Upcoming seminars

Friday, 27th of November 2015, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Seminar Room, Irish Centre for Human Rights Human Trafficking and the Criminalization of Buying Sex: Understanding Vulnerability to Trafficking in Europe and Abroad by Prof. Davina Durgana, Associate Professor at SIT Graduate Institute in Washington, DC and Senior Technical Advisor at SeraphimGLOBAL

Dr. Davina Durgana is a human trafficking expert who has won national and local awards for her work spanning the past eight years in bridging the gaps between academics and practitioners in the anti-trafficking field. She is particularly known for her work applying analytical models to understanding vulnerability, risk, and prevalence on the issue of human trafficking domestically and internationally. She is Associate Professor for SIT Graduate Institute in Washington, D.C. and Senior Technical Advisor for Human Trafficking at SeraphimGLOBAL, where she directs the SeraphimGLOBAL Research Collaborative that supports the coordination of unconventional actors to produce innovative research in the anti-human trafficking field. She is also a Report Author of the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index. Her current work focuses on developing a domestic human trafficking statistical forecasting model and profiling minor vulnerability in the United States. She has presented her work and spoken on this issue throughout the United States and internationally including at the American Sociological Association, the International Studies Association, the Washington Times, at many universities, and the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association. Dr. Durgana has been active in the anti-human trafficking field for the past eight years with organizations such as the Department of Justice, the Polaris Project, MiraMed Institute, the Walk Free Foundation, the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, Amnesty International, the United Nations and the D.C. Office of the Attorney General, among others. She was also awarded with the 2013 Trafficking in America Task Force Award for Service for her contributions to the Anti-Trafficking Field in the United States, and in 2015 she received the University Award for Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level from American University where she received her PhD in International Relations with Distinction. She received her Masters degrees in Paris, France while studying human trafficking at the Sorbonne and the American University of Paris, and her Bachelor’s degree at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. After creating the first human trafficking risk assessment and prevalence estimation model for minors in the United States, Dr. Durgana applies the same theoretical and statistical modeling insights to the issues of human trafficking in European sexual tourism and industries in this lecture. She deconstructs vulnerability to human trafficking by appealing to the UN human security theoretical framework.

She also provides context on how to best inform potential interventions for human trafficking prevention in Ireland and abroad from multiple perspectives. Survivor Advocates, Academics, Community Members, and others will find this lecture to be a unique perspective into the state of human trafficking in Europe and abroad, with an engaging open discussion on the many potential ways to combat this issue moving forward.

Recent seminars

Friday, 20th of November 2015 Rosaleen McDonagh "The Ryan Commission: between justice and re-traumatisation, than and now" 

The Irish Centre for Human Rights was very delighted to have Rosaleen McDonagh for a lunchtime seminar recently.

In her very captivating talk on the Ryan Commission, Rosaleen offered a personal insight on the Commission and exposed the deficiencies of the investigation on human rights abuses. She highlighted the need to be vigilant in times of discrimination and rectify human rights violations, as this is an unfinished business in Ireland. 


9th November 2015. Sandra Namutebi, human rights defender from Uganda. LGBTI rights in Uganda – the state of human rights defenders in peril


The Irish Centre for Human Rights was very privileged to have human rights defender and LGBTI activist Sandra Namutebi for a lunchtime seminar today, a seminar that was conducted in conjunction with Front Line Defenders.

Sandra's talk was very thought-provoking and intriguing. Sandra spoke on the daily impediments she personally is facing, including the arbitrary arrest of her father, while she detailed the current state of mind of the Ugandan society. She underscored the harassment by governmental officials, the way how the LGBTI community is ridiculed and highlighted the limited space in which human rights defenders have to operate to promote human rights in Uganda.

The Irish Centre for Human Rights would like to warmly thank Sandra and Front Line Defenders for this stimulating talk and also the audience for the vibrant Q&A session.


8th November 2015. Visit by Holocaust Survivor Tomi Reichental.

