Queen’s students attend Sakharov Prize Ceremony at the European Parliament

Students from the School of Law at Queen’s University Belfast recently attended the Sakharov Prize Ceremony at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named in honour of the Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov, has been awarded by the European Parliament annually since 1988 to individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.

27 students on the LLM Human Rights Law course met with MEPs from Northern Ireland and Ireland, and visited the European Court of Human Rights.

The trip was organised by Dr Amanda Gilroy from the Irish College Leuven, and was funded by the European Parliament, the International Office at Queen’s and the School of Law. The students were accompanied by Professor Louise Mallinder and Dr Cheryl Lawther, from the School of Law at Queen’s.

Speaking about the visit, Professor Louise Mallinder said: “As part of their Master’s degree, the students who attended the prize ceremony have been taking a course on Human Rights in Practice, which examines the way in which human rights are practiced - that is, the way in which various human rights actors adopt rights-based strategies, the methodologies they use to do so, and how they seek to implement those methodologies effectively, ethically and with appropriate levels of participation.

“These discussions include encouraging students to think critically about the role of human rights practice within democratic societies, the obligations on states to protect human rights defenders, and the challenges that defenders may face in their work.

“Attending the Sakharov Prize Ceremony provided them with a valuable opportunity to learn about the work of leading human rights defenders and the European Parliament’s commitments to human rights.”

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