Unit 2Human Rights • 1 Introduction to Human Rights • 2 The Nature of Human Rights • 3 Human rights violations • 4 Refugees and Human Rights • 5 Indigenous peoples and Human rights • 6 Conclusions
1 Introduction to Human Rights • Identifying human rights issues • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights • ‘Negative’ rights • The European Convention • Categorizing the rights • Making connections between the rights • The Rights of the Child
Identifying human rights Think about some of the issues that are often seen in the news today… Armed conflict breaks out in the Middle East between Israel and her neighbours Smoking is banned in Ireland in all pubs and restaurants Children working in a clothing factory in India are paid less than $1 a day A patient in the UK is refused medical treatment because it is too expensive …and try to define what a human right is in a sentence. Christians are banned from having bibles or building churches in some countries A terrorist suspect is detained without any charges being brought A woman wins compensation after being subjected to sexual harassment and lack of promotion at work A woman and her children are deported from the UK because their asylum application failed What have these news stories got to do with human rights?
The Universal Declaration You probably already know the main human rights. See how many you can list. (The news stories on the previous page may help you to get started) The definitive list of human rights is to be found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. When you have made your own list, you can look up the official list on http://www.un.org/rights The Universal Declaration on Human Rights contains 3O articles. Within these articles you should be able to identify approximately 30 individual human rights. Over 300 different language versions are available. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (also UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/217, December 10 1948 at the Palais de Chaillot, Paris), outlining the organization's view on the human rights guaranteed to all people. It was referred to by Eleanor Roosevelt as "a Magna Carta for all mankind."
The ‘Negative’ Rights A number of the human rights can only be expressed in the negative, as the right to ‘freedom from’. For example, a key ‘negative’ right in the Universal Declaration is the right not to be subjected to slavery. Identify other negative rights. The right not to be subjected to torture The right not to be subjected to discrimination The right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest The right not to subjected to detention without charge
The European Constitution A measure of the influence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is that its proclamation in Paris in 1948 was closely followed by a declaration in Rome in 1950 from the members of the European Community, called the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Convention on Human Rights was incorporated into English law in 1998. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is simply a declaration. No nations actually sign up to it. It is not a treaty or a legal document. The European Convention on Human Rights is legally binding once it has been incorporated into a nation’s legal system or constitution. The first 14 articles of the convention contain a list of the main human rights. It is backed up by the European Court of Human Rights, an ultimate court of appeal for citizens of the European Union who feel that their human rights have been violated. You can find a copy of the European Convention at http://www.hrcr.org/docs/index.html Compare the European Convention with the Universal Declaration.
Organizing rights into categories physical religious personal cultural civil / political legal economic social
Organizing human rights: a suggestion physical Life Food (water) Clothing Shelter Medical care Security religious Religion Public practice of religion personal Privacy Conscience Rest, leisure and holidays Movement cultural Education civil / political Liberty Asylum Nationality Free speech Free assembly and association Vote Trade union economic Property Work Safety at work Equal pay Fair wage legal Legal protection Fair trial social Marriage Family
Making connections between the rights physical Life Food (water) Clothing Shelter Medical care Security religious Religion Public practice of religion personal Privacy Conscience Rest, leisure and holidays Movement cultural Education civil / political Liberty Asylum Nationality Free speech Free assembly and association Vote Trade union economic Property Work Safety at work Equal pay Fair wage legal Legal protection Fair trial social Marriage Family
The Rights of the Child On 20 November 1959, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published the ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child’. The rights of the child are promoted by a United Nations organization called UNICEF. UNICEF’s mission is to work for the protection of children’s rights throughout the world. The work of UNICEF is guided by the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention states that the Rights of the Child are founded on respect for the dignity and worth of each individual, regardless of race, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origins, wealth, birth, status or ability. The convention is a legally binding instrument of international law. To find out more, see http://www.unicef.org/crc Why do children need a separate statement of rights? Which rights are particularly relevant for children?
