”It looks like we’ve missed the boat’: lifelong gay activist dies waiting for permission to marry’ by Michael Koziol
I came across this article on my Facebook newsfeed shortly after our last IHRL class for the semester. It almost brought me to tears and, for me, really encapsulated the importance of human right law and human rights advocates.
In the midst of semester, buried in readings, and grappling with multiple academic theories and critiques, the fact that this all has a significant impact on people’s lives can sometimes be obscured. Real people suffer real consequences while human rights progresses. The article was a reminder that you can never forget that while practicing in this area. You need to be present and proximate.
A much more violent story which also concerns the human rights of LGBTQ people emerged recently. Two men in the Indonesian province of Aceh received 83 lashes each outside a mosque in the for the crime of gay sex.
These two stories illuminate the numerous ways in which a State’s legal system can infringe upon an individual’s human rights. While the two stories may appear to be totally different, they are both examples of State power being used to discriminate against individuals on the basis of their sexuality.
Societies like Australia cannot afford to become complacent about human rights simply because they perceive themselves to be more advanced or ‘better’ than societies where lashings and more violent forms of human rights abuses take place.