Words are powerful, how we speak to each other matters: AHRC on Human Rights Day
The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has used the occasion of Human Rights Day (9 December) to reflect on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and encourage all Australians, including those who work with and care for young children, to be mindful of how they speak to one another “because how we talk to each other matters.”
AHRC President Rosalind Croucher made an impassioned announcement which has direct links with the principles and practices of the approved learning frameworks for both early childhood and school aged care, asking Australians to reflect on their choices, and recognise who is advantaged, who is disadvantaged, and why.
“How we talk to each other matters,” Ms Croucher said. “It matters because words are powerful. Words shape our thinking and they inform our actions. Words are the foundation stone upon which we build our communities. And our goal should be to build fair, just and inclusive communities.”
Touching on the capacity of those in positions of power to effect change with their word choices, Ms Croucher said it was vital for all Australians to “guard against the rising tide of hate speech,” warning that if discrimination goes unchecked, the consequences can be dire.
Human Rights Day offered a time for reflection and hope, she said, outlining the vision shared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and its vision for communities based on equality, respect and dignity for all.
“Despite conflict and turmoil, that vision continues to inspire people around the world and across our region,” Ms Croucher noted, saying that each individual plays a part in creating “the kind of Australia that we want to live in”.
“We start by choosing how we talk to each other. We can choose respect. We can choose generosity. We can choose dignity. We can choose hope. Each choice we make brings us closer to realising the ideals at the heart of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
To see the speech in full, please view the video shared above, or visit the website.