Personal response to human rights • Which of the human rights are the ones most relevant to you at this stage in your life? • Which rights are going to become more important to you over the next five years? • Living in the UK, can you envisage any of your human rights ever being threatened or violated? • Is there a set of rights which should come first, before all the others? • Is there one right which is more important than all the others? • Is there any one of the human rights that you would be prepared to relinquish or do without?
Pause for reflection • Jot down the first words that come into your head • Describe how the picture makes you feel On what are your attitudes based? http://www.cafod.org.uk/where_we_work/africa/liberia How can the concept of human rights help to analyse and respond to this image?
2 The Nature of Human Rights So we think we know our human rights. Do we know exactly what they are or where they come from? Human rights were not suddenly invented from nowhere in 1948. Human rights have a history. Research task: Carry out an internet search on the history of human rights. What key documents does the internet search direct you to?
The history of human rights 1 In researching the early history of thinking about human rights, you may come across the following… The Ten Commandments The Codex of Justinian The Laws of Solon The Cyrus Cylinder All these sources are from ancient and medieval times The Magna Carta The Qur’an The Laws of Manu The Code of Hammurabi The Analects of Confucius The Edicts of Akosha Why are these regarded as significant documents in the development of human rights? What do they have in common?
The history of human rights 2 Two key figures in the development of thinking about human rights are St.Augustine (354 – 430) and St.Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1275). St.Augustine and St.Thomas Aquinas are two of the most influential thinkers in the development of western civilisation. St.Augustine and St.Thomas Aquinas are both referred to as ‘Doctors of the Church’ because they made such a significant contribution to Roman Catholic theology and philosophy. St.Thomas Aquinas’ most famous and influential work is called the ‘Summa Theologica’. St.Thomas develops the Greek and Roman idea of ‘Natural Law’ and gives it a strong Christian theological framework. God has written a universal moral law into the human conscience. Human rights are part of being human. St.Augustine’s most famous and influential work is called ‘The City of God’. St.Augustine combines the Roman legal tradition of ‘natural rights’ and the importance of the rule of law, with the Christian tradition of love of neighbour and duty towards others. Respect for rights and duties flows from our love of God.
The history of human rights 3 A significant development in secular thinking about human rights took place in the 17th and 18th centuries: Jean-Jacques Rousseau The Social Contract 1762 Thomas Hobbes Leviathan 1660 American Declaration of Independence 1776 John Locke Two Treatises of Government 1680 1690 All these writings are associated with new political ideas in Britain, France and America French Declaration of the Rights of Man 1789 British Bill of Rights 1689 American Bill of Rights 1789 David Hume Essays Moral and Political 1741 Thomas Paine the Rights of Man 1791 -2 Edmund Burke A Vindication of Natural Society 1756 John Stuart Mill Essay on Liberty 1859 Why are these regarded as significant documents in the development of human rights? What do they have in common?
Human Rights in the Old Testament 1 The term ‘human rights’ is not part of the thinking of the Old Testament, but many people have seen the Genesis account of the creation as providing western civilisation with one of its first and greatest statements on human dignity and the value of human life. Read Genesis 1: 26 -28 What does this tell us about the God-given rights of human beings? If human beings are made in the image of God, why do they have special dignity? What aspects of God are reflected in human life? Read Genesis 3; 1-7 What dimensions of the human person are highlighted in this passage?
Human Rights in the Old Testament 2 We have seen that many ancient civilisations and cultures developed systems of rules or laws. One of the most influential sets of rules or laws in western civilisation has been the Ten Commandments. The Book of Exodus describes the encounter between Moses and God which takes place on Mount Sinai. Moses returns to his people with a gift from God, the ‘Decalogue’. Read Exodus 20: 7 -1 7 Turn the ten commandments into a list of human rights. Inspired by their belief in God’s love of his people, the great prophets of the Old Testament often spoke out against examples of injustice and oppression. Read Micah 3: 1-11 Read Amos 4:1 5:11-12 8: 4-6 What human rights issues were of concern to the Old Testament prophets Micah and Amos?
