The new Director of the University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre has stressed its “vital role” in the coming years.

Dr Andrew Fagan takes up the position at what he says is a crucial time for human rights around the world.

Dr Fagan said: “The global human rights project faces many contemporary challenges - climate change, political instability, the rise of xenophobia and intolerance, growing inequality, and states' continuing failure to respect international human rights law.

“We all have a fundamental interest in living within a sustainable, stable and decent world. Human rights can help us achieve this aspiration. Over the next stage of the Human Rights Centre’s development, we will resolutely mobilise our resources to ensure the Centre continues to play a vital role in protecting and promoting human rights for all.”    

The Human Rights Centre, which sits within the School of Law, boasts over 2000 alumni, with many now in positions of influence within the global human rights community. The Centre’s 100 members are drawn from 11 disciplines, evidence of an interdisciplinary approach designed to deliver change at international, national and local levels.

Dr Fagan succeeds Professor Lorna McGregor at the end of her second three year term.

Professor McGregor said: “It has been a great privilege to direct the Centre since 2013 and to work with such an amazing and inspiring team of scholars, practitioners, students and alumni - I am incredibly grateful for all their help and support.

“Over the past six years, we have seen the membership of the Centre grow significantly. We’ve made new connections and brought new voices to the table, creating a truly interdisciplinary environment.

“Whether finding new approaches to enduring problems or addressing emerging challenges, key to our success has been the priority we have given to the operationalisation of human rights. Our focus has been not only on finding ways to strengthen human rights institutions but developing ways to embed human rights principles within governments, businesses and social movements.

“I would like to congratulate Andrew on his appointment and look forward to the Centre going from strength to strength under his leadership.”

2020 will see the Human Rights Centre developing a number of relationships within the local community.

The Centre is working with Colchester Borough Council and FirstSite to plan a programme of events intended to raise awareness of human rights amongst the local population..

Through its East Anglia Outreach Programme, the Centre seeks to engage with local communities, to explore the challenges they face and demonstrate the relevance of human rights in developing positive solutions.

Dr Fagan joined the Human Rights Centre in 1998. He was appointed Co-Deputy Director in August 2018 and has also served as Research Director, Director of Academic Studies and Co-Director of Postgraduate Studies (Human Rights) within the School of Law.

Dr Fagan is the author of four books and has taught around the world. He enjoys a global profile for his work on minority rights, cultural identity and multiculturalism and is a frequent blogger, with recent subjects including consumerism, homophobia, the situation in Myanmar, and the role of human rights in responding to terrorism.

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