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Podcast: Download the keynote audio podcast from this event here


About the Speech:

The European Union is facing unprecedented challenges to its human rights protection systems. Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, spoke about current failings in the protection of migrants, children and minorities, as well as the breakdown in trust in democratic processes in EU Member States and the increasing lack of cohesion in societies. At the same time, he emphasised areas in which we are seeing improvements in the human rights situation and the reasons for optimism.


About the Speaker:

Professor Michael O’Flaherty has been Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights since 16 December 2015. Until February 2013, he was an Established Professor of Human Rights Law and Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He has served as Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. From 2004-2012, he was a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, latterly as a Vice-Chairperson.

Professor O’Flaherty has been a member of the UK Foreign Office’s advisory bodies on freedom of expression and the prevention of torture and the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs’ human rights advisory committee. He initiated and directed the opening and closing expert consultations of the Dublin Process on the Strengthening of the UN Human Rights Treaty Body System and was rapporteur for its Dublin Outcome Document. He has been a member of the UN Expert Task Force on Human Rights Indicators that concluded its work in 2012.