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UN Special Rapporteur speaks at UEL

Speech marks tenth anniversary of Centre on Human Rights in Conflict

The University of East London's Centre on Human Rights in Conflict (CHRC) celebrated its tenth anniversary by hosting a public lecture by Mr Pablo de Greiff, the UN Special Rapporteur on truth, justice reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.

A packed lecture room heard Mr de Greiff speak on 'The future of dealing with the past - guarantees of non-recurrence' at UEL’s University Square Stratford campus on Wednesday 18 November.

Commenting on the event, Mr de Greiff said: “As the UN Special Rapporteur on truth, justice reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, I am pleased to have the opportunity to talk about my work to the students and faculty of the University of East London at the tenth anniversary of the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict.” 

“The challenges of protecting human rights and responding to their violations, particularly during conflict, remain daunting, and require hard work by scholars and practitioners alike.” 

Mr de Greiff’s mandate is to provide guidance on post-authoritarian and post-conflict transitional justice issues for international organisations, and NGOs.

During his talk he addressed the challenge of how governments and societies moved on from periods of gross human rights violations, as can be seen under oppressive dictatorships, during civil wars, and genocide. 

He said that ensuring non-recurrences of human rights violations was a particular challenge for people working in the field. He added that helping countries prevent human rights violations needed to take account of the local level, in terms of civil society and cultural groups making important contributions.
 
Speaking after the lecture, Chandra Lekha Sriram, director of the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict and professor of international law and international relations at UEL, said: “As the director of the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict, I cannot think of a better person than Pablo de Greiff to lead off our 10th anniversary celebration.”  

“As the United Nations Special Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition, he embodies the type of scholar-practitioner whom we seek to support in our own work. His bravery in addressing contemporary human rights violations in conflict deserves great respect.” 

Mr de Greiff has conducted country visits to evaluate and provide recommendations on transitional justice efforts in Tunisia, Uruguay, Spain, Burundi, Sri Lanka, and Northern Ireland, with his report on the Northern Ireland troubles expected in early 2017. 

His talk will be available to watch on the UEL YouTube channel and the CHRC website.