What We Must Learn From WWII: Speech by Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

During the screening of Hard To Believe at NSW Parliament on Oct. 28, 2015, an inspiring speech was made by Nathan Kennedy, the president of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR), which was a sponsor of the event. 

 

~ The Speech Begins ~

"Good evening. 

This month we celebrate 70 years of the United Nations. An organisation that has as a central purpose promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms. It arose from the ashes of war. A war fought in part to stop the torture and murder of people based on disability, mental health, their race, their sexuality and their beliefs. Millions died. It is an understatement to say it was hard to believe. The world said ‘never again’. 

The world said ‘never again’.
— Nathan Kennedy, President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

Not long after its formation, the United Nations would proclaim the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This would become the central document on which the world would base its understanding of human rights after WWII. It guarantees freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of opinion and expression and freedom from torture. The very rights that now, 70 years later are being denied the Falun Gong. 

It’s hard to believe that in the 21st Century, 70 years after it was thought the world had learned its lesson, a nation which voluntarily became a party to the Charter of the United Nations would not only imprison people for their beliefs but would harvest organs from them. 

It’s hard to believe that in the 21st Century, 70 years after it was thought the world had learned its lesson, a nation which voluntarily became a party to the Charter of the United Nations would not only imprison people for their beliefs but would harvest organs from them.
— Nathan Kennedy, President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

Seventy years on the world has changed. China is touted as the next Super Power. We need to decide the type of world we want for the next 70 years and beyond. Australian Lawyers for Human Rights firmly believes that it should be a world where respect for international human rights law is not something just preached but something practised. In part that means doing what is being done here tonight. Exposing those things that are hard to believe and painful to watch but which through awareness can be stopped." 

~ The End ~

Further read: Thought-provoking Speech Given at the Screening of Hard To Believe in Sydney

Further read: "There Is Complicity In Our Silence", Speech by DAFOH Representative, Maria Fiatarone Singh