Talking to Myself Memoirs of a Human Rights Activist
Human rights are not the gift of governments. They are our birthright. They are the bedrock of a democracy based on the rule of law and our common humanity and dignity.
Anthony Lester has lived many lives, though he will chiefly be remembered as one of Britain’s most powerful champions of human rights, whether at the Bar, where he practised for more than fifty years; in government, where, as special advisor to Home Secretary Roy Jenkins, he developed the policy behind the crucial Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Race Relations Act 1976; or as a Liberal Democrat peer in the House of Lords, where he openly combated abuses of public power.
Whether representing British Asian refugees from East Africa fleeing tyranny, acting for a victim of motor neurone disease who wished to die with dignity without exposing her doctor to prosecution, or advocating freedom of speech and freedom of the press as fundamental constitutional rights, Lester has long been one of the most effective and admired of those campaigning for racial and sexual equality, and is a renowned supporter of human rights and freedoms across the board.
This remarkable book traces the life of Anthony Lester to map the history of human rights in this country over the last half-century.
“An informative, provocative and deeply personal account of a distinguished life in law and politics.”Lord Pannick QC
“A brave trailblazer for human rights.”Sir Harold Evans, former editor of the Sunday Times
“In his eloquent memoir, Anthony Lester weaves the story of the expansion of human rights at home and abroad, drawing on his own involvement in many of the legal breakthrough moments. We too often forget how human rights have been strengthened around the globe, even as our democratic societies face renewed assaults on the rule of law. This rich history by a great human rights lawyer is a reminder that ‘hope dies last…’, and that we cannot give up hope.Margaret H. Marshall, former Chief Justice, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts