The late Professor Kevin Boyle
Nov 26 2014 Posted: 14:36 GMT

The legacy of world-renowned human rights lawyer and scholar, the late Professor Kevin Boyle, endures at NUI Galway with the launch of his personal archive on Friday, 28 November by the Attorney General, Máire Whelan, S.C. The archive contains a wealth of material and unique insights into the field of human rights, legal research and scholarship.

An international symposium, hosted by NUI Galway’s School of Law and the Irish Centre for Human Rights, will take place on the same day to celebrate Professor Boyle’s career, with Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, Chair of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, providing the keynote address.

Professor Boyle, who came originally from Newry, began his career at Queen’s University Belfast where he was deeply engaged in the civil rights movement. In the late 1970s he joined NUI Galway where he co-founded the Irish Centre for Human Rights with Denny Driscoll in 1980.

In the early 1980’s he was involved with Amnesty International, Ireland, which saw him compile research and observations on trips to countries like Gambia and South Africa - where Boyle compiled key reports on the effect on the 'pass law' system and of the wider apartheid regime.

“The legacy which Kevin Boyle has left our University is one of which we are proud and which reverberates to this day”, said Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway. “Our internationally recognised expertise in international human rights law embeds NUI Galway in a global movement seeking to change the world for the better. This we owe in huge part to Kevin, who pioneered scholarship in this area, founded our centre for human rights and for over four decades pushed for change for human rights for all. His archive is a permanent reminder of this legacy and one with which we are delighted to be associated.”

The last two decades of Professor Kevin Boyle’s life were spent at the University of Essex, where, for various periods, he directed its Human Rights Centre. In addition to his enormous academic contribution, Professor Boyle was active with important international NGOs such as Article 19, of which he was the founding director. He served as a special advisor to Mary Robinson when she was UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2001.

Professor Boyle appeared frequently before the European Court of Human Rights, winning important cases that dealt with a broad range of issues, including freedom of expression, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and torture.

Comprising of over one hundred boxes of manuscripts and printed books, the Boyle archive is a documented record of the varied and rich contribution made by the activist and scholar to international human rights. The archive, kindly donated by the Boyle family since Kevin’s untimely passing in 2010, has now been catalogued by the University’s James Hardiman Library, and represents a major resource for the study and teaching of human rights.

The library at NUI Galway holds a unique collection of more than 350 literary, theatrical, political and historical archives, dating from 1485 to the present. John Cox, University Librarian, NUI Galway, explains the significance of the Boyle archive: “The sheer breadth of subject matter, as well as the vast amounts of personal correspondence, allow for new insights and understandings of Kevin Boyle’s contributions to the discipline of human rights and the practice of law. It is an honour for the Library to be entrusted with this archive, one which illustrates the far reaching effect Kevin Boyle’s work had on individual people’s lives. Now and into the future, the archive will serve as a valuable resource to researchers in the field.”


The Human Rights Scholar-Activist or Activist-Scholar?

The symposium, ‘The Human Rights Scholar-Activist or Activist-Scholar?’ runs from 10am to 4pm on Friday 28 November at NUI Galway.

The event will explore issues and themes surrounding archives, human rights, law and memorialisation. Visiting speakers include Sir Nigel Rodley, University of Essex; Michael Farrell, Senior Solicitor, FLAC; Professor Francoise Hampson, University of Essex; Professor Tom Hadden, Queen’s University Belfast; Professor Brice Dickson, Queen’s University Belfast; Bernadette McAliskey, South Tyrone Empowerment Programme; and Kevin’s brother, Louis Boyle.

NUI Galway participants will include, Dr Jim Browne, President, NUI Galway; Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head, School of Law; Professor Michael O’Flaherty, Director, Irish Centre for Human Rights; Mrs. Marie McGonagle, (retired); John Cox, University Librarian; Barry Houlihan, Archivist, James Hardiman Library; and Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, NUI Galway Registrar.

