NI: Human rights group CAJ celebrates 35 years

Brian Gormally
Brian Gormally

The Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) celebrated its 35th birthday in 2016, “a busy year” for the human rights group.

Writing in the group’s annual report, director Brian Gormally said: “Unfortunately, 2016 has seen the cause of human rights suffer some heavy blows.

“The Brexit vote, irrespective of the motives of some of those who voted Leave, has been a victory in practice for racism and xenophobia.

“The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States has been a triumph for ‘post-fact’ populism and the most outrageous prejudices; if his inhuman and divisive ideology becomes embedded in the institutions of state we may have to confront the threat of fascism in the most powerful country in the world.

“This year too, the Mediterranean has become a killing ground for refugees from war and repression and horrors are being perpetrated on civilians in Syria and in many other countries throughout the world.”

He added: “In these circumstances, when we can see human rights being abused and violated throughout the world, it would be easy to dismiss the whole rights project as at best an irrelevance or at worst a distraction from “real” politics.

“In fact, we would argue that promoting human rights is essential, not as a matter of faith, but as a practical course of effective action.”

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