Human Rights – How Do We Draw the Line?

4th January 2019

At the League of Jewish Women’s Human Rights Day seminar held on Wednesday, 12thDecember at ORT House, League members were shocked to hear Lee Wax, of Jewish Women’s Aid say, that “Virtually every girl has been sexually harassed in some way”.

The seminar was entitled “Human Rights – How do we Draw the line?”

Lee referred to the Landmark victory, when two female victims of rape by John Worboys, successfully sued the Metropolitan Police for breaching their Human Rights over their failure to catch Worboys earlier. They also used judicial tools to stop Worboys being released by the Parole Board.  Lee said that “This ruling was huge in terms of precedent and basic human rights. So often, when women seek justice, it is a very different story.  Our institutions are not reliably safe places to get justice for women, and few cases get to the courts.”

Mia Hasenson-Gross, Director of the René Cassin Organisation, which works to make the Jewish case for Human Rights, talked about the history behind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is this year celebrating its 70thAnniversary. “This is a year for celebrating and remembering global consensus,” she said and explained before the Declaration “There were no Internationally recognised Human Rights standards.”   She referred to the Declaration as the Mother of all Human Rights Laws but said that the first Human Rights document was The Magna Carter which restrained Sovereign powers.

Lee and Mia both stressed the importance of Women’s Human Rights speaking about cases of physical, sexual and psychological violence.   Lee said today’s modern women also had to contend with economic, spiritual and cyber abuse, and both agreed that for some women the most dangerous place for them was in their home.

The meeting was chaired by Yvonne Brent, the UK Vice President of ICJW, and the vote of thanks was given by Dawn Freedman. The League of Jewish Women is the UK Affiliate of The International Council of Jewish Women.

Left to right: Yvonne Josse National President , Yvonne Brent UK Vice President of ICJW , Lee Wax Jewish Women’s Aid,
Penelope Conway International President ICJW, Mia Hasenson-Gross, CEO René Cassin Organisation