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Welcome to Week 14 of Human Rights Meditations. Each week we’re looking at an Article in the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Learn more about the series here.This series is all about the time that you spend reflecting, and engaging in the discussion via comments below & twitter (hash tag #hrmlak).
This week we’re looking at Article 14 of the UDHR.
Article 14: (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Read over the article above a few times and let it sink in (this is a long one, so you may want to break it up as you reflect). As you reflect, consider the following:
· What's the first picture that came to your mind?
· How did you respond to what you read?
· Reflect how you feel about yourself in comparison to others.
· Reflect on how you perceive others in your world.
· Reflect on your understanding of global issues.
Write the article down and stick it somewhere where you know you'll see it throughout the week. This will prompt you to keep the thinking going! Alternatively, write down something that has stood out to you throughout this meditation.
Now, get talking! Let's talk openly about our thoughts on each article, what we're learning about ourselves and some of the actions we're taking to live more in line with the Declaration. Don't forget that as well as chatting via the comments below, you can get talking via twitter by including this tag: #hrmlak
I'll go first:
- I'm embarrassed at how the Australian government, media and community treats asylum seekers. It never ceases to shock me when I hear someone justify their attitude. The one that particularly grates me is the "well-they-clearly-had-enough-money-to-get-on-the-boat-so-they-had-enough-money-to-buy-a-plane-ticket" line. Just to clarify, having money does not make one immune to the impact of war. Having money does not guarantee safety. Having money does not cover the cost of fear. Families put all their assets and hopes into escaping the only world they know (often families will use all their resources to pay for their children to escape, in the hope that they will have a better life than their parents) because there is no other option. There is no magical plane ride or kind government official that will help them. If Australia went to war, or our government became truly corrupt, we would all be looking for exactly the same out.
- We often trivialize the experience of asylum seekers because we don't really understand what it is they are going through. We belittle their experience by calling "Bloodless coups" within our own government and misusing language through the media that once was reserved for the truly unimaginable. Because we use the same language for our own experience, which all-in-all really comes down to a little inconvenience here and there, we assume the experience of asylum seekers is in the same basket. It is not. A "coup" in Fiji, Pakistan, Guinea-Bissau and Honduras means something very different to what we know. Similarly, the experience of "jumping on a boat" and "buying" a spot for those in such countries is so far removed from our experience, we can find it hard to imagine. It's not a credit card transaction. Consider the language you use when talking about asylum seekers and I think you'll find yourself noticing an array of catch phrases as you watch the news.