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Uniting Church joins the national conversation about human rights

Uniting Church News

When Rosa Parks refused to give her seat to a white man on a bus in Alabama she was, by pointedly sitting down, standing up for human rights.  When British suffragettes campaigned for women to be given the vote they were campaigning for human rights.  When Germans hid Jews from the Nazis they risked their lives to protect human rights.  When Uniting Church members protested against the treatment of asylum seekers, they were supporting human rights.

Right now in Australia we have a valuable opportunity to join a national conversation about human rights.

The National Consultation established by the Government is being held to consider how well we protect human rights in Australia and how we might do it better.

Uniting Church members can participate in the Consultation by sending a written submission to the Consultation committee, attending a Consultation Community Roundtable or both.

UnitingJustice has developed a toolkit, available on the UnitingJustice website, to assist members in participating in the Consultation.  The kit provides information on how to get involved and about how human rights apply to our daily lives as individuals and as a society. It also includes information about the possible development of national human rights legislation and why the Uniting Church Assembly believes it to be an important way of better protecting human rights in Australia, especially for those who are most vulnerable in our society.

For those interested in exploring the relationship between religion and human rights in Australia, UnitingJustice and the Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre is hosting a conference in Sydney from 3-4 April.

Speakers will include Father Frank Brennan, Chair of the National Consultation Committee, Graeme Innes, the Australian Human Rights and Disability Discrimination Commissioner and Dr Clive Pearson, Principal of United Theological College.  Workshops will cover topics such as writing submissions, Islam and human rights, and rights for Indigenous Australians.

Details about the Human Rights Consultation and the Community Roundtables can be viewed at: www.humanrightsconsultation.gov.au.  

For information about the Uniting Church in Australia’s support for an Australian Human Rights Act and the UnitingJustice/PaCT conference, or to download the Consultation toolkit, go to: www.unitingjustice.org.au.  

Photo : Uniting Church News