Harriet Hoffler was a Cumberland Lodge Fellow from September 2016 to August 2018, while she was a PhD student at the University of Bristol. Her PhD research engaged with current approaches to the way that international human rights, and specifically rights to Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), are understood by individuals at the grassroots level. Using Pakistan as a case study, she is seeking a viable ‘bottom up’ legal alternative to rights protection.It looked at the language of rights, what this language should be able to respond to, and how it plays out in practice. She used her case-study as the basis for developing a preventative approach to human rights based loosely on the UN’s Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, from a FoRB perspective.

Harriet has an extensive background in international human rights research, consultancy, teaching and public speaking. She is currently Head of Research at the Commonwealth Initiative on the Freedom of Religion or Belief, where she applies her academic studies to practical scenarios, equipping parliamentarians to speak and act effectively on FoRB issues throughout the Commonwealth. She has previously worked overseas as a researcher on projects focusing on the application of international and regional human rights for minority protection in South Asia and Europe, and as a Research Fellow on the Human Rights Management Framework (HRMF) project that contributed to the Is Britain Fairer? review from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). 

Harriet has also worked as a Research Consultant for the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Humanitarian department at Oxfam GB. She has taught widely on international human rights law, at institutions in the UK and abroad, and she has numerous publications in this field. She has also spoken at events ranging from the recent Foreign and Commonwealth Office conference on FoRB to Brexit debates in Washington DC.   

In her spare time, Harriet can be found running marathons for charity, climbing mountains and snowboarding back down them again.

Cumberland Lodge Fellow, 2016-18