The Irish Centre for Human Rights was very proud to welcome today Holocaust survivor Mr. Tomi Reichental, who has lived in Dublin since the 1960s. In 2004, for the first time in 60 years, Mr. Reichental broke his silence and began to speak about his experiences during the Holocaust. Ever since, he became an inspirational figure by travelling to schools around Ireland to confront the next generation with the devastation that occurred during the 2nd World War. He is the author of the book, "I Was A Boy In Belsen."

In his captivating seminar, titled: "Hell on Earth. Experiences in the Bergen-Belsen camp", Mr. Reichental shared his agonizing memories of the Holocaust: he was captured and deported at the age of 9. At the time of the liberation by the British Army in 1945 Mr. Reichental discovered that 35 members of his family had been murdered.

Organized by the Irish Centre for Human Rights -represented by Professor Ray Murphy- the seminar has attracted over 200 people in the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway.

The talk was entirely given with a yellow star on his chest, capturing a silent and touched audience. At the end of the talk Mr. Reichental signed copies of his book, "I was a boy in Belsen".

We warmly thank all that attended this seminar and we express in particular our gratitude to Mr. Reichental for coming to our Centre and giving this very memorable seminar.

Friday 30th October. Glyn Morgan and Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan "The OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka: the catharsis moment for the protection and promotion of human rights or business as usual? 

Glyn Morgan gave a talk on the 'OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka'. The talk shed light on the history of human rights abuses and the roots of the conflict, while mainly focusing on the working method of the OHCHR investigation and its broader background. Glyn discussed the political and military situation in the country and gave military insights on capability and intent during the last stages of the war in the country. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of such an investigation to highlight human rights violations in order to pave the way for the protection of human rights.


Tuesday, 6th of October 2015. Dr.Sriprapha Petcharamesree "Human Rights in ASEAN in times of democracy drawbacks"

23rd March 2015: Dr. Andrea ‌Breslin, 'Human rights monitoring and the protection of civilians in armed conflict: the case of South Sudan'


Dr. Andrea Breslin spoke on her experiences in South Sudan. South Sudan gained independence in 2011after a protracted civil war with the north. At the time of independence, doubts arose as to whether thecountry was equipped and sufficiently stable for its nascent statehood. The seminar examined some ofthe causes of the large-scale conflict that broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, and some of thedrivers and actors involved in the ongoing armed conflict. The seminar explored the implications of therefocused mandate of UNMISS in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2155 (2014), and thechallenges facing human rights monitoring and the protection of civilians in an active armed conflict.Discussion touched on the implementation of the peace agreements and the use of targeted sanctionsas a means to address the conflict.

11th March 2015.  Annette ‌Murtagh. 'Challenges for field investigations in a post-war environment- insights from a practitioner and lessons from the ICTY'


On the 11th of March 2015 Sergeant Murtagh gave a lunchtime seminar on ‘The Challenges for FieldInvestigators in a Post War Environment’. Sergeant Murtagh talked about her involvement withininvestigation teams in particular when she was in Kosovo. She highlighted the issues and barriers inrelation to bringing victims and witnesses before the courts and spoke about investigation teams in thefield.Annette Murtagh gave an insight into the investigations that took place in Kosovo in relation togathering evidence of widespread systematic crimes, in particular sexual crimes. Sergeant Murtagh alsotalked about the challenges of interviewing victims because of their cultural background and inparticular in cases of rape or sexual violence.

