Human Rights Speaker Series: Tolerance Day Panel - Responding to Hatred and Promoting Tolerance Amidst Growing Diversity

  • Wed 18 Nov 20

    14:00 - 15:30

  • Online


  • Event speaker

    Simona Cruciani, Karel Fracapane, Dr Nazila Ghanea, Mandi Mudarikwa, Dr. Elizabeth O’Casey and Dr. Ahmed Shaheed.

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Human Rights Centre Speaker Series

  • Event organiser

    Human Rights Centre

  • Contact details

This tolerance day panel will cover a broad range of issues related to tolerance and intolerance, especially on the intersections between freedom of expression and the rights of minorities.

Around the world we see acts of violence, xenophobia, racism, antisemitism, exclusion, marginalization and discrimination directed against national, ethnic, religious, linguistic and sexual minorities, refugees, migrant workers, immigrants and vulnerable groups within societies, threatening to destroy societal harmony and the foundations of peace. Advances in technology, especially through the use of social media, are increasingly fuelling incitement to violence while those exercising their freedom of expression face intimidation and violence.  The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified many of these trends, victimising persons belonging to minorities.

In this context, our guest panellists through their work and expertise will be addressing these challenges using human rights as a beacon. The discussion will cover a broad range of issues related to tolerance and intolerance, especially on the intersections between freedom of expression and the rights of minorities.


Speaker biographies

Simona Cruciani

Simona Cruciani serves as a Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect (OSAPG) where she is the focal point for the implementation of the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech and runs the Global Program with Religious Leaders on Preventing Incitement to Violence that could Lead to Atrocity Crimes.  Before joining the OSAPG, Simona served in United Nations field operations, respectively from 2004 to 2006 in the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Burundi as an Electoral and Civil Affairs Officer, and from 2006 to 2008 at the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Sudan as a Civil Affairs Officer. 

Simona’s focus has primarily been on preventing and responding to atrocity crimes as well as supporting human security, democratization and human rights in conflict and post-conflict situations. Simona has a master’s degrees in Contemporary History, International Affairs and Public Health.  Simona will speak about her global efforts to combat hate speech through the UN system.


Karel Fracapane

Karel Fracapane is programme specialist at the Education Sector of UNESCO where he leads activities relating to genocide education, hate speech and violent extremism, in the context of UNESCO’s work on global citizenship education. Karel started his professional career at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a Policy Officer. He was then hired by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and was appointed its first Executive Secretary in 2005.  In this capacity, he worked successively for the governments of the United States of America, Italy, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.  Karel then became Head of a newly established Department of International Relations of the Shoah Memorial in Paris, coordinating many activities pertaining to Holocaust and genocide studies in several regions of the world.  He  was  also  a  member  of  the International  Committee of Memorial Museums in Remembrance of the Victims of Public Crimes of the ICOM, 2011 Chairman of the IHRA Memorials and Museums Working Group, and is a fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar and of The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs’ “Dealing with the Past” Programme. He holds Masters Degrees in Literature from the University of Angers and in Political Sciences from the Institute of Political Studies of Bordeaux. He also holds a Post-Graduate Research Degree from the Institute of Political Studies of Paris (“Sciences-Po”).
Karel will speak about his work to promote the values of tolerance, inclusion and peace through UNESCO’s global citizenship education program.

Mandi Mudarikwa

Mandi Mudarikwa is an attorney who has spent the past 11 years working in the social justice legal sector mainly focusing on the realisation of the right to substantive equality. She holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and a Masters of Law (LLM) in Human Rights Law, both from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She was admitted to Western Cape Town High Court Attorneys Roll in August 2011. Mandi worked as an attorney in the Equality and Non-Discrimination project of the Legal Resources Centre where her primary focus was on promoting the realisation of the right to equality and non-discrimination for people who are marginalised and made invisible because of by the operation of law, policies and practice. Over the years this has included working on strategic impact litigation, legal representation, local, regional and international advocacy at the African Commission and at the United Nations level. Some of her work sought to promote the realisation of substantive equality in marriage and relationships, distribution of state resources, public service that is free from stigma, access to work, social security, education, sexual and reproductive health care and other economic and social rights, legal gender recognition and trans and gender diverse focused access to health among others.  
Mandy will talk about the use of strategic litigation to promote equality and inclusion of women and LGBTQI+  persons in South Africa and will look at how the legal normative framework of rights can be used to realise rights while countering and dismantling narratives of exclusion and discrimination.


Dr. Elizabeth O’Casey

Dr. Elizabeth O’Casey is Director of Advocacy for Humanists International. She focuses her work on freedom of belief and expression, artistic and cultural rights, LGBTI+ equality, and the rights of women, particularly in relation to religious, traditional and cultural practices. 
Elizabeth manages Humanists International’s advocacy work at a number of institutions, including at the UN in Geneva, New York and Paris, the Council of Europe, European Union, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, the Organisation of American States, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). She also does human rights training sessions for politicians, diplomats and officials.
Elizabeth is a member of the OSCE Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief, a Member of the Global Steering Committee of the UN Fez Process, and a member of the Advisory Board for the EU’s Global Exchange on Religion in Society. She is also Vice Chair of the UN NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief (in Geneva), an International Patron for the Pink Triangle Trust and an International Advisor at the Raif Badawi Foundation.
She has a PhD in International Political Theory from the London School of Economics, where she was a Michael Leifer Scholar. She has spent time as a Global Justice fellow at Yale University, served in various policy and advocacy positions in the UK and EU, and has worked as a consultant on sexual and reproductive health and rights. She is based in Brussels.
Elizabeth will highlight challenges to successful human rights advocacy amidst rising push back on human rights in many parts of the world.


Dr. Nazila Ghanea

Dr. Nazila Ghanea is the Director of International Human Rights Law Programmes and Associate Professor of International Human Rights Law, University of Oxford and is a Fellow of Kellogg College. She is the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the independent think tank, Universal Rights Group. Nazila has been a visiting academic at a number of institutions including Columbia and NYU, and previously taught at the University of London and Keele University, UK and in China. Her research spans freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, women’s rights, minority rights and human rights in the Middle East. She has published numerous monographs and journal articles and her research has been funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Board, the UK Economic and Social Research Council, Open Society and the QNRF. She has also received a number of university scholarships and academic awards. Nazila is an advisor to the OHCHR on the ‘Faith for Rights’ Initiative,  has served as a member of the OSCE’s Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief and acted as a human rights consultant/expert for a number of governments, the UN, UNESCO, OSCE, Commonwealth, Council of Europe and the EU.
With her extensive expertise on theory and practice of human rights, Nazila will set out the conceptual and normative framework for challenging intolerance.


Dr. Ahmed Shaheed

Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, is Senior Lecturer in the School of Law, Co-Deputy Director of the Human Rights Centre, Co-Deputy Director of the ESRC funded Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project and leads the Essex Freedom of Religion or Belief and Equality Unit. He is currently the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief in which capacity he has focused on implementing the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Ahmed is the founding chair of the Geneva-based think tank, Universal Rights Group and Senior Fellow at the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. He is also a member of the committee of experts advising the UN Office on Genocide Prevention on the role of religious actors in responding to incitement to hatred, and member of the Advisory Board for the EU’s Global Exchange on Religion in Society. From 2011 to 2016, Ahmed served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ahmed will moderate the panel discussion.


Register for this online webinar on Zoom.

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