Jesus Christ and Human Rights 1 Jesus Christ did not teach about human rights. However, in his dealings with the people he met, Jesus could be giving a wonderful example of the values which must underpin human rights. Read Luke 7: 1-10 The Centurion’s Servant Read Luke 13: 10 – 17 The Crippled Woman Read Luke 19: 1-10 Zacchaeus What values does Jesus highlight which must underpin human rights?
Jesus Christ and Human Rights 2 The parables of Jesus Christ are some of the most influential stories ever told. We can think of them as teachings about human duties, as well as teachings about human rights and human dignity. Read Luke 16: 19 – 31 The Rich Man and Lazarus Read Luke 12: 13-34 The Rich Fool Read Luke 10: 30 37 The Good Samaritan What human duties is Jesus highlighting for us in these parables?
Catholic Teaching on Human Rights Official Catholic teaching on the social issues of the modern world really began with Pope Leo XIII, who published a document entitled Rerum Novarum in 1891. The purpose of Leo’s document was to insist that ordinary working people had the right to receive a just wage and to be allowed to join together to form trade unions. After the publication of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, official Catholic teaching was quick to endorse the spirit and the content of the document and to recommend to all people of good will throughout the world that they should support the principles of human rights and the work of the United Nations. In 1963 Pope John XXIII published an official church document called ‘Pacem in Terris’ or ‘Peace on Earth’. You can read Pacem in Terris on www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_xxiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_11041963_pacem_it.html
Catholic approaches to Human Rights Questions for discussion: Has the Catholic Church got something vital and distinctive to contribute to the concept of human rights, justice and peace? Should the Catholic Church be taking a leading role in speaking out on issues to do with human rights, justice and peace? Should individual Catholics be engaging in issues to do with human rights, justice and peace? Pope John Paul II provided some useful reflection on these issues in 1987 in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, (‘Social Concern’) chapter 41 http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_30121987_sollicitudo-rei-socialis_en.html
40 Topics discussed in Pacem in Terris Take one of these topics and write a brief summary of what it is saying about human rights How should a Christian respond in a practical way to what is being proposed here?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church on Human Rights The Catechism of the Catholic Church is an official summary of the Catholic faith. It contains Catholic teaching on a wide variety of topics, including the concept of human rights. In Catholic teaching, human rights are part of the dignity of the human person. Social justice will be achieved if we respect the dignity of the human person. The dignity of the human person and its connection with human rights is explained in the Catechism in paragraphs 1929 to 1938. You can read the Catechism on www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/ccc_toc.htm
The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church In 2004 the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace published the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. This book is divided into 12 chapters. The whole of Chapter Three is devoted to the topic of The Human Person and Human Rights. You can read a summary of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church on http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/social_justice/sj00187.html The Compendium discusses human rights under the topics of: Human beings made in the image of God The tragedy of sin and the reality of salvation Human nature and human dignity Freedom, equality and natural law The value of human rights The social nature of human beings Human rights and human duties On which of these areas would today’s culture find it easy to agree with Catholic Social Teaching on human rights? On which of these areas would today’s culture find it very difficult to agree with Catholic Social Teaching?
3 Human Rights Violations • The Second World War • Genocide since 1948 • Armed conflict since 1948 • Land mines since 1948 • Political oppression since 1948
Human Rights Violations:The Second World War One of the main reasons that the nations of the world decided it was time to draw up a list of human rights in 1948 was because of the trauma of the Second World War and during which so many human rights violations were carried out by the Nazi regime. Pause for a moment and try to list the atrocities carried out in the name of the Nazi regime Bombing of civilians Mass murder of gypsies Arrest without trial Murder of political opponents Murder of 6 million Jews Abuse of prisoners of war Murder of homosexuals Mass deportation Persecution of Christians and of Jehovah’s Witnesses Slave labour Arrest and execution without trial Torture during interrogation Involuntary euthanasia of the sick and elderly Cruel medical experimentation without consent Confiscation of property Mass murder of resistance fighters
Human Rights Violations:The Second World War and the Nuremberg Trials After the Second World War the victorious allies decided to set up war crimes trials in the form of an International Military Tribunal. This was held in the city of Nuremberg, which had been a very important place in the celebration of Nazism. At Nuremberg 22 high level Nazis were put on trial. This was the first time that human rights violations committed by those waging aggressive wars were prosecuted. The prosecutions included the planning of atrocities by high government officials. The Nazi leaders were tried according to the accepted principles of law. The Nuremberg trials effectively established that planning, preparing and initiating aggressive war constitutes an international crime. It also established that atrocities were not just the responsibility of the person actually committing them. They were the responsibility of the highest government officials who ordered or planned them. You can find out more about the Nuremberg war trials on http://www.unitedhumanrights.org/holo_nazi.htm To discuss: What exactly do we mean by a ‘crime against humanity’?
