeling ‘physically ill’ at the idea of giving prisoners the vote? For which crimes should we be able to strip someone of their citizenship, rendering them stateless? And on what basis should we consider deporting asylum seekers to a third state? Hopefully those pesky human rights won’t get in the way of answering these questions at our QED panel next month.

The term ‘human rights’ has become a punchline for opinion pieces in right-leaning publications, decrying the influence of ‘foreign-based judges who are able to overall(sic) government policy initiatives.’ The declarations and conventions which have emerged as a response to the second-world war are frequently being assailed with national security concerns and issues of sovereignty.

Rick Owen, founding member of the QED team and Greater Manchester Skeptics Society, will be joined for our human rights panel by legal experts in the field:

  • Emma McClure is a solicitor who represents prisoners both in parole and public law proceedings. She is also a Trustee at Intervene Project, a charity which provides free legal representation to prisoners. In her spare time Emma gives talks and appears on podcasts (including Skeptics with a K) seeking to educate people on the parole system and prisoner rights. She also enjoys running and boring other people with how much she enjoys running.
  • Qays Sediqi is a solicitor and head of public law at Barnes Harrild & Dyer Solicitors. He specialises in public law, human rights and immigration law. Being a former refugee himself, he is passionate in fighting for people’s human rights (particularly the most vulnerable in our society) and holding public bodies accountable for breaching them. He frequently challenges public bodies, mainly the Secretary of State for the Home Department, at the High Court. His current work includes challenging the Rwanda policy and representing Afghan interpreters who were refused under the ARAP scheme. His work has resulted in him appearing on LBC, ITV news, News24, Al Jazeera’s The Take etc.
There are still further panels to announce, and much more besides, so pick up your QED ticket today!