Human rights are more than an inconvenient truth
10 December was International Human Rights Day. It commemorated the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Click here for a statement from Bishop Vincent Long, Chair of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.
Fr Andy Hamilton sj reflects on this day in the following terms:
For any government, human rights can often be a nuisance. When people protest against breaches of human rights, they bring the actions of the government to scrutiny, try to prevent it from doing what it wants to do, make it rethink its plans and give it a bad reputation abroad.
So the Australian government, unfortunately, is not alone in refusing to endorse a charter of rights, attacking international bodies that criticise its rights record, and enacting laws to insulate its projects from legal challenge.Activists who protest against abuses of human rights are often criticised as unrealistic and legalistic. Critics accuse them of inventing rights at a drop of a hat to suit their case.
They also point out that many states that offer the strongest legislative protection of human rights often respect them least in practice. Read more in Eureka Street article by Fr Andy Hamilton sj