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Candlelight vigil for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran

Media Release
Christine Milne 5 Mar 2015

I acknowledge the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and my parliamentary colleagues one and all, and all of you. And all of the people around Australia and around the world who stand in solidarity against the death penalty and who stand in solidarity for mercy.

That's what we're asking of the President of Indonesia for two young Australians who are facing the unimaginable for us: the death penalty.

As a mother of two sons, I find it beyond my capacity to even imagine the horror that the families are feeling, and that Andrew and Myuran are feeling, and what they're having to muster to face what they may have to face.

But we still have a short amount of time, however much time that is, and that's why we are all here: to stand with them, and for them, and to urge clemency.

I was thinking about this and I went back to the words of Michael Kirby when he spoke, at the centenary of the High Court, against the death penalty. He asked people to reflect on what is the essence of human rights. And the essence of human rights, he said, is love. That you can find it in your heart to love someone, or people, who may have done very wrong things, but with them we share the phenomenon of our common human existence.

And so I ask President Widodo to think about Indonesia's standing in the world in relation to human rights.

It would ennoble Indonesia to abandon the death penalty. It would ennoble Indonesia to show clemency to Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. And that is the message that I would urge everyone around the world, in all countries opposing the death penalty, in all countries seeking clemency, to send to Indonesia. It can be ennobled, if mercy is shown.


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