Amnesty International's Neve highlights Global Justice Week

Battling for human rights has been a lifelong commitment for Amnesty International's Alex Neve. The insight he's gained from being on the front lines of that battle will form the basis of the lecture he'll deliver to a University of Lethbridge audience during Global Justice Week, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

Neve will cap the week with his lecture, Economic Insecurity, National Insecurity: Don't Lose Sight of Human Rights. The University of Lethbridge Students' Union (ULSU), in collaboration with the Graduate Students' Association (GSA) and Lethbridge Public Interest Research Group (LPIRG), is hosting the three-day event. Neve's talk is Friday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m. in PE250.

"The purpose is to raise awareness of the fact that we live in an unjust world," says Alex Massé, ULSU VP Academic and organizer of the event. "It's so students living here, in the richest part of the world, don't take their position for granted."

Within the last year, economic uncertainty has been on the minds of many, from governments to average citizens. Neve, the Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada since 2000 and member of the organization since 1985, says that can't take away our focus from human rights.

"The message I want to convey is that we live in insecure times," Neve says. "We live in times of economic insecurity, especially in the last year."

Because of this, human rights often get pushed to the back burner in times of economic distress. Amnesty International is trying to put human rights back into the forefront.

Neve, who holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree, a Bachelor of Laws Degree and a Master of Law Degree in International Human Rights Law, believes that security of any sort should be grounded in human rights.

Amnesty International has long advocated for fair trials to ensure justice, the proper handling of prisoners in Afghanistan, as well as improvements to Immigration Security Certificates (a legal mechanism used by the Government of Canada to detain and deport non-citizens). According to Neve, there are currently five Security Certificate cases in Canada in which Amnesty International is involved in various ways.

On the economic front, Amnesty International launched the "Demand Dignity" campaign, which looks at human rights violations that lead to and deepen poverty. This is a worldwide campaign that was launched in May. Neve explains that we don't often look at human rights in terms of poverty.

Amnesty International also highlights the plight of Indigenous people in Canada, particularly with regard to women's issues and the role of the economy in deepening poverty.

While Neve's presentation highlights Global Justice Week, a variety of other events will be taking place, including a talk by Joshua Key, author of The Deserter's Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away From the War in Iraq.