16th March 2015 Dr ‌ Biao “China- Rights, Resistance and Repression”

The Chinese human rights activist Dr. Teng Biao spoke on the topic “China- Rights, Resistance andRepression” on the 16th of March 2015. Dr. Biao, who was invited by Front Line Defenders to stay inIreland, spoke about his house arrest, revocation of his law license and the torture he had experienced.As an active member of the Weiquan rights defenders movement, Dr. Biao was also one of the foundersof the Open Constitution Initiative and the New Citizens Movement. Dr. Biao eventually had to flee tothe United States, leaving his family behind, and is now a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University. Dr. Biaoexplained that limited progress was achieved on the issue of capital punishment and some reforms havebeen made, for instance, giving China’s highest court the power to overturn death sentences.  Thespeaker stressed that the international community also has a role to play in the fight for democracy andaccountability of the government. He stressed the importance of civil rights lawyers, rather than officiallawyers at international meetings and conferences. Dr. Biao believes by spreading the truth,international public opinion can aid democratic change.

12th February 2015 Ms. Mary Akrami. "Women’s rights in Afghanistan"

The Irish Centre for Human Rights was pleased to have Ms. Mary Akrami for a lunchtime seminar on the12th of February 2015. Ms. Mary Akrami is an Afghan women’s rights activist and the Executive Directorof the Afghan Women Skills Development Center (AWSDC) and the Chair of the Board for the AfghanWomen’s Network (AWN). Mary Akrami, who stayed in Ireland upon the invitation of Front LineDefenders, spoke on the state of women’s rights in Afghanistan. She addressed the establishment of theAWSDC, the first shelter for women at risk in Afghanistan. Mary was prompted to start this shelterbecause she was shocked seeing women sleeping in the street at night.  Her resolve to act washeightened when she read a news story of a woman who had been arrested, and upon her release, wasrejected by her family. Since then, there have been more than 25 shelters established across thecountry.


