05. June 2019 - 17:30 till 19:30
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Professor Ruth Blakeley Inaugural Lecture | | Wednesday, 05. June 2019

State Violence, State Terrorism, and the Human Rights Struggle
Inalienable human rights, including the right to life and the right to freedom from torture, are under threat. In this inaugural lecture, Prof Ruth Blakeley will reflect on how her research on state violence and terrorism has influenced her current thinking both on the defence of human rights, and on the role of the social science researcher. Undertaking her PhD shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks, she began her career examining how the US and other powerful Western states had engaged in counterinsurgency campaigns throughout the 20th century that had devastating impacts on human rights. This work led her into a decade-long project in collaboration with human rights NGOs and litigators to map and analyse the CIA’s programme for the rendition, detention, interrogation and torture of terror suspects. She will use this lecture to introduce her latest research on torture and accountability.  With reference to UK collusion in CIA torture, she will demonstrate that successive governments have engaged in various forms of denial, and then have severely constrained investigations. The net effect has been to deny the victims redress through adequate judicial processes, and to deny the public adequate state accountability. She will then argue that governments’ unwillingness to **** up to the UK’s torturous record is part of a process of leaving open the option to again resort to torture in future. In light of this, she will argue that the robust defence and pursuit of human rights is more urgent than ever, if the excesses of state power are to be curtailed and if the credibility of the international human rights regime is to be restored. 

Ruth Blakeley is Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield, and Director of the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership for the Social Sciences. Her research and teaching focus on international security, terrorism and political violence, and human rights.  She is Co-Director of The Rendition Project. This provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation programme.  Funded by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grant, research findings are disseminated through an extensive and innovative project website () that houses the world’s only comprehensive database of flights known or suspected to have been involved in rendition. She is the Lead Editor of the Review of International Studies, and Vice-Chair of the British International Studies Association.