Maastricht Centre for Human Rights

Conference on the Human Rights of Future Generations

On 18 & 19 November, Loevestein castle, in collaboration with Maastricht University’s Centre for Human Right and the Lab Toekomstige Generaties (Lab Future Generations), will organise a conference on the human rights of future generations. 

This symposium is part of the Hugo de Groot (Grotius) year, in which Grotius' work is commemorated 400 years after his escape from Loevestein Castle in 1621. During the symposium, international speakers will discuss the question how our legacy will be judged in 400 years from now, in 2421?

A very contemporary idea in this respect is Grotius’ personal motto which may inspire us: Ruit hora, which means: Time is running away! How can we use the present time to the best of our abilities to preserve human life in the future? Important questions that need to be addressed today are: How do we protect, safeguard and restore the commons and natural resources for our future generations if we are not able to use and share these equally and responsibly today? If we can’t, and probably don’t want, to make the people of the past accountable, how can we take responsibility today?

The symposium is a starting point in filling this gap. During the symposium the above questions will be addressed. Maastricht University has taken the initiative to draft a legal expert opinion (the Maastricht Principles) which explains the human rights of future generations so that they powerfully address the severe risks that have been imposed on future people. The idea of a set of Principles will be explained and run as a red thread throughout the symposium. Many influential speakers from home and abroad already agreed to participate. More details on the program will follow soon.

The symposium takes place on November 18th in the afternoon, and November 19th during the day. The symposium will be held at Loevestein Castle, in Poederoijen, the Netherlands. Given the Covid-19 restrictions, we probably can allow only a limited number of visitors to the castle ground. To ensure that as many people as possible can participate, the symposium is also accessible online (for free).

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