‘Some human rights are inalienable’: Khawaja scores a win in battle to display peace logo – as Albanese backs opener


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has praised Usman Khawaja’s courage in fighting to show solidarity with victims of warfare during Australia’s Test series with Pakistan and the Test opener is set to be able to display the dove and olive branch logo on his bat but only in BBL matches.

Since the days before last month’s series opener, Khawaja has been lobbying to voice his support for those affected by ongoing conflict in the Middle East, first by writing “all lives are equal” and “freedom is a human right” on his shoes.

The International Cricket Council barred Khawaja from displaying the phrases during the Perth Test on the grounds that international players are prohibited from wearing personal messages on their uniforms.

The veteran opening batter eventually taped over the messages, but the ICC charged him for breaching clothing and equipment regulations with the black armband he wore instead.

Khawaja had hoped to display a dove holding an olive branch on his bat, but this too was banned by the ICC but now, according to a report in The Age, his submission has been approved by Cricket Australia and he can display the image when he appears for the Brisbane Heat in BBL matches.

“I feel strongly about the right of every human being to enjoy peace, freedom and equality in dignity and rights regardless of their gender, age, colour, race, language, religion or national or social origin,” Khawaja wrote in the submission.

“Some human rights are inalienable and transcend all our differences. These rights are enshrined in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) that has been ratified by all member states of the United Nations.

“At a time when there is such a loss of life and liberty in the world – most recently in the Middle East – I would like to promote a personal message of peace, freedom and equality by displaying an internationally recognised symbol of peace and freedom – a dove with a sprig – on the back of my bat together with the phrase “01: UDHR” (Logo).”

The submission included a diagram of where the logo would appear on the back of his bat

Khawaja, who has received widespread support from current and former Test players, wrote the names of his daughters on his shoes in the MCG Test in place of the original messages.

Mr Albanese made mention of Khawaja on Monday as he addressed the Australian and Pakistani teams at Kirribilli House during his annual New Year’s Day reception before the SCG Test.

Usman Khawaja was given a reprimand for wearing a black armband to protest the violence in Gaza throughout the first Test against Pakistan. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

“I’d like to congratulate (Khawaja) for the courage he has shown standing up for human values,” Mr Albanese said.

“He has shown courage, and the fact that the team has backed him in is a great thing.”

This week’s Test match will be Khawaja’s last batting with opening partner David Warner, who is hanging up his baggy green at the conclusion of the match, which begins on Wednesday.

Usman Khawaja looks on while waiting to bat during an Australian nets session. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

“When Ussie and Dave go out, it will be a very special moment, when you walk on to the SCG,” Mr Albanese said.

The pair of childhood friends have formed a formidable duo at the top of the order since Khawaja’s recall to the Test team during the home Ashes series two summers ago

Warner became emotional speaking about Khawaja in his pre-match press conference on Monday.

“Just to see him come back the way he has the last two years has been absolutely amazing,” Warner said.

“I know his family are really, really proud of him. I’m really, really proud of him as a mate.

“When you’re childhood friends dreaming big and you get to go out here at the SCG, it’s fitting.”

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