On Saturday 18th January, Jonathan Cooper died suddenly and, so sadly, well before his time. He was one of the human rights giants of our times. 

Jonathan fought tirelessly for many important causes. He spread respect for the rule of law — in particular under the ECHR — in several European countries and was awarded the OBE for his work in Turkey. We went to Albania together in the very early post-Hoxha days and we both retained a particular affection for it. He also used his legal skills and personal dedication to campaign across the world for the decriminalization of homosexuality, the legalisation of gay marriage, and most recently for justice and the rule of law in Belarus. 

He was a thoughtful, enthusiastic, and conscientious editor of the European Human Rights Law Review and used his infinite charm to press gang people into its — and his — service. There was no question of saying no… 

Jonathan joined us at the AIRE Centre in our very early days in Brixton and he remained a stalwart friend of the organisation for the next three decades. He also introduced the splendid Tamzin Brown to our team. 

The seriousness and importance of the causes that Jonathan espoused never dampened his natural conviviality or his wicked sense of humour. My enduring memory will be of him and Kevin, his partner of decades, arriving at my 50th birthday party bearing huge smiles, champagne, and armfuls of sunflowers. 

He will be very greatly missed. 

Nuala Mole
Senior Lawyer and Founder of the AIRE Centre

You can read more about Jonathan Cooper and his work here