Declaring our Human Rights

On the 6th of December the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Initiative (ESCRI) joined forces with the Community Platform to celebrate 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was the ESCRI’s last event and last planned meeting as a lack of funding has forced the group to come to the decision to disband.

The morning was opened with welcoming remarks from ESC Rights Initiative Chair Aiden Lloyd who highlighted the gap in recognising and promoting economic, social and cultural rights in Ireland. Celebrated, long-term human rights activist Anastasia Crickley facilitated proceedings, sharing her extensive knowledge and expertise in the human rights arena between the speakers she introduced.

Members from several organisations presented various articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and spoke of their own experiences and interpretation of them in Ireland of 2018 with relevance to their own situations.

Speakers included representatives from Independent Living Movement, All Together in Dignity, European Anti-Poverty Network, Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed, Pavee Point, National Adult Literacy Agency and the National Women’s Council of Ireland. In discussing the various articles, issues such as equality, dignity, social security, work and education were raised on more than one occasion.

Some highlights included a spoken word performance from the Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed and a personal testimony of surviving Ireland’s education system from Amy, with the National Women’s Council of Ireland. All testimonies led to the conclusion that while Ireland has a strong record for promoting human rights globally, there is more that could be done on national and local levels to ensure that everyone benefits from the universal value and upholding of each of the 30 Articles set out on the Universal Declaration of Human Right, adopted by the United Nations in Paris in 1948.

The morning was broken up with musical interludes in which Cathal and Áine led attendees in rousing versions of songs such as This Land and Imagine. Attendees were also invited to contribute to the event by writing a human rights inspired messages on colored paper feathers which they could then stick to the Freedom Bird, a large cardboard cut-out of the ESCRI logo.

The morning closed with a reminder from Anastasia Crickley that while the ESCRI may be disbanding, it obliges each one of us to reflect on our responsibilities and roles as defenders of human rights going forth.