Welcome speech by the President of MALSA, Gregory Marimuthu, at the Valentine’s with Human Rights Forum on 14 February 2009, Bar Council.
The obvious interdependence between peoples of different continents, the rapid growth of population and increasing contact between peoples and governments are the fundamental reasons for the promotion of Human Rights. Equality enhanced would naturally increase security for human dignity. This is the hope we share in the pursuit of happiness and to avoid suffering, regardless of race, religion, sex or political status.
Human Rights is universal, indivisible, and undeniable. As free human beings we can use our unique intelligence to try to understand ourselves and our world. But if we are prevented from using our creative potential, we are deprived of one of the basic characteristics of a human being. It is very often the most gifted, dedicated and creative members of our society who become victims of human rights abuses. Hence the necessity for the younger generation to be more sensitive towards these issues and to develop in intellectual awareness, individually, and of a society as a whole.
It certainly is necessary to understand that as we demand civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights – that of what we cherish in pursuit of life itself – we should also be aware of our responsibilities. A parallel concept must be genuinely rooted within us, of the urge to help those in need as much as we demand the peace and happiness for ourselves. A universal obligation embedded within mankind is the development of love and compassion for others. It is the only way for creating a better and a more peaceful world. Such would be the key solution towards eliminating marginalisation, oppression, immense poverty, and all other sorts of injustice that are inflicted upon the vulnerable.
Force used to infringe Human Rights would only backfire by the undying hope and faith in the deeper human nature needs – which is to breathe the precious air of liberty. This cannot be stopped or broken.
The human spirit has proven for generations through many revolutions and civil wars that liberty and freedom is worth more than life itself, through love.
However, some governments still consider the fundamental human rights of its citizens an internal matter of the state. They do not accept that the fate of peoples in any country is the legitimate concern of the entire human family and that the claim of sovereignty is not a licence to mistreat one’s citizens. It is not only our right as members of the global human family to protest when our brothers and sisters are being treated brutally, but it is also our duty to do whatever we can to help them.
The rapid pace of globalisation, economic distress, dwindling natural resources and environmental crisis that threaten the very foundation of our existence on this planet are wake up calls for many, especially the younger generation that would soon be the future leaders of our country.
Human rights, environmental protection and great social and economic equality, are all inter-related, and must be cherished with a greater sense of universal responsibility. Such a responsibility must be shouldered upon a shared belief and hope of unity, between all races, religion, ideology and history.
No one truly benefits from causing harm to another being. Whatever immediate advantage is gained at the expense of someone else is short-lived. In the long run causing others misery and infringing upon their peace and happiness creates anxiety, fear and suspicion for oneself.
In light of this, we need to stand united in our views and fashion our responsibilities towards standing united in defending the need for Human Rights in our country. It is important to create an awareness and to play a role in promoting the importance of protecting our rights.