DEBATE: The Commonwealth and Human Rights

DEBATE: The Commonwealth and Human Rights
6 March 2018, 6.00pm - 8.00pm
The Court Room, First Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs is sponsoring a series of debates on the Commonwealth all over the country in the run-up to the London Commonwealth summit in April. The object is to raise awareness of Commonwealth issues and stimulate discussion, and so far the topics have been challenging: In Exeter, the proposition was ‘This House believes the Commonwealth has no place in the modern world’; in Nottingham, the theme will be the Commonwealth and Brexit; and in Birmingham the motion was ‘This House believes that the Commonwealth prevents the UK from moving on from the past and dealing with the future’.

The motion for this event at London University Senate House, “This House thinks that Commonwealth commitments for human rights are just for public relations”, will fit neatly into this wider set of issues, and we are sure it will be an intriguing evening of thought-provoking debate and discussion. It will be a structured debate with our two guest speakers and their seconds discussing the topic, mediated by the Chair (TBA). Following concluding statements, it will be put to the audience to vote on who they think won the debate.

Tea and coffee will be served on arrival, and the debate will be followed by a drinks reception.

The Speakers:

Proposing the motion:

First Speaker: Joshua Castellino, Professor of Law and Dean of the School of Law at Middlesex University, started out as a journalist in Mumbai he has done much international work and has written widely on human, minority and indigenous rights. He holds other professorial appointments in Ireland and Poland.
For more information, see

Second Speaker: Cara Priestley, MA Human Rights Student at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, has undertaken research with the International State Crime Initiative and completed placements with Plan International Lebanon, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and the Institute for Palestine Studies. Her undergraduate degree was in History with Middle Eastern Studies, during which she was also General Secretary for the Friends of Palestine Society. Currently, she is pursuing an internship at the Environmental Justice Foundation alongside her Masters in Human Rights at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Opposing the motion: 

First Speaker: Colin Nicholls QC, honorary life president of the Commonwealth Lawyers' Association, has a practice covering war crimes, bribery and corruption, extradition and human rights. He was active in persuading Commonwealth leaders to adopt the Latimer House Principles, on the separation of powers, in 2003, and is currently chairing Commonwealth expert groups on cybercrime and virtual currencies.
For more information, see:

Second Speaker: Dallia Mitchell: From Canada originally, Dallia studied Legal Studies and Public Policy with a focus on human rights for her Undergraduate Degree at the Institute of Technology, University of Ontario. She is currently working for the IRCC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada) at the High Commission of Canada to the UK - and studying for her MA in Human Rights at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

The Round Table has, over the its 100+ year history, followed and analysed international relations in general, and issues relevant to the Commonwealth in particular. It boasts readers all over the world in government, business, finance and academia. The journal, not only publishing articles and opinion-pieces, but also, from time to time, carries important speeches and reports of relevance to the Commonwealth.

For more information on the Round Table, see their website at:

Co-sponsoring this event is the Human Rights Consortium (HRC) of the School of Advanced Study. It was established in 2009 to facilitate and promote interdisciplinary research in human rights nationally and internationally. It disseminates research on human rights, fosters national and international networks of human rights academics, hosts visiting fellows working in human rights and contributes to the training of research students working on human rights.

For more information, see the Human Rights Consortium website at:


Olga Jimenez
020 7862 8871