"Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law . . ." (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948)
Quakers recognise the equal worth and unique nature of every person. Our work on human rights is rooted in the Quaker testimonies to Equality and Peace.
QPSW and QUNO work at all levels from the grassroots to the international to support the promotion and protection of human rights.
Quaker United Nations Office Geneva
Human Rights and Refugee work has been part of the work of the Quaker UN Office Geneva since its inception.
The current work by QUNO Geneva on human rights focuses on the issues of:
- Women in Prison and the Children of Imprisoned Mothers
- Conscientious Objectors
More detailed information including a complete list of all QUNO Geneva publications can be found on their website: http://www.quno.org/ [offsite link]
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its ruling in July 2011 in the case of Bayatyan v Armenia, the conscientious objection case in which Friends have been actively engaged. For the first time it ruled that conscientious objection to military service is protected under the European Convention of Human Rights (specifically the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion), a decision that is excellent news for Vahan Bahatyan, the Armenian Jehovah’s Witness who brought the case, and others like him. It also complements recent decisions in the UN human rights system, which has made similar pronouncements.
More information about the decision and the issue of conscientious objection is available on the QUNO website.
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)
The EAPPI recruits volunteers to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in their nonviolent actions and concerted advocacy efforts to end the occupation. One of the aims of the programme is to de-escalate, reduce or prevent threats, incidents of violence and human rights violations in areas of tension through nonviolent presence. These volunteers (Ecumenical Accompaniers) report incidents of human rights abuses or violence. QPSW implements the EAPPI on behalf of several churches and church-related organisations in Britain and Ireland.
More information on this work can be found on the Israel-Palestine web pages.
Through submissions to government on Bills such as the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill and by disseminating information about how asylum seekers and refugees are treated in the United Kingdom, QPSW helps to keep human rights legislation and its practice in the spotlight.
Promoting an inclusive society
Our concern for social inclusion flows from the long-standing concern for justice and equality in society.
Available from QPSW is Promoting an Inclusive Society: A Practical Toolkit for Friends