European Lawyers Day 2015 was marked in Dublin by The Bar of Ireland and The Law Society in an event held in conjunction with Oxfam Ireland on Thursday 10th December. In honour of World Human Rights Day, legal professionals across Europe are this year focusing on the subject of ‘Freedom of Speech’. An event in the Law Library to mark European Lawyers Day, hosted by The Bar of Ireland, featured contributions and images from the ‘Make Them Visible’ campaign by Oxfam Ireland and the European Commission, which is aimed at raising awareness about the situation facing refugees and displaced people. Authors Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Professor Gerald Dawe delivered readings at the event – each of them inspired by a single image depicting people affected by displacement.
Paul McGarry SC of The Bar of Ireland said; “The right to freedom of opinion and expression is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. As legal professionals this is an issue of great importance to us as we consider ourselves to be guardians ofFreedom of Speech. We are delighted to team with the Law Society and Oxfam Ireland to mark this important day.”
Addressing the event, Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland, said; “The Make Them Visible exhibition reflects just a tiny number of those who are caught up in humanitarian crises. There are more than 59.5 million refugees and displaced people in our world today, the largest number since the Second World War.”
“Through the power of words, 15 Irish authors helped highlight the life of the people in the exhibition’s photos in a new and poignant way, speaking to our shared humanity while also highlighting the plight of those who have had to flee because of conflict and the daily terror and uncertainty it brings. The photos also offer hope for the future. European solidarity can be the difference between life and death – these refugees and displaced people are the living proof of how much humanitarian aid can impact their lives,” he said.