It’s not all gloom and doom – newsletter 22 December 2016

22 Dec, 2016 | Latest, News, Newsletters

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Dear Supporter

How will history judge 2016? Momentus? Unsettling? The end of an era?

Since their genesis in the atrocities of the Second World War, human rights have increasingly been acknowledged as an essential ingredient of a modern, civilised society. But is all that about to change? Human rights are, by definition, universal – open to all, regardless of gender, race, creed … or any of the distinctions that make each of us unique. Can they survive in the new mood of narrow nationalism that seems to threaten domestic and international politics?

At René Cassin we say ‘Yes, they can!’. There are many reasons to be cautiously optimistic – and many ways you can help us keep the flame of human rights alight.

Earlier this month, René Cassin’s Human Rights Shabbat campaign attracted:

  • a record response from synagogues, including one in Barcelona
  • praise from Kevin Hyland, the UK’s Anti-Slavery Commissioner: “I am pleased to see faith groups taking admirable action against this gross injustice. Rene Cassin is in a unique position to bring change where change is needed most”
  • the attention of the Jewish News

You can download our comprehensive resource pack on modern slavery here

And enter our ‘Human Writes’ essay competition on Modern Slavery

  • Our Asylum Workshops, run in November with the NGO Right to Remain were our way of saying ‘It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness’. Two of our delegates tweeted:
    • Thanks for excellent workshop on hostile & madly complex asylum process…how does anyone have a chance?
    • Thank you for a hugely informative (and heartbreaking) workshop. Feeling motivated!
  • And great news at the end of November – when the Government reversed its 500% hike in fees for Immigration Tribunals. René Cassin was active in the campaign against this punitive increase which denied asylum-seekers access to justice.

  • What does Brexit mean for human rights? With the issue set to dominate UK politics in 2017, we’re delighted that Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer has accepted our invitation to discuss this and other issues – at JW3 on 11 May 2017. We’ll circulate booking details as soon as they’re finalised
  • Board of Deputies support for human rights – the board published its manifesto on 7 December. It’s good to see it support the Human Rights Act, condemn modern slavery and human trafficking, and call for urgent action on anti-Roma discrimination

  • Are you a graduate in human rights, law or related subjects with strong writing and research skills? We urgently need an intern to help our campaigning and educational work – more details here
  • We are looking for volunteers to get involved in our Campaign Groups on:
    • Indefinite detention of asylum seekers
    • Discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities
    • Modern Day Slavery
    • Repeal of the Human Rights ActInterested? Please email
  • Hummus & Human Rights – the first session in this series of events (‘Politics and Human Rights’, with Professor Francesca Klug OBE), was a great success. We’re planning a further five sessions in 2017. The series is open to all alumni and ‘Friends of René Cassin’. You can find out more about becoming a Friend here.

On being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968, our namesake Monsieur René Cassin famously said “I would be happier if there were a little more justice in the world”.

Here at René Cassin we are committed to keeping his legacy alive. But we need your help. We rely on the generosity of our supporters for the funds to continue our vital work. You can make a one-off or regular donation to René Cassin via our website at

As always, if you have any comments or questions about René Cassin and our work, I would love to hear from you – please email me at

Hanukkah Sameach and Happy Christmas to all. And together let’s make 2017 a human rights year to remember.

MHG signtaure
Mia Hasenson-Gross

René Cassin is a registered charity, number 1117472

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