This years RAR Conference was attended by Amnesty Tasmania’s Southern Group & North West Group.
The conference exceeded all expectations with inspirational speakers, including Gillian Triggs, Julian Burnside, The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Thomas Albrecht and many others.
A highlight of the conference was the presentation of the 2018 Tampa Award via live connection by phone, microphone with video link to Behrouz Boochani on Manus Island, with Nick McKim making the presentation, followed by 350 people singing ‘We Shall Overcome’ so he and others, could hear it on Manus. Southern Group member, Anne Moon will deliver the award to him in person on her next trip.
All Amnesty Delegates agreed that the ‘absolute best thing’ was being an integral part of the impromptu but determined initiation of the WODONGA DECLARATION (or CHARTER) of HUMAN RIGHTS. This introductory statement was passed unanimously from the floor of the conference:
‘There is an urgent need for an Australian Charter of Human Rights which recognises that all people are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
We call for The Parliament of Australia to meet, protect, and uphold our legal and moral obligations under International human rights conventions and human rights laws.’
This came from a throw-away line in Gillian Triggs’ keynote speech, that ‘we could perhaps even have the Wodonga Bill of Rights’ …and so we ran with it.
‘Australia has now joined the UN Human Rights Council in 2018. Engagement with the council may
help persuade Australia’s politicians that it is important to meet our international human rights
obligations’. Professor Gillian Triggs. (A good point to use when meeting with politicians.)