Human Rights Forum

Welcome to the Human Rights Forum - the hub for all human rights related research, teaching, and knowledge exchange at the University of Sheffield School of Law.

UN Human Rights Council

As part of Sheffield Centre for International and European Law, the Human Rights Forum connects scholars from the School of Law and across the University of Sheffield with leading voices in the field of human rights, both scholars and practitioners, through public events, workshops, and collaborative projects.

If you would like to discuss potential activities or collaborative projects feel free to contact the Forum’s Director: Dr Sejal Parmar (

If you would like to join our mailing list please contact

Upcoming Events

Women’s Rights as Human Rights: Global Contestations in the Longue Durée

A Symposium for Gender & History

19-20 May 2022 (University of Sheffield)

The symposium will take place in hybrid format. Registration open. Please contact to reserve a place.

The recognition of women’s human rights at the UN in the 1990s was achieved through a focus on sexual violence and reproductive rights. The success of transnational activist campaigns to recognize ‘women’s rights as human rights’ is conventionally associated with the political spaces that opened up due to the end of the Cold War.

This symposium hosted by Gender and History, and the published forum to which it will contribute, seeks to reassess these narratives by thinking about the longue durée of the relationship between women’s rights and ‘human rights’, however those ‘rights’ were articulated. It aims to investigate different chronologies in the history of universal women’s rights, and to open up a conversation about the different conceptual, intellectual, and temporal frameworks shaping the global history of women’s rights.

For full information on this symposium, please read the programme here.

Organisers: Celia Donert (Cambridge) and Julia Moses (Sheffield)

Past Events 

Addressing Racism Today 

In this conversation with academics from Central European University (CEU) and the University of Sheffield, Professor Tendayi Achiume, the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, reflected on global racial injustice and inequality today and what needs to be done about it. The discussion addressed such issues as:

  • Contemporary racism against the backdrop of today’s formidable and complex challenges including COVID-19 pandemic, the climate emergency, socio-economic inequality, migration flows and 'racial borders', and surveillance capitalism
  • The impact of the global awakening to racism in the aftermath murder of George Floyd in May 2020 – upon governments, companies (especially in the technology sector), multilateral institutions (including UN bodies), and civil society organizations
  • The role of UN experts in addressing human rights abuses around the world in the face of criticism and pressure.

Sejal Parmar co-hosted this event with Dr Mathias Möschel, Head of Department of Legal Studies at Central European University.

Careers in International Law, European Law and Global Justice 2021

This two-part event brought together experts working in diverse areas of international law, European law, and global justice — in private practice, governments, international courts and tribunals, international organisations, NGOs, and academia. Our speakers showcased their work and shared their insights on building a successful career in these complex and rewarding fields.

Wednesday 21 April 2021, Wednesday 5 May 2021.

Find out more

Human Rights Workshop 2017

Human Rights research beyond the traditional paradigm

21 September 2017

This was a one day conference to explore human rights, legal theory and methods. It brought together researchers from different research backgrounds who have a shared interest in human rights.

  • Feminism(s), Loveday Hodson (CEDAW, Alyne da Silva Pimentel Teixeira (deceased) v Brazil) 
  • Queer theory, Damian Gonzalez-Salzberg (IACtHR, Advisory Opinion 24 ECtHR, A.P., Garçon and Nicot v France)
  • Legal history, Henry Jones (ECtHR, Chagos Islanders v the United Kingdom)
  • Legal pluralism, Jennifer Hendry (ICJ, The Bakassi peninsula case)
  • Legal politics, Dimitrios Tsarapatsanis (ECtHR, Lautsi and others [GC] v Italy)
  • Marxism, Robert Knox (ECtHR, R.M.T. v the United Kingdom)
Human Rights Day 2016

Human Rights Day - 12 December 2016

We welcomed workshop participants for a 1 day conference to listen and participate in the following programme of presentations.


  • Ross Bellaby (Politics): Intelligence and the Failure of Democracies to Protect Human Rights
  • Marcia Vera Espinoza (Politics): Human Rights are Migrant Rights:Exploring the Drivers of Migration Governance in South America
  • Damian Gonzalez-Salzberg (Law): The (monetary) Value of Suffering in International Human Rights Law
  • David Hayes (Law): Catching Chimera by the Tail: The Value of Proportionality
  • Dimitrios Tsarapatsanis (Law): Understanding Human Rights Politically
  • Brid Ni Ghráinne (Law): Ireland, Abortion, and International Law
Human Rights Day 2015

60 years of struggle for LGBT human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, 1955-2015.

Thursday 17th December 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the first decision on a human rights case relating to sexual orientation discrimination. This one-day workshop on LGBT rights under the European Convention on Human Rights reflects on and debates the past, present and future of LGBT Human Rights.


  • Paul Johnson (University of York): “17 December 1955: the birth of LGBT international human rights law”
  • Loveday Hodson (University of Leicester): “LGBT Applicants: The Sexed Subject of Strasbourg”
  • Damian Gonzalez-Salzberg (University of Sheffield): “Deconstructing the Court’s conceptions of homosexuality and transsexuality”


A public debate will be held in the afternoon focused on three current topics concerning LGBT rights and the European Convention on Human Rights:

  • Same-sex marriage
  • Adoption of children by LGBT individuals
  • Requirements imposed for gender transition
Human Rights Forum Archive

History of the Forum

The Human Rights Forum was launched on 12 December 2012 and every year the forum celebrates Human Rights day with an event.

Human Day 2014 - 10 December 2014

The theme for this event was to make Human Rights part of every day life for everyone

Human Rights Day 2013 - 11 December 2013

This event celebrated the 20th anniversary of the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and this forms the broad theme for the School of Law’s 2nd Human Rights Forum. The past two decades have seen much progress in the human rights sphere but many challenges remain. To what extent has the UNHCHR fulfilled its mandate? What are its prospects for the next twenty years?


There was varied and interdisciplinary programme with presenters and participants from across the University community.

Performance by Rafiki Jazz

Rafiki Jazz the world music collective performed a Rafikian babble of international voices & instrumental mixing and texts from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Listen to some of the music they have been working on here

International Law Association Seminar and Human Rights Forum Launch - 12 December 2012

In order to mark that day and to launch the Human Rights Forum, over 50 people from across the University of Sheffield attended the event in the School of Law's Moot Court in Bartolomé House on Wednesday 12th December.

The launch begin with a ILA British Branch Seminar by Dr Marko Milanovic, University of Nottingham.

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