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Durham Law School



Durham Law Academic Speaks at Event on 'Feminism, Law and Austerity'

(22 February 2012)

On 7 February, Dr Aoife Nolan spoke on 'International Human Rights and the "Austerity Agenda"' at a seminar organised by the Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality, Westminster University, London,  In doing so, she focussed on the UK's international human rights obligations with regard to protecting human rights post the economic crisis. Dr Nolan argued that, despite the ongoing failure to mainstream (or even factor in) human rights into national and supranational responses to the financial crisis, it is vital that advocates continue to focus on these obligations in their campaigning. This is due to the fact that human rights provides a powerful dignity-centred rhetoric that challenges the language of 'fairness', as well as extending beyond issues addressed by 'equality'  analyses such as those required in terms of UK equality law. Furthermore, human rights arguments centre attention on the human persons that are on the 'receiving end' of austerity measures, rather than on economic, social, political or other considerations affecting budget decision-making.

The seminar, which was attended by activists, legal practitioners, trade union representatives and academics, also featured presentations from Sally Brett, Equalities Officer, TUC, Barbara Cohen, Discrimination law consultant, and Daisy Sands, Policy and Campaigns Officer at the Fawcett Society.