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The University of Southampton

Leading human rights campaigner speaks at the University of Southampton

Published: 28 April 2008

Prominent civil rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti fielded tough questions about human rights, the Government's controversial plans for 42 day detention without trial and religious tolerance from 250 students and staff at the University of Southampton.

The Director of Liberty later said she was impressed with the quality of debate at the event organised by the Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (CCD) at the School of Social Sciences. Professor Gerry Stoker, who leads the Centre, chaired the conversation which attracted students from several disciplines. CCD academics Professor David Owen and Dr Derek McGhee also contributed to the conversation.

Ms Chakrabarti said: "Human rights can't just live in the courtroom, they need to be discussed in the classroom, the newsroom and the living room." She went on to warn: "Elections alone are not sufficient for democracy to survive; the elected majority may just close down the opposition as happens in many parts of the world."

Professor Stoker said: "Shami covered a lot of ground in 90 minutes and spoke fluently and with passion on many subjects. It was an invaluable opportunity to discuss important issues with one of the country's leading campaigners."

Leading human rights campaigner speaks at the University of Southampton
Shami Chakrabarti and Professor Gerry Stoker

The Centre for Citizenship and Democracy supports teaching and research that explains, interprets and evaluates the challenges and opportunities that face citizenship and democratic politics in the modern world.

Notes for editors

  • The School of Social Sciences at the University of Southampton hosts world-leading research centres including the Centre for Citizenship and Democracy; Centre for Global Health, Population, Poverty and Policy (GHP3); Centre for Research on Ageing; Child Well-Being Research Centre; Mountbatten Centre for International Studies (MCIS); and the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute (S3RI).

    A wide variety of taught and research courses are offered in applied social sciences (anthropology, criminology and psychological studies), demography, economics, gerontology, global politics, political science, social policy, social statistics, social work, and sociology.

    The School has strong links with organisations such as the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). It is also home to the hub of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM), and to the Higher Education Academy Social Policy and Social Work subject centre (SWAP).

  • The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship.

    This is one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine, and home to a range of world-leading research centres, including the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, and the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies.

    We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.

    As one of the UK's top 10 research universities, we offer first-rate opportunities and facilities for study and research across a wide range of subjects in humanities, health, science and engineering.

    We have over 22,000 students, around 5000 staff, and an annual turnover in the region of £325 million.

  • For further information
    Sue Wilson, Communications, University of Southampton,
    Tel. 023 8059 5457, email:
    Professor Gerry Stoker, School of Social Sciences,
    Tel: 023 8058 7340, email:

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