BIHR’s Human Rights Tour 2012 kicked off in Cardiff with a bang.
Over 50 delegates from a diverse range of organisations and interests attended this free training and awareness event, (the youngest being a mere 2 months old!) leading to interesting discussions about the origins of human rights, how we can use them in everyday siutations and the current human rights debates.
Stephen Bowen, Director of BIHR, opened the day with an introduction to human rights, where they come from, and why they are important. He explained how society will be stronger if we are empowered to realise our own human rights and are able to defend those of others.
“Human rights are about the country we want to live in and the people we want to be” Stephen Bowen, Director of BIHR
Other sessions included:
- Mapping a timeline through history looking at significant events that have shaped the current rights landscape
- Examining the differences between absolute and non-absolute rights in the Human Rights Act
- Activities where delegates applied human rights to real life situations
- Looking at the current debates surrounding the Bill of Rights Commission.
Additional highlights of the day included Stephen Bowen being interviewed by students from Millbank Primary School in Cardiff. Georgia and Ellie, aged 8, came up with some wonderfully insightful questions including:
- Do you think the Paralympics will affect attitudes to people with disabilities and to them realising their rights?
"Yes, because when you speak to disabled people one of the biggest barriers they face are negative attitudes towards disability, and hopefully the Paralympics will go some way towards challenging this."
- If you could add or change a human right what would it be and why?
"The right to a healthy environment, because everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy the world around us."
Should everyone have human rights, even people in prison? Who should decide who has rights or not?
"The most important thing about human rights is that everyone has them, regardless of how you behave. When you put people in prison to punish them it does not mean you can take away their rights. It’s not the government or your parents that get to decide who has human rights and who doesn’t, you are born with them".
- If you had 3 magic wishes, one for the world, one for human rights and one for you as an individual what would they be?
"For the world: I would like to end poverty
For you as an individual: I’d like to always remain hopeful
For human rights: I would like everyone to know their rights so that they can achieve them."
An interesting debate also focused on the fact that in 2011 the Welsh Assembly passed the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure. This Measure places a duty on all Welsh Ministers to have due regard to the UNCRC in all their work. A similar duty will be introduced into the Scottish Parliament in 2012. These duties are an important step forward in making sure that children’s CRC rights are respected, protected and promoted in Wales and Scotland, and highlights some of the differences in the protection of our rights across the four nations.
All in all, we felt that Cardiff was an excellent start to our Human Rights Tour and we’d like to thank everyone for attending and making it such an interesting day.
“What an inspiring day. I can definitely apply the principles discussed in my everyday campaigning work” Louise Williams, Bristol Women’s Voice
Finally, we’d like to say a big thank you to Arcadia and Songololo Feet, two of our Human Rights in the Community project partners, for the beautiful bunting they made, we took it with us to Cardiff and it looked fabulous.
Cardiff attendees also made their own contribution to our human rights bunting, which is growing longer by the day!
If you are interested in attending a tour event near you, helping us build our bunting, and exploring human rights more closely please sign up here. If you are already attending a tour event and are a Twitter user, then please tweet using our event hashtag #16cities; the best ones will be featured on this blog!