From Magna Carta to the 2010 Equality Act – the opening session of 2018’s Fellowship Programme

Posted on Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Lauren Chaplin, 2018 Fellow

The 2018 René Cassin Fellowship cohort gathered together for the first time on Tuesday 30 January.

The aims of the session were clear:

  • to understand the motivations and goals of Rene Cassin, and
  • to situate those aims within the post-Holocaust human rights framework.

Mia (Hasenson-Gross, René Cassin’s Director) facilitated introductions – to each other, and the organisation – giving us a chance to understand what had compelled each of the Fellows to apply for the programme. Much appreciated nosh was provided.

The second part of the session consisted of an interactive lecture by Doughty Street barrister and founder of RightsInfo, Adam Wagner. Assisted by bright infographics and captivating footage of the Nuremberg trials, he spent an hour running through a potted history of human rights. From Magna Carta to the 2010 Equality Act, no stone or statute was left unturned. We explored the protections enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and European Charter of Fundamental Rights, which, as Adam made clear, are different documents, despite their frequent conflation.

After reflecting on contemporary issues, such as the tabloid media’s opposition to human rights and threats to the rule of law, Adam’s talk came to an end. He had raised thought-provoking points, leaving us all well positioned to understand why human rights matter, and why the Jewish community should be involved.