Rubber Justice and the Role of Irish Activists in the Congo Reform Campaign
Swanston Street, Parkville
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The setting for this talk is the Congo Free State. It was here that the rubber atrocities took place.
The rubber trade between 1890 and 1910 netted a fortune for King Leopold of Belgium, but caused the death of 10 million Congolese. The story of the Congo Reform Association is linked to three Irish activists whose roles will be examined in this lecture.
The most familiar of these is Roger Casement, who through his role as British Consul in the Congo wrote the report that galvanised British Parliament. Less familiar is Dr Harry Guinness. He was an evangelical preacher and leader of a missionary society in the Upper Congo. His missionaries provided vital eyewitness accounts of the atrocities. The third figure is Alice Stopford Green, Irish nationalist and historian. She supported the campaign both intellectually and financially. At the centre of the Campaign was Edmund Morel. The lecture will discuss how he steered the conversation about human rights moved away from Christian humanitarianism and towards the modern international framework for human rights. This shift began with the Congo campaign.