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Human rights begin at home

Posted on Sunday, January 27th, 2019

René Cassin statement on Holocaust Memorial Day – 27 January 2019

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday 27 January 2019, René Cassin Director, Mia Hasenson-Gross said:

On Holocaust Memorial Day, as we shelter from this wintry weather in the warmth and security of our homes, we remember those who do not share our good fortune. The day’s theme – ‘Torn from Home’ – prompts us to reflect on the plight of those who, driven out by persecution and genocide, are struggling to find the comfort and safety that we take for granted.

Sixty years ago Eleanor Roosevelt suggested that human rights begin “In small places, close to home”. Roosevelt worked with our namesake, Monsieur René Cassin, on crafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a response to the horrors of the Holocaust. Human rights are universal, global, she said, but we must work to uphold them close to home – in the streets where we live, work, shop and study.

For many of our neighbours the word ‘home’ rings hollow. For the trafficked woman enslaved in a forced marriage or domestic servitude. For the refugee held in one of our immigration detention centres. For Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families denied the most basic public provision.

In 2019, René Cassin will be shining a light on these small places. We will be working with the Jewish community to ensure that the peace of mind that human rights bring is enjoyed by each and every one.