Book Discussion: Criminal Punishment and Human Rights; Convenient Morality


To commence a series of events showcasing research output of our faculty, SAHSOL organised a discussion on Professor Adnan Sattar’s book Criminal Punishment and Human Rights Convenient Morality, published by Routledge in 2019. The event was held at SAHSOL on Monday, 26 September 2022. It brought together students, staff, and faculty from within school and other schools at LUMS. Saroop Ijaz, who is a senior council with Human Rights Watch as well as a LUMS alumnus and adjunct faculty at SAHSOL moderated the session. Dean Dr. Sadaf Aziz welcomed the participants and introduced the objectives of the series and upcoming events.

Professor Sattar explained the conceptual and methodological background and the concerns animating the book. He suggested that the book would be best approached as a friendly constructivist critique of human rights in relation to the idea of punishment. Responding to the moderator’s question about the trajectory of human rights movement, Professor Sattar reflected on the theoretical and historical strands which accounted for the growing salience of retributive justice within the global human rights discourse. The discussion stressed the need for reimagining human rights scholarship and practice in a way that is more sensitive to the negative consequences of expanding the state’s punitive power. The Q&A with the audience covered a range of other interesting issues such as the connections between criminal justice and social justice, the idea of corporate criminal responsibility, and the shifting strategies and fortunes of women’s rights movement in Pakistan.