One World Week 2008
HUMAN RIGHTS CELEBRATED
19th October 2008
The 30 articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights were declaimed by members of Amnesty International at an impressive Celebration of the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration, held at St Andrew’s Church on Sunday, 19th October. Nearly 100 people attended.
‘Growing Together’ was a One World Week event, hosted by Churches Together in Farnham in conjunction with St Andrew’s. The afternoon brought together groups from throughout the area who are actively campaigning for peace, justice and freedom from persecution and exploitation. The Mayor of Farnham, Cllr. Gillian Beel, was guest of honour, accompanied by her sister, Mrs Margaret Meaden.
An exhibition featured the work of a range of organisations involved in human rights issues, including:
- Catholic Association for Racial Justice
- Christian Solidarity Worldwide
- Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East
- Human Rights Watch
- Refugee Council
- Quakers for Peace
All Hallows School contributed art work on the theme.
At the Israeli Committee Against (Palestinian) House Demolitions display, Rob Thorburn had spent several months in Jerusalem working with Sabeel, a Christian Palestinian organisation that promotes non-violence and reconciliation in its search for a just peace for the people of Palestine and Israel. At the Amnesty International stand, artist Hester Whittle of the Farnham Group displayed her striking picture, ‘Fellow Man’. Many of her paintings have been inspired by her Amnesty work for prisoners of conscience across the world.
In welcome, the Rector, the Rev Andrew Tuck, spoke of the compelling need for mutual understanding amongst all peoples of all cultures and creeds. They were our brothers and sisters and we depended upon each other. The centrepiece of the afternoon was a programme of drama, including a presentation with audience participation by Holy Family Church Youth: “Let’s Celebrate Black Heroes” - a recitation by Clare Besley, and the reading of the 30 Articles of the Declaration by Patricia Dale and Hester Whittle.
Natalie Samarasinghe, of the United Nations Association of the UK spoke on ‘60 years of the Universal Declaration: human rights or divine aspirations’. She said it had been a remarkable achievement in 1948 to put together 30 Articles that were acceptable for adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration remained one of the pillars of the UN. It had been the basis from which later treaties had sprung and although never fully attained by any government, provided principles that were widely disseminated and proclaimed and were frequently put forward on behalf of victims in legal cases concerning abuse of human rights.
Jenny Floyer, Chair of Churches Together in Farnham, organised and presented the celebration, helped by the other members of the Steering Committee. A deeply thought-provoking afternoon ended on a happy note of fellowship during a bring and share tea.
Pictures from the displays and presentations at St Andrew's Church on Sunday 19th October.
The theme was Growing Together - A celebration of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
Photos © Benedict Parsons