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The first event of the Head Girl’s Speaker Programme was held on 23 November 2011 with Isabella Sankey, Director of Policy at Liberty as Guest Speaker.
Ms Sankey, a resident of Brighton, is a trained Human Rights Lawyer and leads Liberty’s parliamentary lobbying and policy development working in particular on the protection of human rights in the context of counter-terror policy.
As a school child, Ms Sankey visited Roedean on a number of occasions. She took part in netball tournaments and later, as a Sixth Former, she came to hear a talk on Oxbridge. At that time, she wanted to apply to Cambridge to study law and to become a Human Rights Lawyer, both of which she achieved. She now leads Liberty’s legal team.
Liberty is a membership organisation that holds an Annual General Meeting and relies on its membership to fund its work and campaigns. Some of the current campaigns are; to stop the evasion of the funding of Legal Aid system, to prevent the speedy extradition of terror suspects to the US, to review the use of control orders and most important to defend, promote and save the Human Rights Act from appeal. The Human Rights Act of 1998 imports the legislation of the European Convention of Human Rights of 1953 into our domestic law. This meant that from 2000 any person who had a case to be answered on the violation of their human rights and fundamental freedom could appeal to the higher courts in Brussels.
Liberty recently held its Human Rights Awards ceremony and Lieutenant-Colonel Nicholas Mercer received the award for the Human Rights Lawyer of the Year for acting as a whistle blower following the mistreatment of people in Iraq. Janis Sharp received the Human Rights ‘Close to Home’ Award for her campaign to prevent the extradition of her son, Gary McKinnon, to the States for hacking into the Pentagon systems. The Human Rights Young Person of the Year Award went to Cerie Bullivant who converted to Islam in his early 20s and was then considered a ‘real risk’ to national security and was not allowed to leave his house, to work or study or to communicate with certain people for a two year period. The control order that he endured was later quashed by the High Court.
Ms Sankey outlined the importance of a number of articles in the Human Rights Act and concluded by thanking Emma and stating that it was a privilege to have been asked to Roedean to talk about her work.
The next talk will be held on 11 January when the invited speaker is Eleanor Mills, a Journalist from the Sunday Times and author of, ‘The truth we hide from career women’.
For more information on Liberty visit: www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk