CUAI launches national project to campaign for the Human Rights Act!

In late 2015, CUAI launched a project to campaign to keep the Human Rights Act in response to government plans to change or scrap it. We decided to try to raise awareness of the articles included in the Human Rights Act through audio-visual media, and bring together student groups from across the country in a collaborative effort in the process. The finished projects will be released on social media when the government consultation on the HRA is announced in 2016.

So far, the project has been very successful with Amnesty International student groups from Durham University, the University of Sussex, the University of Sheffield and the University of Edinburgh all having joined the project. Everyone so far has made fabulous contributions through photo and video campaigns (still top secret!), and in Lent term 2016, we plan to put together a Quiz about the Human Rights Act in the hope of raising even more awareness and getting people talking about what the Human Rights Act really means!

“Problematic Politics” Panel Discussion 12/11/15

On the 12th of November 2015, CUAI hosted a panel discussion, “Problematic Politics”, in collaboration with Clare Politics and the Centre for Governance and Human Rights. The aim of the event was to discuss whether the work of Amnesty International ultimately does more harm than good and address whether organisations such as Amnesty International and the United Nations, and human rights theory in general, inherently imperialistic because of the nature of their inception?


Dr Sharath Srinivasan directs the University of Cambridge’s Centre of Governance and Human Rights (CGHR), and conducts research on the politics and ethics of external intervention in civil conflicts and the role of new information and communication technologies in political change.


Lucy Wake is the Government and Political Relations Manager for Amnesty International, whose role involves lobbying the UK government and Parliament on human rights issues, home and abroad. Lucy has also previously been a Board Member of the organisation, End Violence Against Women.

Professor Stephen Hopgood is the co-Director of the Centre for the International Politics of Conflict, Rights and Justice (CCRJ) at SOAS and author of the ethnography, ‘Keepers of the Flame: Understanding Amnesty International’.

Dr Arathi Sriprakash is a sociologist of education, globalisation, and international development at Cambridge, whose work includes global policy sociology, feminist postcolonial theory and the politics of knowledge in international development.

Srishti Krishnamoorthy is a PhD student in English at Newnham and high-class debater, whose research interests include gender and sexuality and Postcolonialism.

For a copy of the notes taken during the event please click here (disclaimer: these notes are very rough and do include some holes!)

We were overjoyed by the turnout and were so grateful to all of our speakers for agreeing to attend what turned out to be a great event.

The consensus seemed to be that the work of Amnesty International, though not perfect, is still important. However, through this event we hoped to encourage critical thought and constant reflection on our practices as human rights activists, which is the only way to make sure sustainable progress is achieved; this is something we will aim to continue beyond this discussion and into the future.

Freshers’ Squash

Come along to the Cambridge University Amnesty International Freshers’ Squash!

Sunday 11/10/15

5-6 pm

Erasmus Room, Queens’ College

All newcomers are welcome to our first meeting where you’ll get a chance to learn about Amnesty as a global organisation, meet our members,  and hear about our plans for this term. As always, tea and snacks will be provided!

Hope to see lots of you there!

Refugee Action’s Big Night in!

Saturday, May 2nd, 5.00pm, Fawcett JCR, Newnham College

We decided to spice things up a bit at our first CUAI meeting of term, and swapped the usual tea and biscuits for a variety of dishes from around the globe in aid of Refugee Action. All of the dishes were based on recipes written and developed by refugee chefs, ranging from a Sri Lankan Wattakka curry to an Ndolé dip from Cameroon. We also sent off dozens of letters on recent urgent actions, including the unjust imprisonment of Burmese human rights activist Thein Aung Myint. The event was a huge success, and many thanks to everyone who came along!

See Facebook Event

Information on Refugee Action

Our buffet to raise money for Refugee Action


Ice&Fire Asylum Monologues 01/12/14

Ice and Fire, Amnesty UK Cambridge, CGHR and Cambridge STAR present: The Asylum Monologues.

Asylum Monologues is a first-hand account of the UK’s asylum system in the words of people who have experienced it. Launched at Amnesty International in June 2006, it has been touring the UK ever since. The script is regularly updated with new testimonies.**No part of these testimonies has been fictionalised.**

Quote from the play:
‘This waiting for the Home Office to decide, I always say that it is a diplomatic form of torture. They are not raping us, they are not burning us with cigarettes, but they are torturing us mentally, and that’s the worst.’

This event is a collaboration with:
*Amnesty UK Cambridge*
*Cambridge STAR (Student Action for Refugees)*

More about Ice and Fire:

Sign up to the CGHR mailing list:
For more CGHR events visit:

Write for Rights 30/11/14

Come along to Cambridge Amnesty’s Christmas Event – Write for Rights – this Sunday (30th November) 4-6pm in Downing Bar.

Each year, Amnesty runs a campaign around Christmas time, in which we write letters of support – and Christmas cards – to prisoners of conscience around the world, who are being held against their human rights.

Come along to write a letter or two, meet the CUAI committee and find out more about Amnesty’s work.

The event is open to *everyone* – feel free to pop in for 10 minutes, or to stay for the whole two hours.

* there will be Christmas decorations, food and cheer! *

Need more convincing? Check out this inspiring video on why you should take part in this campaign:

FInd out more about write for rights here:

Meet this year’s cases:

Any questions please contact our secretary Ellen Chapman,

SEEDS OF HOPE: Film Screening + Live stream with the UN in New York 20/11/14

Cambridge University Amnesty International CUAI is thrilled to bring you an absolutely unique event with the collaboration of CCARHT (Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking). We will be participating in the special screening of the film ‘Seeds of Hope’ at the United Nations, hosted by the UN Representative office for Prevention of Sexual Violence.

The film will be screened first and then a Q&A will follow with the director of the film Fiona Lloyd-Davies and some specially invited people attending the UN in New York (including Suzanna Sirkin from Physicians for Human Rights). The UN have facilities to live stream the event so the student audience in Cambridge will be able to ask questions directly to the panel of guests in New York via webcam. We really hope you can join us for this exceptional opportunity!

SEEDS OF HOPE- a 72 minute documentary by Fiona Lloyd-Davies. Seeds of Hope follows the story of Masika Katsuva, a Congolese woman who sacrifices her safety everyday to help others deal with the unimaginable horrors they have experienced in their lives. Since the outbreak of the civil war, which has torn the Congo apart, rape has become commonplace and is used as a weapon of war. At Masika’s centre, a community of rape victims try to rebuild their lives and console each other.

Film trailer:

For more information on the film:

Cambridge University Amnesty International, find us on:

Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking:

CCARHT is a virtual network of academics, social entrepreneurs, enforcement personnel, Not for Profit organisations and political lobbyists gathered from across Europe, the Americas, Oceania, Asia, and Africa, networked out of our Cambridge Offices, who are concerned to see applied research brought to bear on the complex challenges of Human Trafficking as it emerges as one of the great human rights violations and accelerator of criminal wealth creation to be addressed in the twenty first century.

Human rights and the protection of taxpayers’ rights in theory and in practice: a talk by Professor Philip Baker QC 13/11/14



Cambridge University Amnesty International CUAI is delighted to invite Professor Philip Baker QC of the Field Court Tax Chambers in Grays Inn to come and speak on the topic of Human Rights and the protection of taxpayers’ rights.

The current situation of taxpayers is not very optimistic; we live in a century where tax revenues and press attack not only illegal tax evasion but also legitimate and justified tax planning. One decision of a bored revenue officer or an article of ambitious journalist can change someone’s life and destroy a good name. Some sociologists call taxation a new terror of a State.

One would expect that taxpayers would be protected by human rights. However, it is not always the case.

Given the significant impact taxation has on our lives and the extent to which the state will go to enforce its rights, the courts should give greater weight to the powers enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (‘the Convention’) in applying tax laws. However, to date, courts have been reticent to purposefully applying the Convention.

Professor Baker will be discussing the following:

– Taxation as the modern terror of the State
– The significance of taxpayers’ rights
– Taxation and the European Convention on Human Rights as seen through the case law of the European Court of Human Rights
– From theory to practice: the practical protection of taxpayers’ rights in Europe

The talk will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Professor Philip Baker QC studied law at Emmanuel College Cambridge, then Oxford and London. He taught law at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies for seven years before moving into practice. He is now a QC practising from Field Court Tax Chambers in Grays Inn. He has had an involvement with human rights work for many years, and in 1997 was awarded an OBE for services to Chinese political refugees in the UK. In recent years he has become increasingly involved with issues concerning taxpayers’ rights and their practical protection.

Hope to see many of you there!

Modern Day Slavery? Forced labour in the UK: a panel discussion 29/10/14

Cambridge University Amnesty International CUAI is collaborating with Cambridge Centre of Applied Research in Human Trafficking (CCARHT) to bring you an evening exploring Forced labour through film and conversation with panellists from Law, social advocacy programmes and law enforcement.

The evening will start with the screening of a short series of films on Forced Labour in the UK from the Unchosen Film Festival

A chaired panel of experts will then follow. The panel will consist of:

Dr Carrie Pemberton Ford (Chair)
Director of Cambridge Centre of Applied Research in Human Trafficking
Associate Research Member of Centre for African Studies University of Cambridge
Visiting Research Fellow Orange Free State University RSA
Former Chair of Research, Education and Training in Human Trafficking UK Human Trafficking Centre UK

Dr Sarah Steele
Former Fellow, Lecturer, and Director of Studies in Law
Christ’s College, University of Cambridge
Specialist in Legal challenges and Public Health impacts of Human Trafficking

Charlotte Wilson
Head of Licensing
Gangmasters Licensing Authority

A Member of Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s Local Policing team

DIRECTIONS: Cross over Magdalene Bridge and turn right onto Chesterton Lane. Continue along that road past Clare Colony and Cripps Court will be on your left.

Hope to see many of you there!

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at

The Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking (CCARHT) website:

The CCARHT facebook page:

Fresher’s Squash 12/10/14

Come along to Cambridge University Amnesty International’s Fresher’s Squash

THIS SUNDAY (12/10/14) 5pm @ Clare College Gatehouse Memorial Court

Opposite the UL – ask at the Clare porters (or call 07856424331 if you get lost)

Come along to:

– hear about what we do (both in Cambridge and Amnesty more generally)
– how to get involved
– our plans for this term
– do some letter writing
– eat some biscuits & drink some tea
– meet the committee
– let us know what you’d like to see amnesty doing this year.


Any questions please email ellen at