Loading Events

Shami Chakrabarti: Human Rights:The Case for the Defence with Rosie Boycott

Wednesday 17 July at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Join Baroness Chakrabarti in conversation with Rosie Boycott as she discusses her latest book : “Human Rights The case for the Defence”.

A powerful and urgent explanation and vindication of our human rights and freedoms

After the devastation of World War Two, the international community came together to enshrine fundamental rights to refuge, health, education and living standards, for privacy, fair trials and free speech, and outlawing torture, slavery and discrimination. Their goal was greater global justice, equality, and peace. That settlement is now in danger, attacked by opponents from across the political spectrum and populist and authoritarian movements worldwide. We are threatened by wars, inequality, new technologies and climate catastrophe, and we need our human rights now more than ever. In this powerful, accessible book, Shami Chakrabarti, lawyer, parliamentarian and leading British human rights defender, shows us why human rights are essential for our future.

Outlining the historic national and international struggles for human rights, from the fall of Babylon, to the present day, Chakrabarti is an indispensable guide to the law and logic underpinning human dignity and universal freedoms. Her intervention will engage both sceptics and supporters, equipping believers in the battle of ideas and persuading doubters to think again. For human rights to survive, they must be far better understood by everyone.

  • A fierce and thoughtful answer to those who thoughtlessly criticise the whole idea of human rights and its core values of dignity and equality – but also a blueprint for how human rights thinking might help us solve the great problems of the day – cyberspace and AI, armed conflict and climate change – and give democracy a future

    Brenda Hale

  • An ideal introduction to the subject of human rights … Chakrabarti is excellent on the historical origins of her subject … and shows how the idea of human rights can have a direct bearing on the problems of today, whether war, climate change, poverty or artificial intelligence. In Chakrabarti’s hands, the underlying values are what matter about human rights, forming a roadmap to civilised living at a time of change and crisis. I cannot offhand think of a better, more attractive introduction to the subject for those curious to know more about it than the occasional newspaper headline … Chakrabarti has an enviable writing style, her fluency in print matching her bewitching speaking skills; many times I could hear her voice coming through the text … pugilistic in her defence of human rights, Chakrabarti is a key high priest in this, the most important of our secular religions

    Conor Gearty, Irish Times

  • An impassioned, thoughtful reminder of why the principle of human rights is a universal force for good, at a moment when some in power would have us believe otherwise. Read and feel inspired

    Angela Saini, author of THE PATRIARCHS

  • Full of passion and idealism but also fine scholarship, this book sets out a plan for how Humanity can avoid a cruel, Hobbesian future. It will be required reading for anyone who believes that Human Rights offer a better path forward for global society than the Manichean one it is presently treading

    Andrew Roberts

  • A book that is as passionate, as precise, as needed, as human rights themselves. After 30 years as a lawyer and campaigner at the rock face of human rights work, Shami Chakrabarti argues the case for defending and promoting these rights with reason, lyricism and subtlety, offering us comfort and a compass for the future

    Ahdaf Soueif

  • I would follow this woman to the end of the earth. If you are a human you need to read Shami Chakrabati’sHuman Rights. If you are not then don’t. We need this book now more than ever

    Lemn Sissay (via X)

  • The threat to human rights is ever increasing and the practical way this book informs us is commendable. The book gives us a road map of what we are facing that is easy to understand. People across the world face more conflict than ever. Wars that have nothing to do with ordinary people going about their daily lives come from the governments that are supposed to protect them. The book is worth reading

    Doreen Lawrence

  • Human rights need informed and passionate supporters, perhaps now more than ever. Shami Chakrabarti is both, her eloquence and persuasiveness evident in every page of this lively and accessible book

    Conor Gearty

  • Even within the most open of societies, the case for human rights has to be refashioned in each generation. Shami Chakrabarti’s pages glow with the persuasive gifts and 30 years’ of practical experience she brings to her task

    Peter Hennessy

  • At once primer and urgent clarion call, Shami Chakrabarti’s brilliant history and defence of human rights could not have come at a better time. Lucid, exacting and passionate, this book is required reading for critics and advocates alike. Chakrabarti reminds us that rights are not there to make us comfortable, and nor should they be traded for political points. Rights exist to keep us – and our democracies – free

    Lyndsey Stonebridge

Shami Chakrabarti is a leading British human rights lawyer and campaigner who has written and broadcast widely and held a number of public roles in recent decades. A legislator in the House of Lords, she is the author ofOn LibertyandOf Women. Director of Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties) from 2003 to 2016, she was Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales from 2016 to 2020.

Rosie Boycott

Rosie Boycott worked for a year or so with Frendz radical magazine and in 1972, she co-founded the feminist magazine Spare Rib with Marsha Rowe. Later, both women became directors of Virago Press with Carmen Callil, who had founded the company in 1973.

From 1992 to 1996, Boycott was editor of the UK edition of the men’s magazine Esquire. From 1996 to 1998, she headed The Independent and its sister publication the Independent on Sunday.

Later, she edited the Daily Express (May 1998–January 2001), leaving soon after the newspaper was bought by Richard Desmond, who replaced her with Chris Williams.

On 5 August 2008, Boycott was appointed as the chair of “London Food” as part of Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson‘s attempt to help improve Londoners’ access to healthy, locally produced and affordable food. In September 2007, she appeared in the third series of Hell’s Kitchen, and was the first contestant to be voted off. In June 2009, she appeared on Celebrity MasterChef. The same month she was one of five volunteers who took part in a BBC series of three programmes entitled Famous, Rich and Homeless, about living penniless on the streets of London.

In June 2018, Boycott was nominated for a life peerage by the House of Lords Appointments Commission. She was created Baroness Boycott, of Whitefield in the County of Somerset, on 9 July.

Share This Event



The Wanstead Tap Ltd
352 Winchelsea Road
London, England E7 0AQ United Kingdom


The Wanstead Tap