Fundamental rights

Liberty holds first festival of human rights

Posted on 12 Jun 2021

Liberty is holding its first ever “Festival of Human Rights”, a day of performances, films and expert speakers discussing the future of human rights campaigning as we emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic.

The online event, on Saturday 12 June between 2pm and 5.30pm, features guests and panellists discussing the most pressing human rights issues in the UK today, from policing to threats to the Human Rights Act and the ability to challenge the Government in court.

The festival will include:

  • An expert panel discussion on what freedom will look like in Britain after the pandemic, with comedian, writer and activist Francesca Martinez; activist and author of Border Nation Leah Cowan and Guardian journalist John Harris, chaired by Liberty’s director Gracie Bradley.
  • A panel on policing, young people’s mental health and alternative visions of community safety with Mea Aitken, an activist who organises with Kids of Colour, Dr Remi-Joseph Salisbury who coordinates the Northern Police Monitoring Project and works on the No Police in Schools Campaign. and Deborah Coles, the executive director of the charity Inquest.
  • A discussion of the Government’s attack on accountability and how it aims to stop people challenging injustice with lawyer Anne-Marie Irwin and campaigning journalist Trevor Birney.
  • Video features on homelessness and rough sleeping charity Streets Kitchen and Disability Rights UK, looking at how their work has changed during the pandemic.
  • Live performances from renowned poets Lemn Sissay and Mr Gee.

The discussions will focus on what human rights campaigning and activism will look like after the pandemic, and how we can build on the unity and movements for change that have come to prominence over the past year to fight for a fairer and more just society.

Liberty’s head of policy and campaigns, Sam Grant, said: “As we look toward a world where, hopefully, the worst of the pandemic is behind us, many of us are looking for new ways of working for a fairer and more just society.

“We have seen an unprecedented assault on our rights, which continues to this day. But we have also seen enormous unity, and inspiring campaigning, that show just what can be achieved even in the most difficult circumstances.

“The Festival of Human Rights is a place to celebrate the empowering movements that have come to prominence over the past year. And it’s a moment to think about how we can continue to overcome divisive politics and ensure we emerge stronger and more empowered than ever before.”

Contact the Liberty press office on 07973 831 128 or

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