Human Rights Violations:The Second World War and Genocide • Since the Second World War there have been three major acts of genocide which have shocked the world: • The genocide in the South East Asia country of Cambodia, committed by the regime of Pol Pot. This took place between 1975 and 1979. It is believed that 2 million people died in this genocide. This genocide is portrayed in the film ‘The Killing Fields’, made in 1984 and directed by Roland Joffe. • The genocide committed in the former Yugoslavia, involving the people of Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia and Kosovo. A violent conflict involving ethnic and religious differences raged for three years, from 1992 to 1995, in which it is estimated over 200,000 people died. • The genocide in the African country of Rwanda, committed by the Hutu tribes and the Tutsi tribes, who turned on each other in April 1994. • This genocide is portrayed in the film ‘Hotel Rwanda’, (2004) directed by Terry George. • You can find out more about the genocides of the 20th century on • http://www.unitedhumanrights.org/Genocide/genocide_massacre.htm To discuss:Why was the international community not able to prevent these acts of genocide?
Human Rights Violations:Genocide and the Trial of Saddam Hussein During the 1980s there was a war between Iraq and Iran. In March 1988, during a major battle between Iraq and Iran, chemical weapons were used by the Iraqi government forces to kill a number of people in the Iraqi Kurdish town of Halabja. Estimates of casualties range from several hundred to 7,000 people. Almost all accounts of the incident regard Iraq as responsible for this gas attack. It is the largest-scale use of chemical weapons against civilians in modern times. Saddam Hussein’s regime was toppled in 2003 and Saddam Hussein was captured by American forces. The trial of Saddam Hussein began in October 2005. The trial of Saddam Hussein is an important landmark in the development of international criminal law. The transitional government of Iraq has incorporated genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity into the Iraqi national legal system. It also established a special court which has the task of investigating, prosecuting, and trying Saddam Hussein and other members of his regime for these international crimes and for certain other national crimes. You can find out more about the trial of Saddam Hussein on http://www.loc.gov/law/public/saddam/ To discuss:Is it possible for Saddam Hussein to receive a fair trial?
Human Rights Violations:Armed conflict since 1948 The First World War (1914-1918) was famously expected to be ‘the war to end all wars’. Only 20 years later the world was engulfed by another global conflict which raged for 6 years. The shock of the Second World War gave rise to a huge desire for world-wide justice and peace, seen in the creation of the United Nations Organization and the production of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, wars have continued to take their toll on humanity, always involving the death of innocent civilians and the large-scale abuse of human rights. Find out about the causes of one of these conflicts and report your findings back to the class. Korean War 1950 - 1953 Falklands War 1982 War in Vietnam 1946 - 1975 Bosnian War 1992 - 1995 Russia Afghanistan 1979 - 1988 Arab – Israel Conflict 1948 - present US Afghanistan 2001 - present Ethiopia - Eritrea 1974 - 1993 Democratic Republic of Congo 1998 - 2003 First Gulf War 1991 Angola Civil War 1975 - 2002 Nigeria Civil War 1967 - 1970 Chechen War 1994 - present Somalia Civil War 1977 - 2006 Second Gulf War 2003 - present Iraq – Iran War 1980 - 1988
Human Rights Violations:The Arab – Israeli Conflict One of the most protracted conflicts in modern history is the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbours. The modern history of Israel is very complicated. The creation of the modern state of Israel came about largely as a result of the terrible sufferings inflicted on the Jewish people during the Second World War. The State of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948 and Israel was admitted as a member of the United Nations on May 11, 1949. The creation of the state of Israel and the resulting violent conflicts over the years have resulted in the displacement of large numbers of the Palestinian people. There have been many attempts at peace settlements. The latest flare-up of violence took place in 2006, with armed conflict taking place between Hezbollah guerillas in Southern Lebanon and Israeli armed forces. For a pro-Palestinian analysis of the conflict, go to http://www.caabu.org For a pro-Israeli analysis of the conflict, go to http://www.zionism.netfirms.com/issues/AJC_Guide_To_The_Perplexed.html To discuss:What issues in Pacem in Terris does the Arab-Israeli conflict raise?
