Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti on difficult issues
HUMAN rights was the source of heavy-hitting debate when Shami Chakrabarti, director of campaign group Liberty, paid a visit to Cheltenham for a lively discussion with sixth formers.
Politically-minded pupils from Cheltenham Ladies' College and Balcarras School gave up their lunch hour to hear Ms Chakrabarti confront the hard issues, from abortion, extradition and free speech, to privacy and euthanasia.
Speaking out against human rights sceptics, she said: "They all actually love their own human rights, it's other people's they have a problem with."
Following the talk, Ms Chakrabarti said her visit was a welcome change from the wrangling of Westminster and Whitehall politics.
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"It's one of the best parts of my job, and it's refreshing and invigorating when you're feeling a bit rundown to meet a number of different young people from a range of different schools and areas," she said.
"Young people's opinions aren't as they're painted in some parts of the media – they're interested, engaged and thoughtful, and it gives you hope really."
For Lili Peterson, a 19-year-old Cheltenham Ladies' College boarder and Amnesty International member, the feeling was mutual.
"It put some of the issues more in perspective by having more of an insider's view into the issues we're campaigning about," she said.
Lucy Wordsworth, 16, from Balcarras, said: "It was good hearing about politics from an actual person rather than from a book."