Director of civil rights group Liberty Shami Chakrabarti ensured the University’s 2010 Barbara Diamond Memorial Lecture lived up to its tradition of lively discourse this week.

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Shami Chakrabarti on stageIn conversation with University law lecturer Harriet Samuels, Shami Chakrabarti talked about many of the topics that ensure she is seldom out of the news when human rights issues are on the agenda.

The death penalty, Human Rights Act, detention for terror suspects and defending ‘shock-jock’ and Sun newspaper columnist Jon Gaunt’s freedom of speech were all covered during an entertaining hour of discussion.

The event, which attracted a packed audience to the University’s Regent Street Old Cinema, was the latest in a series of annual lectures to celebrate the life of former lecturer Barbara Diamond.

Taking questions from the audience, Shami Chakrabarti was asked for her view on how students should view the issue of human rights.

She replied by paraphrasing Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous maxim that “where, after all, do human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works”.

Previous speakers at the annual event have included writer and broadcaster Germaine Greer, fashion designer Zandra Rhodes and disability campaigner Tara Flood.

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