Past Seminars

  • Friday, 20th of November 2015 Rosaleen McDonagh "The Ryan Commission: between justice and re-traumatisation, than and now" 
  • 9th November 2015. Sandra Namutebi. "LGBTI rights in Uganda – the state of human rights defenders in peril"
  • 8th November 2015. Visit by Holocaust Survivor Tomi Reichental.
  • Friday 30th October. Glyn Morgan and Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan "The OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka: the catharsis moment for the protection and promotion of human rights or business as usual?
  •  6th of October 2015. Dr.Sriprapha Petcharamesree "Human Rights in ASEAN in times of democracy drawbacks"
  • 24th March 2015. Juana Esquivel Karen Valladares, Norma Chavez and Bertha Oliva. 'Honduran Human Rights Heroes Four women human rights defenders speak about the realities and risks of defending human rights in Honduras'
  • 23rd March 2015: Dr. Andrea Breslin, 'Human rights monitoring and the protection of civilians in armed conflict: the case of South Sudan'
  • 20th March 2015 Prof. Anita Ramasastr '”Is there a right to be free from corruption?” 
  • 19th March 2015. Dr. Fergus Ryan. “The Slow Evolution of Family Law: A Human Rights Perspective”
  • 11th March 2015.  Annette Murtagh. 'Challenges for field investigations in a post-war environment- insights from a practitioner and lessons from the ICTY'
  • 26th February 2015. Dr. Mary Rogan. ‘Prisoners' rights in Ireland: an emerging field’ 
  • 25th February 2015. Roberto Zamora. 'Protecting Human rights and Preventing War Crimes by Making Peace not War – Neutrality not Militarism'
  • 12th February 2015. Mary Akrami. 'Women’s rights in Afghanistan'
  • 2nd February 2014. Public seminar on Ireland's Gender Recognition Bill.
  • 5th December 2014. Dr. Wibke Timmermann. “Hate Speech and Incitement in International Criminal Law”
  • 1st December 2014. Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey. “Seeking justice for Genocide & Violence against women”
  • 26th November 2014. Sir Nigel Rodley. 'International Action Against Torture'
  • 26th November 2014 Bill Van Esveld ad Valentina Azarov "Gaza War Crimes: Updates on Documentation and Advocacy concerning 'Operation Protective Edge'”
  • 20th November 2014. Verne Harris "Post-Apartheid - Post-Mandela"
  • 14th November 2014. Iryna Khalip “Freedom of Expression in Belarus”
  • 10th November 2014. Catherine Corless. 'Investigating the Tuam Mothers and Babies Home: A Question of Human Rights'
  • 5th November 2014. Wesam Ahmad (Al Haq)“Business and Human Rights in Palestine: Challenging the Economic Incentive Structure Perpetuating the Conflict”
  • 21st October 2014. Aonghus Kelly. 'Prosecuting and Defending Human Rights in Iraq and the Balkans'
  • 16th October 2014. Justice Theresa Doherty. ‘Developing International Criminal Law - the Sierra Leone Experience’
  • 7th October 2014. Dan Sheerin. Civil Military relations and humanitarian actors in Central African Republic
  • 16th September 2014. Dr Joel Quirk. ‘Competing Visions: Human Trafficking versus Forced Labour?’
  • 14th May 2014. Karen Ingala-Smith“Counting Dead Women who have Insecure Immigration Status” 
  • 6th May 2014. Dr Aidan Hehir. 'Security Council Legitimacy after the Arab Spring'
  • 8th April 2014. Michael Kearney. 'Anarchism and International Law'
  • 31st March 2014. Karol Balfe. 'The Civil Society Response to Land Grabs'
  • 28th March 2014. Dr. Shane Darcy. ‘Winding down, yet heating up; the judicial legacy of the international criminal tribunals’
  • 19th March 2014.Brendan Tobin. 'Tanistry to Ubuntu: the relevance of customary law for the protection of human rights and self-determination in Ireland today'
  • 11th February 2014. Adrien Claude-Zoller. 'Recent Trends in the Human Rights Council'
  • 5 February 2014. Tiernan Brady and John Fisher. 'The Human Right to Same Sex Marriage'
  • 16 January 2014. Ivan Fahy. 'Gender and its Diversity: Activism Through Modeling'
  • 13 December 2013. Rupert Skilback. 'Strategic litigation and torture'
  • 6  November 2013. Dr. William Schabas. 'The African Malaise with the International Criminal Court'
  • 1 November 2013-Dr. Gearóid Ó Cuinn. 'Holy Land Tourism: Reform and the Role of International Law'
  • 25 October 2013-Dr Michelle Farrell. 'What is torture? The Positive Law of An Incomprehensible Act'
  • 15 October 2013-Dr Ray Murphy. 'Libya – Impressions of a State in Transition'
  • 14 October 2013- Shawan Jabarin. ' Reflections of a Palestinian Human Rights Defender'
  • 26 March 2013 Dr. Evelyne Schmid, ' Social and Cultural Rights in International Criminal Law'.
  • 13 March 2013 - Commandant Sean Ridge, 'United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Israeli occupied Golan Heights'.
  • 6 March 2013 - Dr. Kevin O'Sullivan, 'Action for Justice'? Rights, Needs and Humanitarian NGOs in Europe, 1968-85.
