Can human rights make our societies better? This podcast explores the most important human rights issues of the day through engaging and accessible interviews with high-profile guests and straightforward guides to key concepts and key events. Presented by leading human rights lawyer Adam Wagner.
As the government’s plan to “update” human rights laws gather pace, and the calls to leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) re-emerge from the Brexit fog, this episode explores the too little known story of how the ECHR helps keep illiberalism at bay throughout Europe. I talk to Philip Leach and Joanna Evans from the amazing European Human Rights Advocacy Centre about their work in Eastern Europe standing up against truly horrific human rights abuses. This should be required listening for MPs who blithely say the UK should abandon the human rights system it was so instrumental in creating. More info at patreon.com/betterhuman
Page 48 of the 2019 Conservative manifesto promised wide-ranging changes to the Human Rights Act and judicial review, two important tools we have for challenging decisions of the state. I am joined by Tom Clark, Martha Spurrier, Tessa Gregory and Charlie Falconer to discuss what is likely to happen and why we could be facing an important constitutional upheaval. This is Part 2 of a special episode in partnership the Prospect Magazine Podcast. You can hear Part 1, on the independence of the judiciary, over at https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/topics/the-prospect-podcast
I am delighted to be joined in this episode by Billy Bragg, singer and activist. Billy and I talk about his new book, the Three Dimensions of Freedom, and much else beside. What is freedom? What is it worth without accountability? And why is the sometimes toxic environment on social media so central to Billy's understanding of freedom in the modern world? Most importantly, can music change the world (the answer will surprise you)?
The modern human rights system emerged from the flames of the Holocaust. Professor Philippe Sands QC has done as much as anyone to tell that story through the prism of his own tragic family history. In this discussion, recorded live at an even organised by Tzedek, we discuss how Philippe's wonderful book East West Street came to be written, why the lessons of the 1940s are still fundamentally important today and what we can do to honour them as living memory of the Holocaust disappears.
Are algorithms controlling our thoughts? Does Facebook resemble a totalitarian state? How can we stop political parties exploiting our innermost thoughts? International human rights barrister Susie Alegre and I discuss why the human right to freedom of thought might be the most useful prism through which to answer these questions. An absolutely fascinating discussion which gets to the heart of some of the most important issues involving the fast evolving technology which we all use but barely understand. As always, more information at patreon.com/betterhuman
The climate emergency is a human rights emergency. As global temperatures rise, along with sea levels, there is likely to be a profound effect on people's access to their basic needs such as food, water and clean air. In this week's episode, I speak to Molly Lipson and Tobias Garnett from Extinction Rebellion and Keina Yoshida, barrister and expert on human rights and the environment, about how the human rights and environmental activist worlds overlap and sometimes collide. More info on patreon.com/betterhuman
Professor Francesca Klug OBE and Jonathan Cooper OBE relate the fascinating inside story of how the UK passed its first modern bill of rights: the Human Rights Act 1998. In our current times of division it is inspiring to hear how cross-ideological consensus was built and practical solutions found to seemingly impossible problems. This was an amazing discussion and timely given the Conservative Party's commitment to "update" the Human Rights Act.
Will the Human Rights Act survive the next government? What other human rights issues are in the party manifestos? A conversation with Natasha Holcroft-Emmes. We have tried to pick out some of the main points from the manifestos but inevitably there is so much which could impact on human rights that the review is not comprehensive, but hopefully helpful for those considering who to vote for.
The UK has a dark and dangerous constitution... this episode is about how Brexit shows it's finally time to write it down. The mismanaged referendum, an attempt by a Prime Minister to shut down Parliament to avoid scrutiny and the continued efforts to water down fundamental rights are all reasons, in my view, for working towards a written constitution. This was recorded at a lecture I gave to the Pembroke College Cambridge Politics Society. As always, you can find out more at www.patreon.com/betterhuman
This is a fascinating and at times moving conversation with Jonathan Cooper OBE, a barrister who has been involved in some of the defining LGBT+ cases of recent times. We take a journey from 1967 when homosexual acts were partly legalised, through decades of state persecution of gay people, to highlight some of the landmark human rights cases which changed the law not just in the UK but across Europe. Jonathan shared both his professional and very personal experiences. It's quite a journey. As always, episode notes are at patreon.com/betterhuman
In societies based on human rights principles how can people still live in poverty? This episode is about an important but, in my experience, poorly understood area - social and economic rights. I interview the brilliant Professor Aiofe Nolan about the principles and politics behind the rights to food, social security, health and other rights which are essential to human flourishing, and surely just as important as so-called 'political' rights. So why aren't they more widely adopted?
You can find episode notes on www.patreon.com/betterhuman
This is an important discussion with Schona Jolly QC, barrister and Chair of the UK's Bar Human Rights Committee. As with everything Brexit, this issue generates misinformation and exaggerated claims, so the point of this episode is to explain in plain English what Brexit is (yes, you have to start there) and how it could impact on all of our rights, including in the workplace, environmental rights, anti-discrimination and freedom of movement. I'm afraid it's not for the faint hearted, especially the bit at the end about no deal.. As always, find show notes and how to support the podcast at Patreon.com/betterhuman
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". In the age of social media, is that still true? This week I speak to Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship about the human right to freedom of speech. Sometimes described as the life blood of democracy, why is this important right so controversial? Do we have a right to offend, or not to be offended? Is Julian Assange a journalist? What about Tommy Robinson? Where is the dividing line between racial hatred and protected opinions? And much more...
You can get episode notes including links for further reading at www.patreon.com/betterhuman
Welcome to a brand new podcast all about human rights presented by me, Adam Wagner. In this short introduction I explain the idea behind setting up the podcast. I think that in today's polarised and dangerous political times, human rights can give us the lens we need to understand what's happening and make our societies better. Each episode will explore a key human rights issue with expert guests.
More info and how to support the podcast: www.patreon.com/betterhuman