This webinar was presented by PBI UK patron and Alliance for Lawyers at Risk president Sir Patrick Elias and delivered by two world class actors. Fellow patron Juliet Stevenson is a lifelong supporter of justice and human rights and was joined by star of the stage Christopher Colquhoun.
These stories of resilience, hope and solidarity from the field are part of our latest multi-media project: The Right to Defend. Hearing stories from human rights defenders on the ground will strengthen our resolve and highlight new and different ways to support them. Their expertise, and the talent of our global network, can enrich us all.
We are constantly inspired by stories of resilience and hope from Nicaragua to Nepal, and want to share them with the rest of the world. In moments of crises, we would do well to reach out to one another in the same way. As community representatives, defenders are constantly amplifying the voices of those denied a platform. They exude relentless optimism in their struggle for a better world, channelling their suffering and frustration into the passion that fuels their work.
Pervading their struggle is a sense that things can get better. They envisage a world where human rights norms are respected, peace is a given, and people of all backgrounds are treated equally. Their work is laying the groundwork for fairer societies based on respect, tolerance and the inclusion of all voices. We could all learn from these beacons of resilience; individuals, communities and organisations proving time and again that their commitment to social change will outlast any setbacks they encounter.
Sir Patrick Elias QC is a retired Lord Justice of Appeal. He was called to the Bar in1973 (Inner Temple). Before becoming a Bencher in 1995, he was a fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge and served as Assistant Recorder from 1997 to1999. He was appointed Deputy High Court Judge in January 1999 and four months later, in May 1999, he was named Judge of the High Court, Queen’s Bench Division. He was President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal from 2006 to 2009. Mr Justice Elias was knighted in 1999. On 3 March 2009, he was appointed to Her Majesty’s Privy Council.
Juliet Stevenson has worked extensively for both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. In 1992 she won an Olivier Best Actress Award for her role as Paulina in Ariel Dorfman’s play Death and the Maiden. She made her name in films playing Nina opposite Alan Rickman in Truly, Madly, Deeply, a performance that won her the Evening Standard Film Award for Best Actress. She has had numerous television appearances and in 2011 was nominated for a BAFTA for her role in the BBC’s The Accused. Juliet was awarded a CBE in 1999.
Christopher Colquhoun is a seasoned actor who trained at Rada. In his career he has portrayed an eclectic range of characters, from Scar in The Lion King to Malcolm X, as well as playing leading classical roles at the RSC and National Theatre, and in the west end. He is currently in The Doctor with Juliet Stevenson (before lockdown) now hoping to open in the West End next Spring. His TV work includes Casualty, Fleabag and Vera, and he is currently a regular in the series Absentia on Amazon prime. When not acting he loves to sculpt (in glass and stone), and to write both music and prose.
Susi Bascon is the Director of Peace Brigades International (PBI) UK Section, an organisation that provides tailored support and protection to over 1000 human rights defenders around the world. Susi completed an MBA and an MSc in Development Studies and worked in the private sector for several years, before moving into the voluntary sector. She worked as an international observer for PBI in Mexico and began leading the PBI UK office in 1998. Jointly with late patron Sir Henry Brooke, she launched the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk in 2010, a network of high profile pro bono lawyers interested in supporting HRDs at risk. Susi also led PBI’s campaign for the nomination of the global community of human rights defenders for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.
Rebecca McCutcheon, Peckham-based theatre director.
Simon Scardifield, British actor and playwright.