The absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is under considerable pressure. This talk will explore how the prohibition is understood, questioned, and flouted, and trace continuities between torture and other dimensions of our securitised and unequal societies. Distilling key challenges for the prohibition, including those often overshadowed by the ubiquitous ‘ticking bomb’ scenario and other prominent areas of concern, it will consider how those committed to the prohibition can meaningfully respond to them.

About the Speaker

Dr Natasa Mavronicola is Senior Lecturer in Law at Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham.  Prior to joining Birmingham Law School, she was a Lecturer in Law at Queen’s University Belfast (2013-16). Since 2017, she serves as Advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Professor Nils Melzer. She has conducted research for the Council of Europe and the Irish legislature and has published work in journals such as the Human Rights Law Review and the Modern Law Review. Her work on the prohibition of torture includes the recent article ‘Is the Prohibition Against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment Absolute in International Human Rights Law? A Reply to Steven Greer’ (2017) 17 Human Rights Law Review 479.

She completed her PhD in Law at the University of Cambridge, the BCL at the University of Oxford, and the LLB (Hons) at University College London. Her main research focus is human rights law.


The PIL Discussion Group hosts a weekly speaker event and light lunch and is a key focal point for PIL@Oxford. Topics involve contemporary and challenging issues in international law. Speakers include distinguished international law practitioners, academics, and legal advisers from around the world.
The group typically meets each Thursday during Oxford terms in The Old Library, All Souls College, with lunch commencing at 12:30. The speaker will commence at 12:45 and speak for about forty minutes, allowing about twenty five minutes for questions and discussion. The meeting should conclude before 2:00. Practitioners, academics and students from within and outside the University of Oxford are all welcome. No RSVP is necessary. Join the PIL Email List to receive information about the PIL Discussion Group meetings, as well as other PIL@Oxford news.
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Convenors of the Oxford Public International Law Discussion Group are Sachintha Dias Mudalige and Eirini Fasia.
The discussion group's meetings are part of the programme of the British Branch of the International Law Association and are supported by the Law Faculty and Oxford University Press.