December 10, the International Human Rights day, was one of its kind this year for most Jesuit institutions. A unanimous cry for justice and respect of the basic human rights of Fr. Stan Swamy S.J, the 83-years old Jesuit priest and human rights activist, who has been unfairly imprisoned by the National Investigation Agency in India since October 8, was on the top of the agenda for these institutions.
In addition to their Joint Statement requesting for the immediate release of Fr. Stan, these institutions carried out digital campaigns, and made peaceful protests in front of the Indian Embassy in UK and the Indian Embassy in the US . Also, joined by students and senior Jesuits, many actions were carried out in solidarity with Stan Swamy and human rights defenders in India.
The abuse of the rights of an 83 years old person depicts a sad and painful reality of our world; that 72 years since the ratification of the International Human Rights declarations, millions, even the old, are being deprived of their basic rights. For this reason, letters and contacts with Embassies and Ministries of Foreign Affairs in several countries were made with the aim of bringing to the lime light this intolerable reality. Many actions were also made at the European Union level. As a result, more than 20 Members of the European Parliament issued letter asking the Indian Government for the immediate release of Fr. Stan Swamy.
Adding their voices to these Jesuits institutions on this 72nd International Human Rights day, by making statements and calling for actions towards the complete respect of the rights of all peoples were the Aid to the Church in Need International and the religious organization Missio of Germany.
These actions are part of the movement in favour of Stan Swamy SJ which, under the banner #StandwithStan, is led from India by the Jesuit Conference of South Asia. It has undertaken multiple creative forms of protest in favour of Fr. Stan and human rights defenders to safeguard democracy, the rule of law, human rights and justice in India and worldwide. Because, as Martin Luther King stated: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”