We remember Nigel Rodley

  • Date

    Wed 20 Sep 17

Professor Sir Nigel Rodley

Our community will remember the influence and legacy of one of the ‘founding fathers’ of our Human Rights Centre and a prominent figure in our School of Law next week.

Human rights students, scholars, experts, activists and advocates, including many of our graduates, from around the world will be welcomed to the Professor Sir Nigel Rodley Memorial Conference at Firstsite, Colchester.

Sir Nigel, who died in January was a generous colleague and a wonderful friend to many in our staff, student and graduate communities. He leaves his mark all over international human rights law and institutions, in particular at the United Nations and the prohibition of torture.


Professor Sir Nigel Rodley working for Amnesty International in 1985, © Jean-Marie Simon)
Professor Sir Nigel Rodley working for Amnesty International in 1985, © Jean-Marie Simon

Dr Clara Sandoval, Acting Director of our Human Rights Centre, of which Sir Nigel was Chair when he died, said: “Today we celebrate the life and legacy of Professor Sir Nigel Rodley. Few people of his generation have shaped the evolution of human rights law as he did.”

Sir Nigel’s dedication to training the next generation of rigorous and committed human rights practitioners has helped our Human Rights Centre and School of Law attract some of the brightest and best students from around the world.

Professor Noam Lubell, from our School of Law and Human Rights Centre, added: Nigel was a source of inspiration to all human rights advocates and a personal friend and mentor to so many of us at Essex and beyond. The chance to learn from him drew me to Essex three times, as a masters student, again as his PhD student, and in later years returning to Essex to be his colleague.

“All of us here were incredibly fortunate to benefit from his wisdom over the years. His impact on the human rights world was unrivalled, and his sharp intellect and kind spirit will be remembered by us all.”

The Memorial Conference will focus on themes central to Sir Nigel’s work: combating torture; UN human rights mechanisms; and human rights as a branch of public international law.

Sir Nigel joined Essex in 1990 having previously been at Amnesty International. During his career he served as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, as member and chair of the UN Human Rights Committee and as President of the International Commission of Jurists.

The Essex conference is one of several international events being held in Sir Nigel’s honour while filmmakers at Human Rights in the Picture are currently fundraising to make a documentary about his life and contribution to human rights.