The capacity audience – a cross section of students, academics, NGO representatives and individuals interested in this important topic – were very appreciative of both presentations. The only complaint from the audience was that many people would have liked longer to listen to – and ask questions of – these two insightful and experienced speakers.
L-R – Professor Michael O’Flaherty, Dr. Roja Fazaeli and Brendan McNamara
On Wednesday, December 11th the Irish Baha’i Community co-hosted an event with the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies of Trinity College. The lunchtime event entitled, Diplomacy With Iran – Are Human Rights Being Bartered for Other Gains? was held in the Long Room Hub at Trinity College, Dublin.
After a brief introduction by Brendan McNamara on behalf of the Baha’i Community, Dr. Roja Fazaeli gave a short, but comprehensive, outline of some of the most important issues surrounding human rights in the Middle East, with particular reference to Iran. Dr. Fazaeli is a Lecturer in Islamic Civilisation(s) at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies. She is also the Scholars at Risk representative to TCD, a founding member of the Iran Group, Ireland and has served on the boards of the Irish Refugee Council, UNIFEM Ireland and Amnesty Ireland.
Professor Michael O’Flaherty, the main speaker at the event, then gave a very informative overview of the recent nuclear and diplomatic negotiations with Iran. Professor O’Flaherty, the new Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights and ex-Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, expressed his optimism at some positive developments and signs of openness in these latest negotiations and agreements. However, he also pointed out some important human rights issues that might have been easily addressed but which were, unfortunately, not even part of the discussion. As human rights is one of the ‘pillars’ on which the United Nations rests, Professor O’Flaherty explained the importance of having a human rights framework in all diplomatic engagement, regardless of the other topics addressed.
As well as his position as Director of the Irish Centre for Human rights, Michael O’Flaherty is also Established Professor of Human Rights Law at NUIG, former Vice-Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee and a member on a number of advisory boards of NGOs internationally.