Piccini, Jon: Amnesty International and conscientious objection in Australia’s Vietnam War

Jon Piccini

Amnesty International and conscientious objection in Australia’s Vietnam War‘, JHI Blog, 13 June 2017

This small case study provides insights into how the idea of human rights has been contested over time. Australia’s two Amnesty Sections – not amalgamated until the late 1970s – developed polar opposite views around the veracity of law breakers as beneficiaries of Amnesty’s human rights activism. This arguably came down to a fundamental opposition in how both groups conceptualised human rights – as global and inhering in the person, as such not requiring compliance with laws of the Nation State – or as the product and result of citizenship, which gave rights and imposed duties onto a subject.

JHI Blog is run by the Journal of the History of Ideas. Jon Piccini is at the University of Queensland.

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