ILF Scotland

Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival 2023

Post Date: 18 December 2023

The 2023 Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival took place from Sunday 3 until Tuesday 12 December.

Based on the theme of ‘Interconnected & Protected by Human Rights’, the festival featured an array of entertaining, informative and challenging events.

This year’s programme included several events focused on the overlaps between war, conflict and human rights in Israel and Palestine. There was a live music fundraiser for the charity War Child produced by Belfast Met students to support children living in global conflict zones.

An event to celebrate International Day of Disabled People was hosted by Disability Action NI in partnership with Belfast City Council and held at Belfast City Hall.

Online events included a focus on The Living Wage Movement; a storytelling event entitled Dignity, Freedom & Justice For All, in which nine people shared a true story from their life; a panel discussion hosted by the British Ecological Society in Belfast on ‘Hope and Urgency: Navigating the Biodiversity & Climate Crisis’; and a different take on a traditional advent service in ‘The Christmas Interruption: Carols from the margins’.

Other key events included a lecture from Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin reflecting on her six and a half years as the UN Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights, and a talk by Dr Brian Caul MBE on the life and times of Francis Maginn, an influential pioneer for the Deaf community in Ireland.

The festival was dedicated to Maggie McBride, who passed away at the end of 2022. Maggie was a cornerstone of the festival since its creation and was the Administrator at the Human Rights Consortium for more than 16 years. A family friendly evening to celebrate her life was an important part of this year’s festival activities.


The Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival is an annual festival of events running each December that includes Human Rights Day on December 10.

The annual awareness day commemorates the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Festival is a project led by the Human Rights Consortium. It celebrates and protects human rights through events that seek to positively promote, challenge and engage the public in celebrating human rights and becoming active advocates for their protection.

Find out more

Visit the festival website at for the full programme of events.

The website also features an ‘on demand’ section with links to podcasts, videos, kids’ activities, and downloads of resources on the human rights themes explored at this year’s festival.

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