Northern Ireland: Top human rights lawyer - Mistakes of Northern Ireland being repeated globally
World-renowned legal campaigner Clive Stafford-Smith is set to deliver a blistering exposé of life on the frontline of the so-called War on Terror in Belfast.
The celebrated human rights advocate will speak this evening about injustices committed in the "war on terror" when he gives Amnesty International’s 2007 annual lecture at the city’s Elmwood Hall.
One of the world’s foremost human rights defenders, Clive Stafford Smith said it was of special significance that he was addressing a Belfast audience on the subject of terror and counter-terror.
He said: “The only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.
“All the mistakes made by the British Government in Northern Ireland are being repeated, with even more devastating consequences, in this so-called ‘War on Terror.’”
Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International Northern Ireland programme director, said:
“Clive Stafford Smith is one of the world's best known human rights lawyers. His work on behalf of prisoners held in secret and against the death penalty has been vital in shedding light on these dark practices, and what is being done in our name in the ‘War on Terror’.
“He continues to uncover abuses which governments both here and abroad want to keep hidden, and this is a unique chance to ask the tough questions of one of our most eminent campaigners for justice.”
Clive Stafford Smith first came to world attention with his high-profile campaigns on behalf of death row prisoners in the United States, and in 1999 he founded the charity Reprieve to work for those held in indefinite detention or facing execution.
Since 2004 he has won worldwide acclaim – and criticism – for representing a number of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, including recently freed British resident Mozzam Begg.
His new book, Bad Men: Guantanamo Bay and the Secret Prisons has garnered extensive praise for its “measured and uniquely informed account of systemic brutality and blind folly on an epic scale” (John Le Carre).
After the talk the BBC’s William Crawley will chair a question-an-answer session, giving people a unique opportunity to question the revered legal campaigner first hand.
The event, organised in association with the Human Rights Centre at Queen’s, is one of a number of Amnesty events taking place throughout the Belfast Festival.
Find out more about Amnesty's campaign to close Guantánamo