Centre for Legal Research


Just showing posts from June 2014

Pre-trial detention in Europe 

Posted by Lauren Rees | 0 comments
Professor Ed Cape is a partner in a new project examining pre-trial detention in 10 European countries. The project, led by the NGO Fair Trials International, is funded by the EU and will last for two years. The objective is to examine how pre-trial decisions are made in practice by observing court hearings, examining case files, and interviewing lawyers, prosecutors and judges.

The study is well timed. The International Centre for Prison Studies has just reported that there are nearly 3 million people in pre-trial detention around the world, and in some countries the majority of the prison population is made up of people who have not been found guilty or who have not been sentenced (http://www.prisonstudies.org/news/close-three-million-people-pre-trial-detention-worldwide-new-report-shows). Overall in Europe about one-fifth of people in prison have not been convicted of any offence, but the picture varies considerably across different countries. In Poland, about 10% of the prison population are in pre-trial detention, whereas in Malta the equivalent figure is 64%.

The findings of the research project will be used to work out ways of improving existing laws and practices. Details of the first meeting of the research project can be viewed at http://www.fairtrials.org/press/fair-trials-launches-new-pre-trial-detention-project/.
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How to create the change you want to see: VAW advocacy workshop at UWE  

Posted by Lauren Rees | 0 comments

On 23 May 2014, CAWN (Central America Women’s Network), based in London, came to UWE to provide a free all-day advocacy and campaigning workshop to UWE law students. The theme of the workshop was ‘Promoting Women’s Rights for a Life Free from Violence’. In the end, around 15 people were present, mostly law students, but also some activists from NGOs. This enriched the experience and discussions.  Marilyn Thomson, Chair of CAWN, led the workshop. She has many years experience in advocating and campaigning on behalf of Central American women at international and domestic levels and writing very influential reports that document the human rights abuses of Central American regimes.

The first part of the workshop provided an overview of what campaigning and advocacy means in the context of international human rights and the importance of advocating on behalf of others. This was reinforced through an exercise in empowerment and power and what this means in practice. Video clips were then shown of Central American activists who are campaigners in their own right. One particular story stood out: Carmen who led the movement on domestic workers’ rights in Brazil and was seeking a seat in the Parliament for the fourth time. This was a key point: advocating and campaigning takes a long time, especially if you are asking for things people do not want to give you.

The Criminal Justice Unit and the Centre for Legal Research kindly provided lunch. It provided a great opportunity for networking and talking about what individuals felt passionate about and what they would do in a campaign.

The second half of the day centred around practical information, actions and cause of Violence Against Women (VAW). Lessons from CAWN’s work on violence against women in Honduras were up first, followed by looking at the root causes and consequences of VAW in groups. This fit very well with what gender and the law students had been taught over the course of the year and the work of Rashida Manjoo, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on VAW who came to UWE in October 2013 and talked with the students as well as giving a public lecture. The final (and maybe most practical) part of the workshop focussed on campaign planning on VAW. At the end of the workshop the participants had a greater understanding of how to create the change they want to see.

Prof. Jackie Jones
Jessica Elliott

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