Human Rights Violations:The Arms Trade • It is difficult to talk about war, peace and human rights without referring to the arms trade. • $21 billion per year spent by governments on arms. • There are 639 million small arms in the world, or one for every ten people, produced by over 1,000 companies in at least 98 countries. 60% of small arms are in civilian hands. • 8 million more small arms are produced every year. • 16 billion units of ammunition are produced each year - more than two new bullets for every man, woman and child on the planet. • More than 500,000 people on average are killed with conventional arms every year: one person every minute. • In World War One, 14 per cent of total casualties were civilian. In World War Two this grew to 67 per cent. In some of today’s conflicts the figure is even higher. • There are 300,000 child soldiers involved in conflicts. • One third of countries spend more on the military than they do on health-care services. • An average of US$22 billion a year is spent on arms by countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East and Latin America. Half of this amount would enable every girl and boy in those regions to go to primary school. • In Africa, economic losses due to war are about $15 billion per year. • For more arms trade facts see • http://www.oxfam.org.uk/press/releases/controlarms_facts.htm To discuss: What responsibility do the rich countries bear for ‘third world’ conflicts?
Human Rights Violations:Landmines • Landmines… • one of the hidden and often forgotten consequences of war and armed conflict • are to be found in some of the poorest and least developed countries in the world • do not discriminate between who they injure or kill. They are triggered by a footfall • do not recognise a ceasefire, but continue to work long after the war or conflict has ceased • cause blindness, burns, wounds and loss of limbs. They are designed to injure, not kill • have caused hundreds of thousands of casualties around the world • kill livestock and wild animals and destroy the environment, polluting the soil and water supply • kill peacekeepers, aid workers and medical personnel • affect more than 80 countries worldwide and every region of the world • injure or kill approximately 20,000 people per year, including 8,000 children • are estimated at 50 million in the ground in the world today • cost $3 to make and $1000 to remove • prevent farming, economic growth and reconstruction • last forever and are still being cleared from the Second World War • For more information on landmines see http://www.icbl.org To discuss: Should we allow landmines to be produced, or should they be banned?
Human Rights Violations:Political Oppression The Universal Declaration of Human Rights envisages a society in which governments respect the human rights of their citizens and do everything they can to promote the welfare of all members of their society. This was the vision endorsed by Pope John XXIII in Pacem in Terris. There is a general consensus today that democracy is the form of government best suited to the protection and promotion of respect for citizens’ rights. What are the differences between a democracy and a tyranny or dictatorship? Can you name the dictators and tyrants of the 20th century? Can you name any countries in the world today where there is no democracy?
Human Rights Violations:Political Oppression and Torture One of the most distressing aspects of dictatorships and tyrannies is their tendency to use torture. Torture is one of the most widespread abuses of human rights in the world today. The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is an international human rights document, published by the United Nations and intended to prevent torture. There is a UN Committee Against Torture, which tries to work with the leaders of different countries. UNCAT came into force in June 1987 and 141 countries have subscribed to it. You can find out more about the issue of torture at http://www.omct.org Try to find out: What is the definition of torture? What forms does torture take? Which countries in the world today are associated with torture? What can be the long term effects of torture? Which organisations are working to prevent torture? To discuss: Has the United States been guilty of torture in its pursuit of the ‘war on terror’?
