Oxbridge Project Talk on Human Rights

Monday 10 February 2014

Dr O’Hear: On Tuesday 4th February Philippe Bonavero, a human rights barrister from 4 Kings Bench Walk Chambers, came to address the Oxbridge Project on the history and application of the Refugee Convention. He explained what it actually meant to be persecuted on grounds of race, religion, nationality or sexuality and how difficult and arduous it can be to prove this to the Home Office in order to obtain refugee status. Mr Bonavero also spoke movingly of how some of his clients were the bravest people he had ever met as they had stood up to authoritarian regimes and suffered terribly for that.

It was a fascinating talk and the students were riveted and full of questions. We didn't leave until nearly 5pm! Most of the students moved from a position of scepticism regarding refugees to a deeper appreciation of the hardship they have been through and their right to a life free from persecution.

Special mention must be made of Hajar Benmehdia and Shanelle Pascall-Louis who managed to find the correct answers to two legal problems that Mr Bonavero set for the group. Mr Bonavero was impressed with the standard of questions and hopes that some of you will pursue legal careers.