Human Rights in the 21st Century


6. 1. 2021

Podcast Episode 12:

Werner Amon

Since July 2019 Werner Amon is the Austrian Ombudsman and was appointed Secretary General of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI).
Werner Amon counts on more than 25 years of experience as a member of the Austrian Parliament and also gained extensive professional experience in the international field. As spokesman of the Austrian People’s Party, Werner Amon was responsible for the areas of European and foreign policy as well as human rights and development policy.

He explains how an Austrian ombudsman structure with three board members works, which  issues  occupy them, how the NPM – National Preventive Mechanism – works and why it is needed. He also talks about connecting ombuds-men and ombuds-women globally, on the differences and what connects them.

6. 1. 2021

Podcast Episode 11:

Jayanthi Devi Balaguru

Jayanthi Devi Balaguru is currently the Chairperson of the CALD Women’s Caucus and the President of the International Network of Liberal Women. In July 2019, she was also elected as the member of the Liberal International Human Rights Bureau. She is a lawyer and has held many prominent positions in her political party Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (PGRM). She is an advocate for a fair and just society who believes that each voice needs to be heard and rights should be respected. Jayanthi regularly conducts programs on women empowerment. She obtained her Bachelor of Laws from Staffordshire, England and later received her Master’s of Law from the University of Malaya.

Mrs Jayanthi Devi Balaguru talks about contemporary situation regarding Human Rights in Malaysia and the region. We also discuss women’s rights and the contemporary situation with Aung San Suu Kyi, the state of civil society organizations in the country and Malaysia being elected to the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2022-2024.

6. 1. 2021

Podcast Episode 10:

Andreas I. Pottakis

Andreas I. Pottakis is Greek Ombudsman. He leads a national equality body that acts as guardian of the people’s rights, with a special emphasis on monitoring and promoting the implementation of the principle of equal treatment, the rights of the child and the rights of vulnerable groups.
He speaks about the common challenges to human rights and specifics of a country like Greece. We talk about the effects of recession on Greek society, the price of Covid-19 to youth and education system, elderly and pension system, gender rights and equal treatment. We also discuss the issue of population movement, rising numbers of asylum seekers, level of EU support and the effects of these flows on Greek society.

6. 1. 2021

Podcast Episode 9:

Dr Hakima El Haite

Dr El Haite is the 14th president of Liberal International and she is the second female president in history of the organisation, being the first from the MENA region. El Haité is an internationally recognised leader in the fields of environmental sustainability development and climate change. As the former Minister of Environment for the Kingdom of Morocco, she was a major actor in bringing COP22 to Morocco. She was elected vice president of COP 21 (Paris Agreement) and appointed as Special Envoy and UN High-Level Champion of COP 22. Honours for her work include recognition by US President Obama as an innovative entrepreneur, and the Knight of the National Order of the Legion d’Honneur by the French President François Hollande. She hold two PhD degrees, in Organisational Development and Planning and in Process Engineering.

We discuss the results, commitments and shortcomings of Glasgow UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), how climate change is already affecting human condition and changing geostrategic and migration patterns and what should the EU in cooperation with other global institutions do to mitigate consequences.

6. 1. 2021

Podcast Episode 8:

Veysel Ok

Veysel Ok is an dxceptional lawyer of freedom of expression, specialising in legislation in Turkey and the EU. He is committed to defending rights and freedoms with solid experience at all levels of the Turkish legal system as well as the European Court of Human Rights.

Interview starts with the assault on human rights and the rule of law in Turkey under president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Later Veysel Ok – freedom of speech and media lawyer, co-founder and co-director of MLSA – Media and Law Studies Association – explains how everything changed after the 2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt and what can be done, also with the help of the EU, to reverse the race to the bottom.

6. 1. 2021

Podcast Episode 7:

Anne Brasseur

Anne Brasseur is a psychologist from Luxembourg. She was actively involved in politics on national, local and European Level where she held different positions: Deputy Mayor of the City of Luxembourg, MP, Minister for Education and Sports and President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. She is a member of the board of trustees of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, a member of the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize and of the International Nuremberg Human Rights Award.

She talks about the state of human rights, protection and breaches by governments or other actors in the EU and broader. She also shares her thoughts on the protection and reinforcement of the human rights of refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe, on how to deal with populism, a challenge liberal democracies face every day and inspiring young female politicians.

6. 1. 2021

Podcast Episode 6:

Dr Shashi Tharoor

Dr Shashi Tharoor, is a third-term Member of Parliament  for  Thiruvananthapuram, is the bestselling author of twenty-three books, both fiction and non-fiction, besides being a former Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and a former Minister of State for Human Resource Development and for External Affairs in the Government of India. He has won numerous awards, including the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Crossword Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2019, Dr. Tharoor was also awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in the category of ‘English Non-Fiction’ for his book An Era of Darkness. He chairs Parliament’s Standing Committee on Information Technology.

We discussed the human rights challenges facing the world’s largest and most diverse democracy, protection and breaches by government and other actors in India, region and globally. We also touched on the issue of universality versus uniformity in understanding different human rights concepts, questionable media policies under the current administration and how to tackle the challenge that is global warming.

6. 12. 2021

Podcast Episode 5:

Prof. Danilo Türk

Prof. Danilo Türk is former President of Slovenia (2007-2012), and, subsequently (2015-2017), Chairman of the Global High Level Panel on Water and Peace. He is an expert on international law. He was Ambassador of Slovenia to the UN (1992-2000) and UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs (2000-2005). He is currently President of the Club de Madrid, organization of over 100 former, democratic presidents and prime ministers.

We discussed with former Slovenian President and chair of The Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace, Danilo Türk on water as an instrument for peace. Regardless if there is scarcity or the abundance of it due to climate change, there is a need for international cooperation when it comes to water . We also exchanged about the awareness towards global challenges, how to prevent and resolve water-related conflicts and how the EU can play an important role.

20. 4. 2021

Podcast Episode 4:

Barbara Nolan
Barbara Nolan – Head of Unit Fundamental Rights Policy, European Commission

Barbara Nolan is DG for Justice and Consumers Head of Fundamental Rights Policy. She talks about Covid-19 and areas of fundamental rights that took the hardest hit, explains the focuses of a new Strategy to strengthen the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU and identifies main challenges of protecting fundamental rights, which, she agrees, can not be taken for granted.

17. 4. 2021

Podcast Episode 3:

Peter Svetina
Peter Svetina – Human Rights Ombudsman, Republic of Slovenia

Peter Svetina is Slovenia’s human rights ombudsman. Sharing with us the understanding and respect for human rights as one of the EU’s fundamental building blocks, he also explains in more detail the situation of senior citizens in Slovenia during the Covid-19 crisis, what complaints they have encountered and how they have been dealt with. We are also talking about artificial intelligence and its impact on human rights, as well as future challenges.

26. 1. 2021

Podcast Episode 2:

Debbie Kohner
Debbie Kohner – Secretary General of European Network of National Human Rights Institutions

Debbie Kohner talks about the mission of ENNHRI, the impact Covid-19 has on the state of human rights and their efforts to deal with various challenges associated with it.

30. 11. 2020

Podcast Episode 1:

Hans van Baalen

Hans van Baalen – President of Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)

Debate about the state of human rights today. What is ALDEs response to illiberal agendas during Covid-19 crisis? How to deal with populism and his reaction to US election results.