4 Refugees and Human Rights Think about some of these preliminary questions concerning refugees: Are you prejudiced against refugees? What would cause someone to become a refugee? Is a refugee the same thing as an ‘economic migrant’? Do you feel sorry for refugees? …and try to define the term refugee in a sentence. What is your typical mental image of a refugee? What words and phrases come to mind when you hear the term refugee? What rights have refugees got? Is a refugee the same thing as an asylum seeker? To discuss: ‘Britain has not got room for any more refugees’
Can you connect the issue of refugees with the teaching presented so far in this unit? Human rights The United Nations and the Universal Declaration Old Testament teaching The mission of Jesus Christ Human duties Catholic Social Teaching
Can you connect the issue of refugees with the teaching presented so far in this unit? Human rights A refugee has the same rights as everybody else, by virtue of the fact that the refugee is a human person. Human rights are not just for some people, but for everybody. The United Nations and the Universal Declaration The United Nations has the power and prestige to work with the issue of refugees and can use the Declaration to remind governments of human rights. Old Testament teaching The Ten Commandments taught us to love our neighbour as ourselves. The prophets of the Old Testament showed great concern for the poor and vulnerable of society. The mission of Jesus Christ Jesus Christ did not discriminate but treated all people with equal respect and compassion. He often reached out to vulnerable people, to strangers and to people who were not Jewish. He taught us to love our neighbours and even our enemies. Human duties We all have a duty to uphold the human rights of others. We should not just be concerned to fight for our own rights. We should be concerned when others have had their human rights taken away from them. Catholic Social Teaching In Pacem in Terris (103) John XXIII speaks with concern and compassion about the plight of refugees and displaced persons. He defends the right of asylum and even the right to economic migration.
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees On 28 July 1951 the United Nations Commission on Human Rights put forward a Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The Convention was officially adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 22 April 1954. The structure of the convention is as follows: Chapter I Articles 1 – 11 Definitions of refugees Chapter II Articles 11 – 16 Juridical Status Chapter III Articles 17 – 19 Employment Chapter IV Articles 20 – 24 Welfare To read the Convention, see http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/refugees.htm What are the three main issues or problems facing refugees?
Causes of refugees Think about some of the issues already discussed, and how these can be the cause of the refugee problem… child soldiers genocide torture landmines … and try to identify the single most significant cause of the refugee problem. war and armed conflict poverty and starvation political oppression and dictatorship environmental destruction What exactly is meant by ‘the right to political asylum’?
Where are the refugees from? Iraq Lebanon Palestinian territories Serbia Refugees do not just appear at random. In different years and different decades, refugees vary in terms of the countries from which they are fleeing. Can you guess which are the main groups of refugees at the moment? You can get help from http://www.refugeesinternational.org/section/where What does the list of countries tell us about the causes of refugees? Congo Burundi Bangladesh Angola Burma Afghanistan Somalia Eritrea Chechnya Ethiopia Sudan Rwanda
Working with refugees: CAFOD Making a difference: refugees in Serbia Lastavica was set up in 1996 on the outskirts of the Serbian capital, Belgrade, to improve the employment opportunities of women refugees, internally displaced people and local people on low incomes after the war in the former Yugoslavia. Its 500 members take part in income-generating projects such as knitting, weaving, chicken rearing and catering. The women also attend educational courses including computing, English and weaving workshops. A catering service run by Lastavica has been a huge success, providing food for conferences, meetings and celebrations. Radmila Servic, a Serbian refugee from Baranja in Croatia who has found work with Lastavica, said, “I read about Lastavica in the newspaper for refugees. I didn’t want to be lonely and alone, and I like being with people. Here at Lastavica I’m going to look after the chickens and I’m going to help with the baking and cooking.” Photography: Simon Rawles Radmila Servic is a Croatian living in a centre for women refugees, Serbia To find out more about CAFOD’s work with Serbian refugees go to http://www.cafod.org.uk/where_we_work/eastern_europe/serbia/refugees_in_serbia
Working with refugees: UNHCR Protecting the world's vulnerable peopleThere are 19.2 million uprooted people in the world today. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. In more than five decades, the agency has helped an estimated 50 million people restart their lives.The UNHCR uses the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention to stand up for the basic human rights of vulnerable persons and to make sure that refugees are not returned against their will to a country where they face persecution. To find out more about the work of UNHCR go to http://www.unhcr.org
