1940s: Don’t betray the refugees

Human rights, at the heart of the post-war settlement, are in danger of being watered down

The World Today
2 minute READ

Don Flynn

Director, Migrants’ Rights Network

One of the most notable features of the world that emerged from the horrors of the Second World War was the interest that the global powers seemed to have in laying an ethical foundation to the way they expected things to be run during the final half of the 20th century.

The founding of the United Nations in 1945 gave impetus to the formulation of a raft of international conventions and agreements intended to give practical effect to the principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The noble words of its preamble indicated that those in power had agreed on the source of so many of the miseries of the preceding decades: the ‘disregard and contempt for human rights’ which had ‘resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind’.

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