Professor Michael O'Flaherty, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, described the upcoming symposium: “Human rights has evolved over the decades as a fundamental concept in terms of justice, and one which transcends every geographical boundary. Many of the academic foundation stones were laid by people such as Kevin Boyle, whose own interests were ignited by his early years in a conflict torn country. The symposium will explore these concepts and the interplay between the drivers of scholarship and the drivers of activism.”
The seminar will also feature a video presentation by former President Mary Robinson. For full details of the symposium visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=401

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Seoladh Cartlainne agus Siompóisiam mar cheiliúradh ar Oidhreacht an Ollaimh Kevin Boyle

Mairfidh oidhreacht an dlíodóra agus an scoláire ar chearta an duine, an tOllamh Kevin Boyle, in OÉ Gaillimh nuair a sheolfaidh an tArd-Aighne, Máire Whelan, S.C. a chartlann phearsanta Dé hAoine, an 28 Samhain. Tá ábhar agus léargas uathúil sa chartlann ar réimse chearta an duine, ar thaighde agus ar scoláireacht dhlíthiúil.

Ar an lá céanna reáchtálfar siompóisiam idirnáisiúnta, faoi stiúir Scoil an Dlí agus Ionad na hÉireann do Chearta an Duine in OÉ Gaillimh, chun ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar shaol oibre an Ollaimh Boyle. Is é an tOllamh Sir Nigel Rodley, Cathaoirleach Choiste Chearta an Duine sna Náisiúin Aontaithe, a thabharfaidh an phríomhóráid.

Ba as an Iúr é an tOllamh Boyle ó dhúchas, agus chuir sé tús lena shaol oibre in Ollscoil na Banríona, Béal Feirste áit a raibh baint ollmhór aige leis an ngluaiseacht cearta sibhialta. I ndeireadh na 1970idí tháinig sé chun oibre in OÉ Gaillimh áit ar chomhbhunaigh sé Ionad na hÉireann don Staidéar ar Chearta an Duine le Denny Driscoll.

I dtús na 1980idí bhí baint aige le Amnesty International, Éire, agus chuir sé taighde agus breathnóireachtaí le chéile ar thurais go dtí tíortha cosúil leis an nGaimbia agus an Afraic Theas. Chuir Boyle príomhthuairiscí le chéile ar éifeacht chóras dhlí na bpasanna agus ar an réimeas cinedheighilte níos leithne.

“Táimid bródúil faoin oidhreacht atá fágtha ag Kevin Boyle san Ollscoil agus atá fós le brath sa lá atá inniu ann”, a deir an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh. “Cuireann ár saineolas ar dhlí idirnáisiúnta chearta an duine atá aitheanta go hidirnáisiúnta OÉ Gaillimh ar ardán domhanda gníomhairí atá ag iarraidh an domhan a athrú chun feabhais. Tá buíochas ollmhór ag dul ina leith seo do Kevin, a bhí ar thús cadhnaíochta i gcúrsaí léinn sa réimse seo, agus a bhunaigh ár n-ionad do chearta an duine agus a chaith breis is daichead bliain ag obair i dtreo athrú do chearta an duine do chách. Is meabhrúchán buan é a chartlann ar a oidhreacht agus táimid thar a bheith sásta a bheith bainteach leis.”

Chaith an tOllamh Kevin Boyle an scór bliain deiridh dá shaol in Ollscoil Essex, áit a raibh sé ina stiúrthóir ar Ionad Chearta an Duine ar feadh tréimhsí éagsúla. Chomh maith leis an obair ollmhór acadúil a rinne sé, bhí an tOllamh Boyle gníomhach le gníomhaireachtaí neamhrialtais tábhachtacha cosúil le Article 19, a bhunaigh sé. Bhí sé ina chomhairleoir speisialta do Mháire Mhic Róibín nuair a bhí sí mar Ard-Choimisinéir na Náisiún Aontaithe le haghaidh Chearta an Duine ón mbliain 2001.

Ba mhinic leis an Ollamh Boyle a bheith os comhair na Cúirte Eorpaí um Chearta an Duine, ag buachan cásanna a dhéileáil le réimse leathan ceisteanna, lena n-áirítear saoirse tuairimíochta, leithcheal mar gheall ar chlaonadh gnéis, agus céas.

