2011 Annual Human Rights Lecture in Wales

Wales Commissioner Ann Beynon has chaired the 2011 Annual Human Rights Lecture at the iconic Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.

Speaking to almost 80 guests, she described what role the Commission plays in modern society and how human rights arent new in Wales.

As early as 950, the Welsh ruler Hywel Dda or Hywel the Good championed compassion rather than punishment, the use of plenty of common sense and respect towards women. Ann also spoke about how human rights are for everyone.

The annual lecture guest speaker was Dame Anne Owers, the Chair of Clinks which supports voluntary sector organisations working with offenders and their families.

Prior to this role she was:

  • Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons
  • Director of Justice where she set up the Criminal Cases Review Commission
  • and General Secretary of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants.

Awarded the CBE in 2000 for her work in human rights, Anne Owers became a Dame in the Queens New Year Honours list 2008 in recognition of her services to the Criminal Justice System.

During the lecture Dame Owers spoke her life and work, and about how important human rights are in todays world, particularly regarding offender rehabilitation.

Statistics about the prison population show that:

  • 15% of prisoners report a disability
  • A quarter of newly-sentenced prisoners reported a long-standing physical disorder or disability
  • 20-30% of prisoners have learning difficulties
  • Three quarters of prisoners have at least one mental health condition
  • Over half of women in prison have experienced violence, and one in three have experienced sexual abuse
  • One in four women in prison have spent time in local authority care as a child.

Read more about Clinks.

Dame Anne Owers OBE biography

Dame Anne Owers OBEAnne became a Dame in the Queens New Year Honours list 2008 in recognition of her services to the Criminal Justice System. This recognition came in addition to a CBE awarded in 2000 for her work in a range of voluntary and public posts.
As the first ever woman to be appointed HMCIP, Anne revolutionised the Inspectorate with frank and candid reports which both celebrated improvements and critically assessed areas for improvements. Having such a distinguished career in both the voluntary and public sectors, Anne brings a huge wealth of experience, knowledge and credentials to her new post.

Annes commitment to reform and diversity is long and distinguished. While director of the law reform group Justice between 1992 and 2001, Dame Anne helped to secure the establishment of the Criminal Cases Review Commission to investigate possible miscarriages of justice.

Prior to 1992 Anne was general secretary of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, a member of the race and community relations committee of the Church of England, and a member of the race relations commission of the Diocese of Southwark.

Ms Owers was educated at Washington Grammar School in County Durham before going on to study history at Girton College, Cambridge. After graduation, she spent three years teaching in Zambia and conducting PhD research into African history.

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