  • 26 February 2013 - Mark McLoughlin, Director/Producer of Blood Rising, and Elia Escobeda Garcia, Human Rights Defender 'Screening of 'Blood Rising' followed by a Q&A session' (hosted with the support of Front Line Defenders).
  • 25 February 2013 Mr. Aonghus Kelly (LLM), 'Chasing Justice in Iraq and the Balkans'.
  • 21 February 2013 - Niamh Reilly, 'Women's Reproductive Rights: Irish Context and International Human Rights Norms'
  • 23 January 2013, 30 January 2013, 6 February 2013, 13 February 2013 & 20 February 2013 - Semahagn Gashe Abebe (PhD), 'Lunchtime Seminar Series in International Trade and Human Rights',  Further information on the course content, objective, learning outcomes and the speaker are available here
  • 8 February 2013 - Dr. Eliot Ross Albers, Executive Director, International Network of People who Use Drugs; Mr. Richard Elliott, Executive Director, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network; Ms. Rebecca Schleifer, Advocacy Director, Health and Human Rights Division, Human Rights Watch; Mr Rick Lines, Executive Director, Harm Reduction International and Co-director, International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy (Moderator),  'Drug Users, HIV and Human Rights .
  • 3 October 2012 - Michiel Pestman, speaking in relation to his work as defense counsel for Nuon Chea before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
  • 17 April 2012 - Valentina Azarov, "Re-formalising the Notion of Statehood in International Law: Palestinian Statehood and the Composites of International Legal Personality."
  • 4 April 2012 - Mark Mullin, "Representing Refugees in Galway - the work of the Refugee Legal Service."
  • 14 March 2012 – Michelle Farrell, “Bare Life’, ’Precarious Life’ and the Possibility of Human Rights.”
  • 6 March 2012 - Tom O’Sullivan, “A Personal Account of the Challenges of Working for the UNHCR in South Sudan.”
  • 29 February 2012 – Peter Fitzmaurice, “The Right to Non-refoulement from Conflict.”
  • 21 February 2012 – Daragh Murray, “The Principle and Practice of Universal Jurisdiction: Lessons Learned from PCHR's Experience.”
  • 3 February 2012 - Nick Danziger, "Humanity in War."
  • 2 December 2011 - Alejandra Castillo, " Seeking Justice for Genocide in Guatemala.”
  • 28 November - Fanny de Weck, " Protection against  refoulement under the European Convention on Human Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture: A comparison of the individual complaints procedures."
  • 22 November - Dr Vinodh Jaichand, “Making the Case for a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Land.”
  • 21 November 2011 - Dr Giulia Pinzauti, " The Crime of Terrorism in International Law."
  • 7 November 2011 - Eamon Mac Aodha, "The Irish Human Rights Commission - Tens Years On: Achievements and Challenges for the Future."
  • 24 October 2011 - Dr Fiona de Londras, "Privatised Sovereign Performance, Counter-Terrorism and Endangered Rights."
  • 19 October 2011 - Siobhán Cummiskey, "Equal Rights Litigation and Travellers."
  • 6 April 2011 - Dr. Miša Zgonec-Rožej, “The UN asset-freezing regime for suspected terrorists.”
  • 11 April 2011 - John Jones  “The law of extradition  and war crimes”
  • 18 April 2011 - Kjell Anderson "The Problem of the Jew Next Door: Perpetrators and Victims of Genocide"
  • 18 March 2011 - Geoffrey Harris; "Promoting 'our' values: is the EU up to the challenge?"
  • 15 March  2011 - Juan Ramon Chinchilla & Rudy Hernandez; “Defending Human Rights in Honduras”
  •  21 February 2011, Sir Michael Wood -- 'Human rights and humanitarian law in the practice of a Foreign Ministry lawyer'
  • 10 February 2011 - Ambassador Daithi O'Ceallaigh - The Human Rights Work of  a Diplomat
  • 1 January 2011 - Dr. Philip ClarkPower, Politics and Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda.
  •  29 November 2010: Professor Michael D. Higgins  'Current human rights issues in Colombia'.
  • 17 November 2010: Damon Barrett; “Colombia: Drug war myopia and the human rights lens”. 
  • 13 October 2010: Prof. William Schabas: 'International Law and Practice on Capital Punishment'.
  • 31 March 2010, Ziya Meral,  "Politics and Ethics of Acknowledgment of Historical Atrocities."
  • 15 March 2010, Matt Pollard; "Detention by International Forces: Legal Frameworks from the Copenhagen Process"
  • 12 March 2010, Bill Oberly; 'Exonerating the Wrongfully convicted through DNA Testing'
  • 4 March 2010, Her Excellency Catherine Muigai Mwangi, Ambassador of Kenya to Ireland: ’ Does the Bill of Rights in the Draft Kenyan Constitution Reflect both African and International Best Practice?’
  • 1 February 2010; Rick Lines, ' A vehicle for indirect penal reform’? Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.'
  • 29 January 2010, Colm O'Cuanachain, Policy Director, Amnesty International ’ Human Rights Education’