Dermot Feenan Profile picture
Dec 28, 2018 8 tweets 3 min read Read on X
1/8 Troubling statements by former Human Rights Chief in @BenQuinn75’s excellent article on #SheikhaLatifa matter. Until further notice, I suspend a prospective invitation to Mrs Robinson to participate in a human rights conference.
2/8 Additional questions:

(i) Any communications between the UN and Mrs Robinson about the matter in advance?

(ii) On what basis did Mrs Robinson communicate with Zeid Raad Al Hussein, former Commissioner for Human Rights, regarding this matter?

(iii) Did anyone in or connected with UAE suggest that Mrs Robinson contact the current & former High Commissioners?

(iv) Did Mrs Robinson receive any payment towards any part of the trip and if so from whom?

(v) Will UAE allow Sheikha Latifa to:
- issue a statement, freely expressing her views,
- leave UAE, and
- remain abroad if she wishes, and respect any view she may express abroad?
5/8 Valid concerns are cited by both lawyers & human rights bodies; which, for academics like myself, must also be understood in the context of PhD student #MatthewHedges’ recent trial, & the numerous reports about human rights abuses, in UAE, as follows:
6/8 “arbitrarily detains and in some cases forcibly disappears individuals who criticize the authorities” (Human Rights Watch;
7/8 “authorities continued to arbitrarily restrict freedoms of expression and association” (Amnesty International,, and;
8/8 “significant human rights issues included allegations of torture in detention; arbitrary arrest and detention, including incommunicado detention” (US Department of State, Human Rights Report, 2017

Human rights matter.

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More from @dermotfeenan

Sep 7, 2023
As a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (@theRSAorg), I support the strike action by staff members @RsaUnion.

The vote by 93.33% of members to strike, on a 78.95% turnout of members (a significant proportion of RSA staff), is emphatic. [1/16]…
I'll also show support to staff on any picket.

As a former union rep, I know that members don’t strike lightly—not least as they’ll lose pay. Their sacrifice is for the collective good. So, support can also be shown by donating to the strike fund. [2/16]…
This strike is potentially avoidable if management return to fresh negotiations with the union, which argues that an improved offer would cost the RSA less than 3% of its unrestricted reserves. The union also point to a growing pay gap between senior execs and other staff. [3/16]
Read 16 tweets
Feb 16, 2021
A thread in which I set out concerns with the UK government’s plan for addressing free speech in universities.

Given existing reliable surveys on free speech, the plan is misplaced, and, even on its own logic, will likely be counterproductive.
The BBC report doesn’t cite evidence justifying such intervention. While there are instances of some censorship on campuses, these are not sufficiently widespread to justify the government’s measures, which are akin to using sledgehammers to crack a nut.
There are already free speech laws governing universities. The Education (No. 2) Act 1986 provides for “such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees”.…
Read 30 tweets
Feb 14, 2021
A significant development in external investigation of university management in England, here through a power statutorily conferred on the Office for Students ('OfS') (@officestudents). [1/8]…
The Guardian refers to Ofs’ ‘powers to scrutinise whether members of senior university management meet a test for being “fit and proper” to exercise their roles.’ The report doesn’t mention the basis of the powers. I set out below what I believe that basis to be. [2/8]
The Higher Education and Research Act 2017, s. 13(1)(b), confers power on the OfS to include in the initial or ongoing registration conditions for higher education providers a public interest governance condition. [3/8]…
Read 9 tweets
Dec 24, 2020
Sloppy, unethical, and unprofessional article by Gabriella Swerling in her Daily Telegraph article earlier this week.

Swerling smears Professor Corinne Fowler (@corinne_fowler) as ‘[t]he “woke” National Trust academic who has been reviewing its links with colonialism.’ [1/11]
Professor Fowler is not a ‘National Trust academic’. She is employed by the University of Leicester and was seconded to the Trust in 2019-2020 to conduct research; one of the outcomes from which is a co-edited report published by the Trust (referred to further below). [2/11]
I have found no record of any of the sources cited by Swerling – Andrew Roberts, Oliver Dowden, Nigel Huddleston or, indeed, members of the Common Sense Group – referring publicly to Professor Fowler as ‘woke’, not that I would think it appropriate if they did. [3/11]
Read 11 tweets
Dec 24, 2020
Further press coverage of Durham County Council’s sanctions against Councillor David Boyes following my complaint about his communication in respect of Travellers. This coverage focuses on the Hearing Panel’s reasoning and Councillor Boyes’ apology. [1/6]…
The coverage notes that right up to the hearing Councillor Boyes denied that his communications amounted to a breach of the Code. While the coverage correctly refers to the Panel’s view that Cllr Boyes’ actions were ‘careless’,
it does not refer to the Investigating Officer’s findings – with which the Panel agreed – which include: (1) Cllr Boyes’ ‘liking of the offensive comments did amount to a failure to treat those who were the subject of such comments with respect’ contrary to the Code, and
Read 8 tweets
Dec 24, 2020
Press coverage of Durham County Council’s sanctions against Councillor David Boyes for his communications in respect of Travellers – by James Harrison/@JHarrisonLDR, Local Democracy Reporter, Sunderland Echo: who I commend for covering this story so well.…
'The panel also rejected suggestions by Mr Feenan that Cllr Boyes should resign his position as chairman of the county council’s Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Committee, which carries a special responsibility allowance worth £2,660.' Interesting detail by @JHarrisonLDR.
Important to add that the Council upheld the Investigating Officer’s findings, including that Cllr Boyes’ ‘liking of the offensive comments did amount to a failure to treat those who were the subject of such comments with respect’ contrary to the Code, and ...
Read 5 tweets

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