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Upcoming Events

Here you will find our upcoming events. 

Policing with Human Rights - promoting peaceful and inclusive societies

This CGHR panel discussion brings international experts from the United Nations into conversation with academics based in Cambridge and elsewhere to explore the role of police, the act of policing, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
When Jan 18, 2018
from 06:00 PM to 07:30 PM
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The police play a vital role in protecting and promoting a wide range of human rights in contemporary societies. The expansiveness of their role combined with their very direct engagement with the public gives way to unique tensions; it signifies that police in one instance are called to act as state agents whose very actions either tangibly respect or fail to respect an individuals’ rights while in another, they can act as the state’s first line of defence in protecting rights from violations.

In certain circumstances, protecting the rights of some can interfere with the rights of others, only heightening the controversy surrounding police and the act of policing. In some cases, the police exemplify—in an acute and visible way—the tensions festering beneath the surface of wider social interactions; in other cases, they may create their own, specific challenges. The use of force by the police brings these challenges into stark relief. The most widely recognized use of force is their use of lethal force, but force can also be lower-level invasions of personal privacy such as “stop and search”. Are these practices necessary? Do they facilitate or impede peace and inclusion?

In light of these challenges among others, the global community committed in 2015, through SDG 16 , to significantly reduce the levels of violence in society. Thus, the CGHR has arranged this panel of experts to discuss the extent to which the police are both an important ally and target of sustainable development given existent problems and tensions. The SDGs emphasise the importance of providing access to justice and building accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, but what are the existing challenges—especially those surrounding use of force—and how can they be addressed so goals such as those laid out in the SDGs can become a reality?


Christof Heyns is a member of the UN Human Rights Committee and Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria, where he directs the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa. From 2010-2016 he served as UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and in 2016 he also served as Chair of the UN Independent Investigation into Burundi.

Anneke Osse is an independent consultant who has worked around the world on issues of policing and human rights. She has worked as a consultant for a range of organizations, including the UN, OSCE , international NGOs as well as for the police. She was recently the lead author of the Resource Book on the Use of Force and Firearms in Law Enforcement (2017) published jointly by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. She is in the exploratory stages of a new international collaboration aimed at monitoring the use of lethal force by police officers around the world.

Stuart Maslen is an Honorary Professor at the University of Pretoria, and specialises in the use of force under international law. He holds a doctorate in international humanitarian law as well as master’s degrees in international human rights law and in forensic ballistics. He recently co-authored a commentary on the Arms Trade Treaty, published by OUP in 2016, and on police use of force under international law, published by Cambridge University Press in 2017.

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Film screening 'Chauka, please tell us the time' and Q&A

In collaboration with Amnesty International Cambridge City Group we will be screening ’Chauka, please tell us the time’. The film gives an insight into life in the Australian off-shore detention centres for asylum seekers and refugees in Papua New Guinea. The film screening (90min) will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s Director & Producer Arash Kavali Sarvestani.
When Jan 16, 2018
from 06:00 PM to 08:30 PM
Where SG1, Alison Richard Building
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Synopsis: Since 2013 the Australian Government has been incarcerating refugees and asylum seekers arriving by boat on Manus Island and Nauru. The Manus Island compound currently detains a refugee who is also a journalist. This individual strives to gather information for an Australian journalist visiting the island and who wants to publish an article in the press about events in the detention facility. At the center of his investigation is a solitary confinement cell called Chauka, which is like a prison inside the prison. Some of the detainees speak to the refugeejournalist about their horrific experiences in the camp -especially in Chauka. At the same time, the visiting Australian journalist is investigating what Chauka means for the local Manusians. It appears that Chauka is the name of a bird which can be found only on Manus Island; it is the symbol of the island and decorates its flag. She speaks to some of the locals. Both the detained journalist and the visiting Australian journalist critically analyse different aspects the situation. We encounter first-hand experiences of what life inside the camp means, how it is governed, the political games between Australia and PNG on this matter, the way Manusians are treated by Australians, and the way locals think about the existence of the camp on their island.

Arash Kamali Sarvestani is an Iranian Dutch Filmmaker and Video Artist. Arash was born in Tehran, Iran on 1981. He has studied Cinema at the Art University of Tehran. In 2009 he moved to the Netherlande to study Video Art in Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. He graduated in 2013 and has been living in The Netherlands since then. During a workshop in 2015, Arash came up with the idea of making a film from inside a refugee camp, using only mobile phone cameras. After two years of investigation into refugees kept by the Australian government in Manus and Nauru, Arash found Behrooz Boochani who was (and still is) detained in Manus camp. Arash’s first feature film “Chauka, Please tell us the time” is a result of their cooperation.

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The domestic political-economy of South Africa, and the implications for its foreign policy

A discussion and talk from Dr. Oscar van Heerden
When Nov 03, 2017
from 01:10 PM to 02:00 PM
Where Alison Richard Building, room S1
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The Centre of African Studies and Centre of Governance and Human Rights are pleased to invite you this very special talk with Dr. Oscar van Heerden.

van Heerden is a scholar of International Relations (IR), where he focuses on International Political Economy, with an emphasis on Africa, and SADC in particular. He completed his PhD and Master's degree at the University of Cambridge. His undergraduate studies were at Turfloop and Wits. He is an active fellow of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflections (MISTRA) and is a trustee for the Kgalema Mothlante Foundation.

The theme of the talk will centre around key issues that continue to influence South Africa's foreign policy, incl. SA's position in BRICS and the relation to Zimbabwe.

The talk and subsequent discussion will be held in S1, Alison Richards Building, Friday the 3rd of November, 13.00-14.00.

Light refreshments will be served. The talk is open and free to all.

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