Global issues

Asylum seeker boat turn-back questions going unanswered by Government, says UNHCR

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The United Nations refugee agency has asked Australia to prove it is not breaching the Refugee Convention with its policy of turning back asylum seeker boats. Speaking in Jakarta, the UNHCR’s regional representative says the Australian Government has not responded to the UN’s concerns about the policies. The request for information was made in January. UNHCR regional representative James Lynch ... Read More »

Forget democracy, we need a new way to govern

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Ten years ago, in 2004, I decided to jump off the merry-go-round of political party fund-raisers. I found both the rubber chicken and the political offering equally unappetising. My Liberal and Labor party hosts, on the other hand, seemed perfectly articulate and competent. Yet for me, they came across as salesmen more than statesmen. When I asked once whether there ... Read More »

Myanmar’s Military: Back to the Barracks?

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It was Myanmar’s military that initiated the end of its own dictatorship; to advance stable reform, it needs to continue withdrawing from civilian life. In its latest briefing, Myanmar’s Military: Back to the Barracks?, the International Crisis Group examines the military’s key role in political and economic reforms. The military has preserved its essential interests, including through the constitution, while ... Read More »

Nauru breaching international law, says UN

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Nauru is breaching its international obligations by failing to establish an independent body to investigate torture and human rights abuses in the detention centre. The Nauruan government has also refused access to several United Nations groups wanting to inspect the centre. Questions have been raised about Australia’s “disintergrating” relationship with the small island nation, which houses 1179 asylum seekers, and whether ... Read More »

Indonesia makes veiled criticism of Tony Abbott as Marty Natalegawa emphasises human rights of asylum seekers

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The Indonesian Foreign Minister has again made a series of implied criticisms of Australia’s asylum seeker policies, saying the problem “defies national solutions” and any policy should protect the human rights of smuggling victims. Without specifically mentioning the Abbott government’s boat turn-back policy, Minister Marty Natalegawa said on Monday that “shared responsibility, not shifting of responsibility,” was the way forward. ... Read More »

Chagos Islands dispute: court to rule on UK sovereignty claim

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Success of case could lead to return of hundreds of exiled islanders who were forced to leave archipelago – Jump to comments Britain’s sovereignty over the Chagos Islands and America’s lease for the Diego Garcia military base could be thrown into doubt by an international court hearing due to open in Istanbul on Tuesday. It is considered of such importance ... Read More »

“Crimes against Peace”: Historic Class Action Law Suit against George W. Bush

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The case for Aggressive War against George W. Bush and his Administration. On March 13, 2013, my client, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, filed a class action lawsuit against George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz in a federal court in California.  She alleges that these six defendants planned ... Read More »

U.S. launches drone strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Yemen

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WASHINGTON — Prompted in part by a recent video that showed Al Qaeda leaders in Yemen openly taunting the United States, the CIA launched lethal drone strikes over the last three days that marked a sharp acceleration of the Obama administration’s shadow war against the terrorist group. Yemeni officials, who said their counter-terrorism forces carried out ground raids in conjunction ... Read More »

Japan’s trade deficit quadruples in March

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Japan’s trade deficit quadrupled in March as export growth slowed and energy imports continued to rise. A weak Japanese currency, which pushed up the cost of imports, also contributed to the widening gap. The deficit rose to 1.45 trillion yen ($14bn; £8.4bn), up from 356.9bn yen during the same month a year ago. Japan’s energy imports have been rising after ... Read More »