Ernest Morton Memorial Lecture
Video produced by CJ Clarke
Speaking at St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London, Professor Gearty addressed an invited audience on the subject of asylum rights and the duties of humanity. He argued that we had reached a crucial moment in protecting the human rights of those fleeing persecution, and needed to discover new ways to communicate the enduring importance of the work conducted at Asylum Aid and elsewhere:
"We are, I think, close to or at a paradigm shift in our approach to asylum seekers and immigrants in Europe, that moment when we stop thinking in ways made inevitable by our past ethical truths, and start thinking and talking in a far nastier vein. The latter is becoming normal, the former increasingly the exception.
"The rule is drifting from civility to incivility, from respect for humanity to celebration of inhumanity, from universalist idealism to parochial hostility. We need to defend the laws we have, but also to reassert the values that lie underneath them".