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This seminar addresses various human rights issues at monthly meetings, sometimes by designating a theme to be followed during the entire academic year. The topics cover international and domestic areas of concern and reflect problems of both conceptualization and application. Emphasis is also placed on dialogue between advocates of western and non-western ideas and practices. This year, the Columbia University Human Rights Seminar is focusing on Implementation of Human Rights Norms: Challenges and Prospects.

George J. Andreopoulos

Brooke Helmick

Meeting Schedule

6:30 PM
Despite Cruelty: Why I Still Have Faith in Human Rights Values
William F. Schulz, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School


Drawing upon this chapter, Dr. Schulz will respond to the question most frequently asked of him during his Amnesty years, “Given all the horrors you hear about and see day after day, how do you retain any hope that human rights will triumph in the end? How do you sustain your faith in humanity?” This presentation will consider the nature of evil and the sources of human rights hope.

6:00 PM
Hospitality and the humanising of the UK’s asylum laws and policy
Saskia Vermeylen, University of Strathclyde

Sylvie Da Lomba, University of Strathclyde

04/17/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University
7:30 PM
Taking on the Past: Investigating Impunity During The Northern Ireland Conflict 1969-1998
Brian Dooley, Human Rights First


This paper offers an overview of a study currently in progress into British State impunity for human rights violations, including torture and killings, conducted during the Northern Ireland conflict 1969-1998. It examines challenges encountered in the research and writing of the report, provides a historical and political context, and anticipates some of the criticism and hostility it is likely to encounter when published. It also asks for your advice on some critical questions about methodology and presentation.