Working with refugees: The Jesuit Refugee Service Jesuit Refugee Service is an international Catholic non-governmental organisation, which works in over 50 countries worldwide. Its aim is to serve and defend the rights of refugees and displaced people. In the UK the JRS provides support and legal aid for all asylum seekers from when they first arrive in the UK until their case has been resolved. JRS UK does not work on its own but links with other Church and secular organisations, voluntary and governmental, which also work with refugees. JRS gets inspiration for its work from Catholic Social Teaching on justice and the dignity of the human person. JRS was set up in 1980 by Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ, then General of the Society of Jesus, as a spiritual and practical response to the plight of refugees at that time. JRS makes it a priority to help displaced people whose needs are urgent and who are unattended by others, JRS offers a human and pastoral service to refugees and the communities who host them through a wide range of rehabilitation and relief activities. Its work includes pastoral care, education for children and adults, social services, counselling, and health care, all tailored to meet local needs according to available resources. Image taken from Jesuit Refugee Service web-site To find out more about the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service go to http://www.jrsuk.net
Working with refugees: Some more agencies for investigation Relief International See http://www.ri.org Human Rights Watch See http://www.hrw.org Amnesty International See http://www.amnesty.org Association of Jewish Refugees See http://www.ajr.org.uk The Refugee Study Centre See http://www.rsc.ox.ac.uk Refugees International See http://www.refugeesinternational.org
Some refugee facts • 78% of refugees come from ten countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Burma, Burundi, Congo, Eritrea, Iraq, Palestine, Somalia and Sudan. • 25% of all refugees worldwide are Palestinians. The plight of the Palestinians is the world’s most long-standing refugee problem. • 86% of refugees are from developing countries • 45% of refugees are in Asia • 30% of refugees are in Africa • 19% of refugees are in Europe • 5% of refugees are in the USA • 22% of refugees are internally displaced within their own country • There were 14.9 million refugees worldwide in 2001 • Source: Human Rights Watch http://www.hrw.org
Catholic statements on refugees From http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk/topics/refugees.htm What the Church says about... Refugees and asylum seekers Comments and statements from the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales 13 December 2004Statement on Migration from the Churches Refugee Network 26 November 2004The Dispossessed: Church issues guide on refugees and immigrants 09 November 2004Bishop O'Donoghue Welcomes Critical Detention Centre Report 04 June 2004Statement by Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue for Refugee Week (JUNE 14-20, 2004) 30 April 2004The European Common Good 16 December 2003Statement from Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue on the asylum and immigration bill 2003 10 June 2003Catholic Bishop speaks out against 'draconian deterrence measures against refugees' 1 May 2003Towards a fair, efficient and humane asylum system statement of the 2003 Low Week meeting of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales 30 January 2003Say 'no' to generalised attacks on asylum seekers, says Catholic bishop
5 Indigenous peoples and human rights Think about the term ‘indigenous’: ‘native’ ‘belonging naturally’ The plants or trees that belong naturally to that area eg ‘indigenous plants or trees’ …and try to define the term indigenous in a sentence. The animals that belong naturally to that area ‘indigenous species’ The people that belong naturally to that country or region ‘indigenous people’ To discuss: ‘Britain has not got any indigenous peoples’
Defining the term ‘indigenous’ • A people might be described as indigenous because • They have ‘always’ lived in a particular area and the area was then colonized or invaded or taken over by another group, probably a group of people more powerful or more technologically advanced than them. • They have ‘always’ lived in a particular area and in more modern times a nation-state or country has been artificially created with official boundaries which include their area and they have ended up living in a separate cultural group within the state or country or nation • They are so independent and isolated from the rest of the modern world that they do not really belong to a modern nation state or country and are not really subject to the normal workings of a government. • An indigenous people would have to have some sort of distinctive cultural identity which might manifest itself in their language and social customs. • We would expect them to refer to themselves or be aware of themselves as indigenous people and to be referred to or generally accepted by others as such.