#OTD in 1864 – Roger Casement, British consular official and Irish nationalist, is born in Sandycove, Co Dublin.

Fuar siad bás ar son Saoirse na hÉireann.

Roger Casement was born in Sandycove, Co Dublin to a wealthy protestant family, he initially served in the British diplomatic corps mainly in Africa. Described as the “father of twentieth-century human rights investigations”, he was honoured in 1905 for the Casement Report on the Congo and knighted in 1911 for his important investigations of human rights abuses in Peru. In 1911 Casement received a knighthood for his efforts on behalf of the Amazonian Indians, having been appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1905 for his Congo work.

Roger Casement, having seen through the moral breakdown of the free-trading Empire he had willingly served for several decades, was in no doubt, by Easter 1916, where his loyalty lay. Roger Casement himself claimed that it was his Irish identity that allowed him to fully grasp the oppressive nature of European colonial rule in the Congo and the Amazon. He would become the whistleblower of imperial colonial greed in two continents.

But his allegiance was to an independent Ireland and he helped found the Irish Volunteers in 1913. He was arrested in 1916 attempting to import German arms into Ireland. Britain saw this as a treasonous act. He was hanged in Pentonville Prison on 3 August 1916.

Casement was honoured on 3 August 2016, 100 years exactly after his hanging, which was billed by the State as “Casement Humanitarian Day”.

Photo colourised by: My Colorful Past

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