By Georgina Pickers
NCWQ International Relations, Human Rights & Peace Adviser
2018 marked the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The significance of the values of the H.R. Conventions can never be estimated or taken for granted. The freedoms we enjoy, the simple pleasures in life, the people we interact with and even our standard of living have a foundation thanks to these conventions.
In celebration of the 70th anniversary I was privileged to attend on behalf of the NCWQ, the HR70 Sustainability Development Goals 2018 Heroes presentation held at the Qld. Library Brisbane. The event was convened by the UNAAQ and NCWQ Habitat Convenor and UNAAQ Chairperson Dr Donnell Davis. She and her committee must be congratulated on this initiative and the presentation programme they arranged.
The musical entertainment with a message by the Dames and Daredevils for Democracy – History, told us about the lives of Queensland suffragettes and early feminists, Emma Miller and Margaret Ogg. It was just fabulous, reminding us of the power of women, even from different backgrounds and politics, and what they can achieve in the interest of a common cause.
The 5 heroes of the SDG goals were Dr Mary Graham (People), Dr Michelle Maloney (Planet), Dr Chris McGrath (Prosperity) Viktoria Henry (Peace) and Partnerships QCA (Devitt Kennedy). Their profiles and achievements may be viewed on the UNAAQ website.
There are 30 Articles including a fundamental SDG6 ‘Right to access to safe water and sanitation. The Articles touch every aspect of our lives. They represent vital ‘touchstones’ for all levels of government and for us as individuals and organisations to advocate and promote. All the SDG heroes demonstrated this ethos admirably.
On Human Rights and asylum matters, it is apparent that media attention and social networking is highlighting more and more the plight of individuals who run foul of authoritarian governments or rebel against cultural dictates. Those held as political pawns or Saudi women who wish to claim asylum or a soccer player detained by a third country because of an Interpol alert. There may well be countless more who never receive any publicity. What is regretful, is that bureaucracy and politics further stifles or simply overlooks the the Human Rights of these individuals, whatever their claims may be.
Australia’s renewed energy and interest in our near neighbours particularly in the South West Pacific region is notable and essential in balancing geo-political influences as well as enhancing good International Relations & Peace.