Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival, 7th – 11th December 2020…

The festival will run from the 7th-11th December and continues to offer a wide variety of more than 30 free online events and on-demand content focussed on aspects of human rights from home and abroad.

2020 has been an unbelievably challenging year for everyone across the world. The Covid-19 global pandemic has created a massive public health emergency, extensive loss of life and has also exposed and deepened many inequalities in our society. Rights continue to connect us and to protect us in these uncertain times. Now more than ever we need to celebrate and continue to protect those fundamental values and safeguards.

Given that most of us continue to be in lockdown and isolated from family and friends we have decided to take this year’s festival events entirely online. The internet will allow us to be connected virtually and the festival will help us explore how in the current circumstances we continue to be interconnected by rights as well.

With webinars and discussions on responses and reactions to COVID, Brexit, the Bill of Rights, feminism, disability, the LGBT+ community, domestic violence, the planetary emergency and much more we have plenty to keep you busy from Monday the 7th to Friday the 11th of December.

We also have an amazing collection of activities and entertainment, including a photography exhibition from the artist in residence Bernie McAllister, family-friendly and fun activities for kids, a virtual Pub Quiz on Thursday evening, with live comedy and music, and a wide range of free films and exclusive documentaries exploring human rights across the world.

Let’s hope that moving forward we can continue to discuss, debate and explore the value of human rights as we continue to emerge from tough times and dedicate ourselves to fighting even harder for a better future based on human rights.

Visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at #NIHRF to sign up and learn more.

List of events…

Monday 7th December:

Disability, sport and human rights with Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Disability Sport NI 
When: 12:30pm
About: The Northern Ireland Sport & Human Rights Forum is delighted to host its first-ever event at the NI Human Rights Festival, which will focus on disability access to sport. Hearing from Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson – Paralympian, Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords and Broadcaster, and a representative of Disability Sport NI.

Big Conversations, Little People: Raising ‘Woke’ Kids
When: 13:00pm
About: We’re hoping this event will be the start of a conversation about navigating social-justice-oriented parenthood. So, make yourself a sandwich and a cuppa and join us to talk out some big things and try to put the world to rights. Littles lurking in the background (or on parental knees) absolutely welcome!
Everyone Equal

When: 14:00pm

About: Everyone Equal is a collaborative campaign from four human rights organisations – CAJ, Human Rights Consortium, PPR and the PILS Project – to bring the message of fairness and equality to all people living in Northern Ireland. Join us for this webinar discussion on the focus of the campaign and its impact.

Education is a Right
When: 16:00pm
About: Join NUS-USI for an interactive session focusing on the need for publicly-funded third level education in Northern Ireland! Help us explore how the 2020 student experience has highlighted the dangers of a system that relies on tuition fees. All are more than welcome!

We JUST want the EARTH

When: 17:00pm
About: The best time to start our transition to a low-carbon future was decades ago, but the next best time is today. So, what does a truly Just Transition to a life-sustaining society look like both at home and globally? Join Friends of the Earth as we talk to leading voices about local solutions to global problems.

A Seat at the Table: Capacity Building for Diverse, Inclusive, and Representative Leadership
When: 18:00pm
About: Northern Ireland deserves more diverse, inclusive, and representative public, private, and charity sectors. Building on a model of applied cultural competency, facilitators from MCNI’S LAVA Project, this workshop presented by Migrant Centre NI is to help you make a plan to play a part in that goal.

Life Behind the Lens
When: 20:00pm
About: Artist in residence, photographer Bernie McAllister, who is usually behind the scenes at our festival is now moving centre stage and curating a wonderful collection of her own work and experiences as a photographer. Join Bernie for an evening discussing her work, her passions and sharing some of her favourite pictures.

Tuesday 8th December:

When it’s good to poke your nose in someone else’s business: NICCY & Children’s Rights Cases
When: 10:00am
About: This seminar will examine how the role of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) can be beneficial to solicitors and counsel acting in Judicial Review actions regarding children’s services and how the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is/can be invoked.

Amnesty International Annual Lecture: The Crackdown on Human Rights in Hong Kong – Gwyneth Ho
When: 14:00pm
About: Pro-democracy activist and former journalist,  Gwyneth Ho, whose video footage of a violent attack on pro-democracy protesters at the Yuen Long train station went viral around the world, will speak on the state of human rights in Hong Kong following a crackdown on freedoms by the Beijing-backed government.

Ensuring a ‘Race to the Top’ for human rights in a post-Brexit UK
When: 15:00pm
About: With speakers from all regions of the UK we will explore the positive human rights developments in each part of the UK, how similar developments can be enhanced and replicated in the other jurisdictions and what civil society and the public can do to help support a race to the top for human rights.

Humans and their Law
When: 18:00pm
About: In partnership with Beyond Skin, BuildaBriidge Philadelphia & OpenNet4.0 Zambia, special guest speakers will discuss current topics such as: how the ideals of the US bill of rights translate in a societal context; gun law; public health, rights of the vulnerable, and the law of us and them.

Inclusive Story Time with HERe NI
When: 18:00pm
About: Bring a teddy, get comfy and join HEReNI online to listen to some stories which celebrate diversity and promote inclusion!

This is What a Real Emergency Looks Like: What the response to Coronavirus can teach us about responding to the planetary emergency
When: 19:00pm
About: Despite the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment being given legal effect by over 150 nations, could it be that declarations of ‘climate emergencies’ are just that? Join Professor John Barry from Queens University as he discusses how responses to Covid-19 can help shape our response to the planetary emergency.

Wednesday 9th December:

Deprivation of Women’s Freedom – Legislation, Gaslighting and #FreeBritney
When: 10:00am
About: This panel discussion will examine Clause 12 of the Domestic Abuse Bill, other current examples of women being deprived of freedom – including the #FreeBritney movement- and the long history of gaslighting women and depriving them of freedom ‘for their own good’.

