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Activating Human Rights

Wednesday 10 December is International Human Rights Day and is the sixty years¹ anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This Declaration came about in the aftermath of World War Two and was envisioned by those determined to ensure that nothing like Nazi Germany would ever happen again. Australia¹s Doc Evatt was one of those pioneers.

Sixty years later we have much to celebrate and also to take the opportunity to reflect on how far we have yet to travel. 

Redfern Legal Centre has produced human rights fortune cookies to distribute in the local community, a series of posters for display in community venues, and has been talking to people, promoting awareness of human rights. Unlike the US, Canada, and even New Zealand, there is no guarantee of human rights in Australia. The national government is soon to commence public consultation on a charter of human rights. Yet few people are aware of what rights we can and can not rely on. 

In this time of heightened concern about terrorism many of the rights we thought we had are being eroded. Rights to procedural fairness when dealing with police and other government agencies are being undermined and people exercising their rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly can be constrained, removed, arrested and charged, with an increasing array of Œspecial¹ offences that attach to particular events or places. 

To help activists to exercise their rights and to avoid unnecessary problems with police, Redfern Legal Centre has produced the Activist Rights Manual, an online guide to the art of peaceful protest, written by Dale Mills and funded by the Law and Justice Foundation. The guide will be launched on Wednesday 10 December at the Alexandria Hotel at 6.30 pm, by famous activist, Meredith Burgmann. 

Helen Campbell,

Executive Officer

Redfern Legal Centre

73 Pitt St Redfern NSW 2016

Ph: 02 9698 7277 Fax: 02 9310 3586