Human Rights Day Event: The Right of Rights 1948-2008

To mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this fun yet challenging event will ask which is the greatest right.

Speakers: Shami Chakrabarti, Jonathan Cooper, Professor Conor Gearty, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Professor Francesca Klug, Professor Peter Townsend
Chair: Professor Laurie Taylor

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights devotes 26 of its 30 articles to declaring what our basic rights are. The rights to life, privacy and fair treatment before the law are there, as are guarantees against torture, slavery, discrimination and arbitrary arrest. The civil liberties of free expression, assembly and association make an appearance, as does the democratic right to participate in the government of your country. So too do social and economic rights to education, health, social security, health and leisure, and much else besides. This declaration of rights, long hailed as a manifesto for mankind, has grown in authority through its sixty years of life. Now to celebrate its birthday, the Centre for the Study of Human Rights asks its audience to vote on which is the greatest right of them all. Is it to think, to eat, to rest, to talk, or something unexpected, like the right to own property or to enjoy the arts. In a series of rounds, invited contestants will argue the case for their right, defend their choice and prove its worth against others, until eventually only one remains, the Right of Rights 1948-2008.

Shami Chakrabarti is director of Liberty and a Governor of LSE. Jonathan Cooper OBE is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers and editor of the European Human Rights Law Review. Conor Gearty is Professor of Human Rights Law and director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, LSE. Helena Kennedy is a life peer in the House of Lords and barrister at Doughty Street Chambers. Francesca Klug is Professorial Research Fellow at LSE and a commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Peter Townsend is Professor of International Social Policy, LSE. Laurie Taylor (chair) is visiting professor in the department of politics and sociology at Birkbeck College, University of London. Before entering academic life, he had eight years industrial and sales experience, worked as a librarian in Liverpool, taught in a London comprehensive school, and was a professional actor with Joan Littlewood's famous Theatre Workshop Company at Stratford East. He is the author of fourteen books on motivation, change, communication, and personal identity. His weekly satirical column on university life has been appearing in the Times Higher Education Supplement for the last thirty years. His most recent book (written with his son, Matthew) was called What Are Children For? For the past twenty years he has been heard on BBC Radio 4 in such programmes as Stop the Week, The Radio Programme, News Quiz, Speaking as an Expert, Afternoon Shift, and Room for Improvement. He can currently be heard every Wednesday afternoon on R4 presenting Thinking Allowed, a programme devoted to society and social change.

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For more information, email events@lse.ac.uk or phone 020 7955 6043.