Domestic Abuse Awareness Workshop

When: 11:30am
About: This workshop from Cara-Friend and HERe NI marks the Global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence Campaign and identifies some of the barriers to accessing help, the heteronormativity of society, and the underlying fear of homophobia biphobia or transphobia that those from the LGBT community face.

Sex Worker Rights Are Human Rights

When: 13:30pm
About: Learn about the issues experienced by sex workers in Northern Ireland and how to be an ally in eliminating discrimination against sex workers in this workshop by The Rainbow Project. All welcome!

Have your say: Human Rights in Northern Ireland

When: 16:00pm
About: Community Dialogue, in conjunction with the Human Rights Consortium are hosting a dialogue session in order to get your views, listening to what you think and help you to participate in the Northern Ireland Assembly’s survey regarding the creation of a Bill of Rights in Northern Ireland.

Consent in Media: From Doris Day to Normal People

When: 18:30pm
About: How women are represented in the media has come a long way from “Doris Day” but is it enough and what we are doing about it? Join Raise Your Voice, a project to tackle sexual harassment and violence, and Common Youth to examine consent in the media.

Celebrating Rights – Right to Celebrate

When: 19:00pm
About: The NI Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) and her Youth Panel are hosting an online discussion exploring how the protections found within the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child can provide a framework for children and young people to confidently celebrate their identity and their culture.

Tenx9: Connections

When: 19:30pm
About: A live storytelling event where nine people have up to ten minutes each to tell a true story from their own life on a particular theme. Started in 2011 by Pádraig Ó Tuama & Paul Doran, tenx9 has now moved successfully to Zoom and attracted a whole new international audience to add to an existing homegrown following.

Thursday 10th December:

‘Know Your Rights’ Human Rights Day Video Launch

About: Victim Support NI is launching a short animation highlighting the rights victims of crime are entitled to in law thanks to the Victim Charter NI. It will raise awareness of the existence of the Victim Charter and gives people an overview of the rights they have in Northern Ireland as a victim of a crime and how to access support.

Women’s Rights, Brexit and the Bill of Rights: Challenges and Opportunities 20 years on from UNSCR 1325

When: 10:00am
About: Join the Women’s Policy Group and Covid Conversations on International Human Rights Day, in the 20th anniversary year of UNSCR 1325, and as we stand on the precipice of the end of the Brexit transition period, and look at not only the threats to women’s rights, but also the opportunities to protect and fully realise these rights.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission 2020 Annual Statement Launch

When: 12:30pm
About: Addressing major civil, political, economic, social and cultural issues, the Annual Statement marks the publication of the Commission’s annual review of human rights in Northern Ireland and sets out the actions taken by or required from the UK Government, NI Executive or relevant public authorities in response to the issues.

Bill of Rights Campaign – Launch Event

When: 14:00pm
About: Join us for the launch of a campaign that seeks to ensure that the protection of rights finds its proper place within our society, that sees a Bill of Rights as a foundational and transformative document for everyone in Northern Ireland, and sets us on the pathway to building back better and securing a fair future for everyone.

Children’s Yoga with HERe NI

When: 18:00pm
About: Relax and wind down with yoga for children. This includes games and a story with gentle yoga positions suitable for children.

Assisted conception for same-sex couples; Rights, regulations and realities

When: 19:30pm
About: Join the Fertility Network and Here NI for a discussion on assisted conception for same-sex couples. Hear more about the criteria to access treatment, what rights you may (or may not!) have in the workplace and as prospective parents, and about the support available while trying to conceive and after.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival Pub Quiz

When: 20:00pm
About: Join us for an online social event where you don’t even need to dress up, look fancy, or leave the comfort of your own home. Through the magic of technology, we will be hosting a live Zoom call where you can join us for a super fun and highly interactive Quiz including professional live music and comedy!

Friday 11th December:

Organic Agriculture, Fairness and Human Rights
When: 10:00am
About: With approaches to the stewardship of the environment, agriculture and the finite resources of our planet increasingly being linked with the protection of human rights, how do the principles of organic agriculture and human rights overlap and how can they work in harmony to create a fair and just society? Sign up and find out!

Broken Documentary

When: 12:00pm

About: BROKEN– A Palestinian Journey Through International Law is a compelling documentary about international law, its broken promises, the ICJ, Israel’s Wall in Palestine, and the international community’s duties and omissions; a tangled web of law, politics and power, and how history refuses to turn the page.

Domestic Abuse in LGBTQ+ Relationships

When: 13:00pm
About: Join HERe NI and Cara-Friend to watch and discuss ‘LGBTQueering the Narrative of Sexual Violence’ and to find out more about upcoming consultations on Domestic Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence. As part of the NIHRF this event is open to all open to all.

Free to Think: Launch of the Scholars at Risk Annual Report 2020
When: 14:00pm

About: Marking the launch of the Scholars at Risk Annual Report Free to Think 2020, Ulster’s Transitional Justice Institute and QUB Human Rights Centre are delighted to welcome Serdar M. Değirmencioğlu, who was a professor of psychology before being banned from public service for life and facing the penalty of ‘civil death’ in Turkey.

Nothing About Us, Without Us – A human rights agenda for persons with disabilities
When: 15:00pm

About: Join a range of Disabled Persons Led Organisations (DPLO’s) as they discuss and analyse how persons with disabilities have been excluded from decision making affecting their lives and how they, in turn, have taken strategic action to address those barriers.

Plus, On-Demand content including a photo exhibition, documentaries, a letter-writing campaign and a comic from organisations such as Trócaire, Front Line Defenders and the Queerspace Collective to keep you busy in between events!

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