Fordham Panel to Address Questions about Human Rights in Age of Fear, Violence and Scarce Resources 

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By: Michael Aprea       

Few realities have shaken the foundation of human rights and the inherent liberties viewed common to all as profoundly as fear. Human rights, the set of rights believed to be intrinsic to the human person, are the cornerstone of modern society. They are the very building blocks of our nation and of the free world.

On April 5th, the Fordham Center for Religion and Culture and the Fordham Center for Ethics Education will hold an interdisciplinary forum to address questions about the endurance of human rights in the wake of society’s struggle to maintain both justice and compassion in world torn by violence, injustice, hatred and limited resources. This symposium, titled “In Good Conscience: Human Rights in an age of Terrorism, Violence, and Limited Resources,” will feature distinguished speakers:

Ivan Šimonović: Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Consolee Nishimwe: Rwandan genocide survivor and author of Tested to the Limit: A Genocide Survivor’s Story of Pain, Resilience, and Hope.

Celia B. Fisher, PhD: Marie Ward Doty University Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychology, Director Center for Ethics Education, Fordham University

Matthew C. Waxman: Liviu Librescu Professor of Law; Faculty Chair, Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security, Columbia University

Andrea Bartoli, PhD: Dean of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University

The panel will address questions at the core of human rights. Historically, through an undertone of fear, rhetoric has been a call to see the other not as human with needs and rights common to self; rather fear has been manipulated to shape the other into a threat to one’s own needs and rights. It is as a result of such fear grounded rhetoric that atrocities such as genocide, cruel and unjust capital punishment of the innocent and mass starvation have resonated throughout history.

The tension between security, rights and humanitarian efforts to ensure the liberties and rights of all has grown significantly in the post-9/11 world and exponentially over the past five months in response to the terrorist attacks on Paris and Brussels. These threats force society to once again reevaluate its policies.

What price is society willing to pay for security? Is torture permissible to gain valuable information on the activities of terror groups? What do we owe migrants fleeing war torn counties, especially in cases where terrorist can infiltrate these groups and take advantage of benevolence? Should professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and psychologists, participate in activities that may violate human rights, such as torture and the death penalty? What are our responsibilities to victims of genocide, war, and starvation in a world of limited resources where our national debt is counted in trillions? How do we address perversions of faith and radical groups shaking the very foundations of culture and society?

April 5th, 2016, 6 – 8 p.m.

Costantino Room | 150 W. 62nd St. | Fordham Law School | New York City

Admission is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to

For more information on the April 5th conference, please visit


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