Civil Liberties

Turkey Uncensored: Will Turkey Succeed in Turning the Hagia Sophia Into a Mosque?

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The Islamist Felicity Party (Turkish: Saadet Partisi) organized the “Great Jerusalem demonstration” on July 30 in Istanbul. This event attended by thousands of people who condemned Israel following the recent incidents on the Temple Mount. Uzay Bulut Philos Project The demo quickly turned into an anti-Israel and anti-Jew hate fest in which several Islamic activists delivered harsh speeches against the Jewish State. Mustafa Koylu, the head of the Cansuyu Association, said, “You have to do one thing so that those who do not see ... Read More »

Is liking something on Facebook ‘protected political speech’? It depends

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Australians are often surprised to learn that their Constitution contains no right to free speech. Even the right to political speech, which is constitutionally implied, is increasingly complicated by new online platforms where people can express their views. Melissa Castan  The Conversation The Australian Public Service Commission’s (APSC) recent guidance for public servants shone a spotlight on the issue. It advises employees they could be in breach of their code of conduct for liking or sharing posts on Facebook that are critical of the ... Read More »

Kenya Should Come Together After its Contested Elections

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Contrary to the deadly election of 2007, Kenya’s pivotal and highly-anticipated 2017 national and local polls passed without major outbreaks of violence. ICG But in order to build on this achievement, Kenyans must take further steps to overcome ethnic divisions and work toward greater national unity and inclusive governance. Despite claims of irregularity and the continuing risk of unrest, Kenya’s pivotal national and local elections on 8 August passed off in a largely peaceful manner. Millions of voters braved the elements and ... Read More »

Look At What’s Happening In America In 2017

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The Charlottesville rally is just another example of the deep-rooted, bone-chilling hatred in this country. Jenna Amatulli HuffPost In the past few days, thousands of “alt-right” members and white supremacists have taken over Charlottesville, Virginia, for a “Unite The Right” rally. The rally has also attracted plenty of counter-protesters, namely Antifa ― a fringe left radical group that stands for “Anti-fascism.” Violence and chaos has since ensued on both sides. The governor declared a state of emergency early Saturday morning.  ... Read More »

Trump fails to condemn white supremacists in statement on Charlottesville violence

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The president instead called out in what he deemed the strongest possible terms ‘this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.’ Nancy Cook Politico President Donald Trump declined to condemn the violent actions and protests of white supremacists on Saturday, who had converged on Charlottesville, Va., en masse to protest the removal of a statue of a Confederate general. The clashes killed at least one person and injured a number of others. Instead, Trump called out in what he ... Read More »

Nobel laureates urge Saudi king to halt 14 executions

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Ten Nobel Peace Prize winners are appealing to Saudi Arabia’s king and crown prince to show mercy and halt the executions of 14 young people sentenced to death for participating in protests in… EDITH M. LEDERER The Associated Press The Seattle Times In a letter released Friday they said staying the executions would “correct a great injustice.” The laureates said the 14 were convicted and sentenced in a mass trial “based on the actions of the ... Read More »

Larissa Nolan: Political correctness will hurt us all in the end

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Genuine liberalism respects and accepts diversity of behaviour and opinions Larissa Nolan The Irish Times Last week, the actor, writer and director Lena Dunham sent out a provocative tweet to her 5.5 million followers, while frustrated at a flight delay in JFK. The creator, writer and star of the HBO series Girls, believed she had earwigged on a conversation that deserved to be “called out” on social media – the supreme court of public opinion. Her tweet read: “Just overheard 2 @AmericanAir ... Read More »

We need the voices of public servants in the political debate. Their free speech is in peril

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Praising your agency is welcome, but not criticising it – new social media guidelines continue a troubling trend of silencing public servants John Wilson and Kieran Pender  The Guardian John Wilson is the managing legal director of Bradley Allen Love Lawyers Kieran Pender is a freelance journalist and legal researcher Another day, another attack on the ability of public servants to participate in Australian democracy. On Monday the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) released revised guidance on how federal government ... Read More »

How to fight racism, or why we all need to mourn my aunt

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My aunt was buried last Friday, the last of her generation in my family. We were not close but out of respect for her son, my cousin, I went along to the service. Jenna Price Brisbane Times Jewish services for the dead are Spartan yet comforting. There are no endless eulogies, just a brief summary of the facts as we know them. My aunt and her sister were marched to Ravensbruck sometime in 1943. I never knew much of the ... Read More »

Yassmin Abdel-Magied: where were my free-speech defenders?

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Andrew Bolt, are you up to the challenge? Mechanical engineer, author and social justice activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied has provoked the right-wing columnist: “If Andrew Bolt cares so much about freedom of speech as much as he reckons, he should have defended… Timna Jacks The Age “Where were all the defenders of freedom of speech in my case?” Ms Abdel-Magied – who describes herself the most “publicly hated Muslim in Australia” – made the comments after months of intense criticism following a Facebook post on ... Read More »

How a charter of rights could protect Australians’ fundamental freedoms

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Australia’s record of human rights protection in areas such as Indigenous people, asylum seekers and freedom of speech are perennial topics of debate. The focus of these discussions is now shifting to whether Australia can take steps to establish a stronger legal framework for protecting human rights. How a charter of rights could protect Australians’ fundamental freedoms George Williams Daniel Reynolds The Conversation One reason for this is Australia is in the final stages of defending its record in a ... Read More »

Inquiry into The Status of the Human Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief

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Time did not permit Liberty Victoria to address in full all aspects of the Terms of Reference for this Inquiry. Liberty Victoria Submitted To: Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Our concerns therefore centred on “3 — The relationship between the freedom of religion or belief and other human rights, and the implications of constraints on the freedom of religion or belief for the enjoyment of other universal human rights” (ToR 3). In particular we considered the balancing of freedom ... Read More »

Anti-Semitic Academics: Where is the Outrage Against Turkey?

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In Turkey, academics are currently at the mercy of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who demands their compliance and threatens dissenters. A.J. Caschetta Gatestone Institute After last July’s failed coup (for which Erdogan blamed an American scholar), a series of emergency decrees have specifically targeted Turkish academia. One would think this assault would raise ire from the ivory towers, but as Turkey slides deeper into totalitarianism, academia yawns. The failure of many professors to stand up vigorously and publicly for what they ... Read More »

Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis at the Crossroads

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Since October 2016, protests and strikes related to sectoral demands have escalated into a crisis over the economic and political marginalisation of Cameroon’s Anglophone minority. ICG Although the government has made some concessions, it must rebuild mutual trust with Anglophone actors in order to avoid instability ahead of the 2018 general elections. Executive Summary The Anglophones of Cameroon, 20 per cent of the population, feel marginalised. Their frustrations surfaced dramatically at the end of 2016 when a series of sectoral ... Read More »

3 human rights defenders transferred to Silivri Prison

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Amnesty International (AI) Turkey Director İdil Eser and two other human rights activists, Özlem Dalkıran and Nalan Erkem, were transferred from Bakırköy to Silivri Prison on Monday. TM Six human rights activists, including Eser and German human rights consultant Peter Steudtner, who were detained on July 5 during a workshop at a hotel on İstanbul’s Büyükada, were put in pretrial detention by an… Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Selina Doğan, who went to visit the three human rights defenders ... Read More »

A good death

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It would be foolish to think that we can control when our time is up. But neither should we face that moment unprepared. Not only for our sake, but for the people we leave behind. Vivien Shao Business Times THE only certainty in life is death. But this is not something we like to think about – not when we are at our prime, our careers powering ahead, and the future bright. In fact, as you flip through the papers, ... Read More »