Amnesty welcomes Queen's University decision on Charlie Hebdo conference and announces additional public event

Amnesty International has welcomed the decision by Queen's University Belfast to give the go-ahead to a conference on the Charlie Hebdo shootings and free speech, which had originally been cancelled by university management. Amnesty also announced that it would hold a public event featuring some of the conference speakers in order to widen the debate on the need to defend the right to freedom of expression.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

“The decision by Queen's to give the go-ahead to the Charlie Hebdo event is clearly the right one.

“The original decision by the university to cancel the event generated significant public outcry, because people care passionately about this issue.

“We know that freedom of expression is under attack, whether that is gunmen shooting cartoonists in Paris, the Saudi government locking up blogger Raif Badawi, or Russia's crackdown on civil society. Freedom of expression, including academic freedom, must be defended robustly wherever it is threatened. At the same time, we must also ensure that the right is not abused, for instance, to incite hatred or violence against a minority group.

“Amnesty's event is open to anyone who cares about freedom of expression and the debate on where to set limits on the exercise of the right.”

The Amnesty International event: '#JeSuisCharlie? Freedom of expression at risk' will be held on Thursday 4 June, 7pm at Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast. Details here.

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