The awards ceremony was held on the 18th of June 2010. A slight drizzle failed to dampen the spirits of the excited graduating students. The diploma course in Human Rights jointly organized by St Joseph’s Evening College and South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM).
The program began with an invocation by the 2009-2010 graduating students, who melodiously sang ‘The Name of the Lord’. Mr. R. Manohar, Head of Programs- SICHREM, very graciously welcomed the special guests who were each presented with a bouquet of flowers by the students. Mr. Manohar went on to acknowledge the presence of Mr. Hassan Manzoor, a prominent human rights activist, and his wife. Finally, Mr Manohar read a letter by a Bangladeshi graduating student, Sidney, who was unfortunately unable to attend the function, thanking Mr Manohar for imparting his knowledge and experience on human rights as Sidney, now a teacher, was able to use in his own career.
Dr Christopher Hoskins, head of the Political Science Department, gave a brief but informative introduction about the course. He stressed the importance of human rights saying that they are universal rights and not a gift of any government therefore cannot be removed. He also stated that “India is a land of contrasts – aware & ignorant, rich & poor, harassed & harasser.”
Honorable Justice A.J Sadashiva (former judge of High Court, Karnataka) awarded the diplomas to each of the successful students, appreciating each of the 27 students with a firm handshake and a word of encouragement.
The lamp was lighted by all the special guests present and a new student in the 2010-2011 course.
Justice A.J Sadashiva then addressed the gathering, highlighting the importance of studying human rights as it is a increasingly complex situation not only around the world but also in India, due to the citizens and law enforcement agencies. He forcefully stated that “human rights are not to be subjected to the whims and fancies of any government”. There is no right without a duty; though there was no declaration of human rights prior to 1948 does not mean that that human rights did not exist. Human rights are natural rights acquired by all on account of birth. Justice A.J Sadashiva also stated that “people must be made aware of their rights and responsibilities , only then when performing our duties while enforcing our rights are we rendering a great service to society”. He mentioned that it was due to these reasons that such a diploma is “very material and relevant at a time like this.”
Mr. Matthews Philip, Director of SICHREM, gave the felicitation. He spoke about the need to inculcate the qualities of forgiveness and tolerance. He went on to narrate a very moving incident of an 18 year old who was shot and whose parents said that they would love the guilty man as much as they had loved their own son.
Prof Graclet Stanley, Principal S.T Joseph’s Evening College, said that “all legal rights are not moral rights, but moral rights cannot be based solely on legal rights. If every law was based on moral rights, then there would not be violations of human rights.
Rev Fr Sunith Prabhu S.J, Administrator S.T Joseph’s Evening College, said that the “day when everyone follows these rights, that day will be a heavenly day. We must work for the enlistment of these rights and work towards the protection of these rights and that everyone receives these rights. Hope that all students leave today imbued with this zeal for human rights.”
The grand function was brought to a close by a vote of thanks by Mr. Albert Joseph Smith, Lecturer department of Political Science.
The audience listen attentively to the message delivered
The students and speakers