The Importance of Speaking Out for Those Who Have no Voice

30 Jul, 2019 | Work Experience

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By Eliana Levy, July 2019


I first heard of René Cassin at a volunteering fair at my school, Hasmonean High School. They were talking about how I could volunteer with them and also about the work experience that they offer. As someone who feels very passionately about human rights, I saw this as a great opportunity that I could take. I would not only learn more about human rights, help a meaningful charity but also get experience is a workplace and learn useful skills.

The first morning is spent at René Cassin I was given a quick jam packed full talk about human rights, why it is important for us as Jews to care about them, what campaigns Rene Cassin particularly focuses on and what I would be doing to assist them. This was a great start to the week as it gave me a better understanding as to who René Cassin are. This talk came to prove useful in everything that I did in the following days. On Monday afternoon, I, along with the other work experience student, went to a big conference in the prestigious Guildhall. A place I wouldn’t not have had the opportunity to be able to go to had it not been for René Cassin. While I was there I had the chance to listen to The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, who is the Secretary of State for Education. The conference we attended was about “Fixing the Future” and how politicians and policymakers can support young adults better. It was an informative afternoon and I felt like I was really shown a new side of what occurs when domestic reform is trying to be implemented.

On Tuesday afternoon I went to a parliamentary debate all about the detention of Chinese women who had previously been trafficked and how the home office should change their policies. I found it a really eye opening afternoon and I not only learnt so much about the situation of these women, but I also felt more motivated to try and helping any way that I can. 507 Chinese woman were placed in detention centres in 2018 and out of these about half of them have experienced suicidal thoughts. A case study was carried out on fourteen of these women and all of them were in a detention centre for over a month and eleven out of the fourteen were there for over three months. The UK does not have a time limit on immigration detention so that an individual’s stay could either be weeks, months or even years. The women that were being discussed had been “rescued” from places and situations where they had been trafficked, only to be placed in immigration centres not knowing when they would be released. This has a large negative affect on their mental health.

It was amazing to see some a group of people who all feel very strongly, debate on behalf of these woman who have no voices of their own. I am now motivated to follow this movement and do what I can to help the situation of these women.

My work experience with René Cassin has shown me the importance of the promotion of universal human rights. It has also shown me that human rights can be directly linked to Judaism and we all have a responsibility to help out in any way we can.

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