Sunday, 11 March 2012
The Soroptimists of Harrogate invited Baroness Caroline Cox to speak at Wesley Chapel, Harrogate to mark International Women's Day on Thursday. She spoke about 'Challenges to Human Rights in Today's World' and told us many stories of peoples suffering oppression in Burma, Nagorno Karabbakh, Sudan, Northern Uganda, Nigeria and the UK. Through her organisation, the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), she is in frequent cotnact with people working in partnership to create justice, hope and better conditions for themselves and their own peoples. Her message - 'You cannot do everything, but you cannot do nothing'. HART subscribes to the International Red Cross Code of Conduct which states that the humanitarian impulse comes first, regardless of race or creed. Many of the communities it reaches are off the radar screen of even the international aid organisations and virtually cut off from communication with the wider world. Much of the work of the organisation is to do with advocacy. Perhaps we think of such situations as being something that happens in far away places? It was sobering to hear of people trapped in situations dominated by violence in our own country.
Amnesty International also work in the area of advocacy and they meet each second Tuesday of the month at the Friends' Meeting House, Queen Parade, Harrogate. They also hold regular 'Human Writes' - drop-in letter signing sessions - at St Peter's Church Harroagte and at Gracious Street Methodist Church, Knaresborough. You'd need to check their website for exact dates and times.