Tá os cionn céad bosca lámhscríbhinní agus leabhar clóite sa bhailiúchán, agus is léiriú é ar an obair mhór agus éagsúil a rinne an gníomhaí agus an scoláire ar mhaithe le cearta an duine go hidirnáisiúnta. Bhronn teaghlach Boyle an chartlann ar an Ollscoil tar éis gur cailleadh Kevin gan choinne sa bhliain 2010, agus tá sí anois sa chatalóg i Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin san Ollscoil, agus tá sí mar acmhainn ollmhór do staidéar agus do theagasc chearta an duine.

Tá bailiúchán uathúil i leabharlann OÉ Gaillimh ina bhfuil níos mó ná 350 cartlann liteartha, amharclannaíochta, polaitíochta agus stairiúil, ón mbliain 1485 go dtí an lá inniu. Labhraíonn John Cox, Leabharlannaí na hOllscoile, OÉ Gaillimh faoin tábhacht a bhaineann le cartlann Boyle: “Tugann fairsinge an ábhair, mar aon leis an méid ollmhór comhfhreagrais phearsanta, deis dúinn léargais agus tuiscint a fháil ar an obair a rinne Kevin Boyle ar mhaithe le disciplín chearta an duine agus le cleachtadh an dlí. Is onóir é don Leabharlann an chartlann seo a bheith bronnta uirthi, cartlann a léiríonn tionchar forleathan shaothar Kevin Boyle ar shaol daoine aonair. Anois agus amach anseo, freastalóidh an chartlann mar acmhainn luachmhar do thaighdeoirí sa réimse.”

The Human Rights Scholar-Activist or Activist-Scholar?

Beidh an siompóisiam, ‘The Human Rights Scholar-Activist or Activist-Scholar?’ ar siúl ó 10am go 4pm Dé hAoine, an 28Samhain in OÉ Gaillimh.

Le linn na hócáide breathnófar ar cheisteanna agus ar théamaí a bhaineann le cartlanna, cearta an duine, dlí agus cuimhneachán. I measc na gcainteoirí beidh Sir Nigel Rodley, Ollscoil Essex; Michael Farrell, Aturnae Sinsearach, FLAC; an tOllamh Francoise Hampson, Ollscoil Essex; an tOllamh Tom Hadden, Ollscoil na Banríona, Béal Feirste; an tOllamh Brice Dickson, Ollscoil na Banríona, Béal Feirste; Bernadette McAliskey, Clár Cumasúcháin Thír Eoghain Theas; agus deartháir Kevin, Louis Boyle.

I measc rannpháirtithe OÉ Gaillimh beidh anDr Jim Browne, Uachtarán, OÉ Gaillimh; an tOllamh Donncha O’Connell, Ceann Scoil an Dlí; an tOllamh Michael O’Flaherty, Stiúrthóir, Ionad na hÉireann do Chearta an Duine; Marie McGonagle, (ar scor); John Cox, Leabharlannaí na hOllscoile; Barry Houlihan, Cartlannaí, Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin; agus an tOllamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Meabhránaí.

Labhair an tOllamh Michael O’Flaherty, Stiúrthóir Ionad na hÉireann do Chearta an Duine, faoin siompóisiam a rá: “Tá athrú tagtha ar chearta an duine in imeacht na mblianta mar choincheap bunúsach i dtéarmaí ceartais, agus mar choincheap a thrasnaíonn gach teorainn thíreolaíoch. Leag leithéidí Kevin Boyle go leor de na bunchlocha acadúla, fear ar spreagadh a spéis féin mar gheall ar na blianta a chaith sé ina óige i dtír lán le coimhlint. Breathnóidh an siompóisiam ar na coincheapa seo agus ar an idiroibriú idir daoine a chuireann léann chun cinn agus iad siúd a chuireann gníomhaíochas chun cinn.”

Beidh láithreoireacht físe ón iar-Uachtarán Máire Mhic Róibín le feiceáil chomh maith mar chuid den seimineár. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin siompóisiam féach ar http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=401

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