Civil Rights

Teenager held in solitary confinement sues state government

A young Aboriginal man is suing the state government for placing him in solitary confinement in an adult prison for three months when he was 16 years old. Tammy Mills The Age Wonyarna Edwards and two other teenagers were transferred to the Charlotte Unit of Port Phillip Prison in 2012 after a staff member was stabbed in the neck and injured when the inmates tried to escape from the Parkville youth detention centre. Mr Edwards was in solitary confinement in ... Read More »

The epic story of a 97-year-old Palestinian freedom fighter

Born in 1921, Abu Nihad remembers the toughest battles against Zionist militias after the British left Palestine. Zena Tahhan AlJazeera Sur Baher, occupied East Jerusalem – In the village he defended from Zionist militias 70 years ago, Muhammad Mahmoud Jadallah is celebrated as a “blessing”. Born in 1921, the 97-year-old, known as Abu Nihad, witnessed the unfolding of what has been dubbed by some as “the world’s most intractable conflict”. He is one of the few Palestinian men who fought against ... Read More »

Religious freedoms should include spiritual beliefs too

Nearly a third of Australians at the last census checked “None” when asked about their religion, up from 19% in 2006. What many people might not realise is that while some “Nones” are indeed atheists or agnostics, a substantial percentage do have faith. Jeremy Patrick The Conversation It’s just not in mainstream religion as we generally understand it. The number of people identifying as “spiritual but not religious” appears to be rising in the western world. A 2017 McCrindle report ... Read More »

Why the Supreme Court’s ‘gay wedding cake’ ruling won’t resolve religious freedom issues

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued its long-anticipated ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In a 7-2 decision, the justices sided with a Denver bakery owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. David Mislin The Conversation The couple took the case to court in 2012 after the Christian baker turned down their business. A lower court ruled the baker violated Colorado’s public accommodations law, which forbids discrimination by businesses serving the ... Read More »

SNP’s Ian Blackford warns May over ‘new Windrush generation’

Theresa May has been warned she risks creating a “new Windrush generation” by charging undocumented children living in the UK lawfully thousands of pounds. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford has written to the Prime Minister urging her to waive fees of up to £10,000 which risk denying more than 100,000 people their right to stay in the UK and become British citizens. Campaigners say the fees put tens of thousands of people, born in the ... Read More »

The Grey Zone: space that gives us freedom is under threat

In recent years, a Middle East-based organisation has been thinking about what it calls “the Grey Zone”. The term refers to the pluralist, open, multicultural space that is fundamental to the way a functioning democratic society works. Peter Greste Brisbane Times The Grey Zone allows us to live alongside different faiths without killing one another; it is the space that means we can have robust political debates without punching each other in the nose. It is the space defined by ... Read More »

Catholic Church signs up for national redress scheme for victims of child sexual abuse

Victims of institutional child sexual abuse are one step closer to receiving compensation, after the Catholic Church announced it would sign up to the national redress scheme. By political reporter Jane Norman and staff ABC In a major step forward, the Church has confirmed it will enter the national scheme, despite its earlier misgivings, becoming the first non-government institution to opt in. The church’s governing bodies, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia, wrote to the Government ... Read More »

Judges ‘overwhelmingly’ get it right, Vic Chief Judge says

The Herald Sun has been corrected by Peter Kidd, Chief Judge of the Victorian County Court, for inaccurate and sensationalised reporting that suggested sentencing decisions by so-called “lenient judges” were… Melissa Coade LawyersWeekly Victoria’s Chief Judge has admonished News Corp for an article which suggested that prosecutors have increasingly succeeded in appeals for tougher jail terms. In a letter penned to the Herald Sun, Peter Kidd (pictured) rejected assertions made by journalist Aleks Devic that successful appeals brought by the Director of Public Prosecutions ... Read More »

Macron Defends Magazine That Labeled Erdogan a ‘Dictator’

French President Emmanuel Macron waded into a debate over a magazine cover that labeled Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “dictator,” saying attacks on kiosks selling the latest issue were unacceptable. Helene Fouquet Bloomberg “Freedom of the press has no price: without it, it’s dictatorship,” Macron said on Twitter late on Monday. “It is totally unacceptable that Le Point posters are being ripped off kiosks on the grounds they displease the enemies of freedom of the press, in France ... Read More »

Have you got an end-of-life plan?

Lawyers are encouraging us to think about how we want our lives to end as part of a campaign to record end-of-life wishes with a free online tool called Advance Care Directive. Melissa Coade LawyersWeekly While the topic of death and dying remain uncomfortable subjects for many, lawyers in South Australia are urging members of the community to think seriously about the end. These can include questions about whether a patient wishes to be resuscitated or placed on life support ... Read More »

Homeless vets with families: An untold part of veterans’ struggles

In 2010, the Obama administration announced the ambitious goal of ending homelessness among veterans. Roya Ijadi-Maghsoodi The Conversation Over the last year, the number of veterans who are homeless dropped 30 percent in Los Angeles County. Nationwide, veteran homelessness fell by almost 50 percent since 2009. Yet statistics are only part of the story. What is missing from federal and state statistics, the media and the minds of many Americans, is the story of homeless veteran families. Through my work ... Read More »

Do you even know what apartheid means?

Op-ed: A state with complete academic freedom, with Arab ministers and MKs, a state that fosters Arab professors, doctors, pharmacists and teachers, can’t be called an ‘apartheid state,’ unless it’s by ignorant or evil people. Noah Klieger y net news And the last person who can throw this accusation at Israel is a dictator like Erdoğan who has been cracking down on freedom of speech and the free press in his own country. In the late 1950s, on a flight ... Read More »

Andargachew Tsige pardoned by Ethiopia

Attorney general says decision for Andargachew Tsige’s pardon was part of moves intended to ‘widen political space’. Al Jazeera and News Agencies Ethiopia has pardoned an opposition leader with British citizenship who had been sentenced to death. Andargachew Tsige was found guilty of “terrorism” and sentenced in absentia in 2009 over his role in the opposition group Ginbot 7. He was the organisation’s secretary-general. The father of three was arrested during a stopover at a… Berhanu Tsegaye, Ethiopia’s… Andargachew Tsige pardoned… Read More »

Irish abortion referendum: Ireland overturns abortion ban

The Republic of Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban by 66.4% to 33.6%. A referendum held on Friday resulted in a landslide win for the repeal side. BBC Currently, abortion is only allowed when a woman’s life is at risk, but not in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality. The Eighth Amendment, which grants an equal right to life to the mother and unborn, will be replaced. The declaration was made at at Dublin Castle ... Read More »

‘We are absolutely in a new culture war’: ‘Religious freedom’ next on the Liberal agenda

On Monday night, former deputy prime minister John Anderson delivered a rousing and ominous speech to a gathering of religious educators in Parliament House. Michael Koziol WAtoday With a gusto more suited to the Great Hall in which the Christian Schools Australia gala dinner normally takes place, Anderson dared speak the name of a spectre which is often invoked but rarely acknowledged: the culture war. “We’re living in the age of enormous cultural disharmony, I put it to you,” he ... Read More »

Tough new EU privacy regulations could lead to better protections in Australia

Major personal data breaches, such as those that occurred recently at the Commonwealth Bank, Cambridge Analytica and Yahoo, have taught us how vulnerable our privacy is. Vincent Mitchell The Conversation Like the cigarette and alcohol markets, it took a long time to prove that poorly regulated data collection can do us harm. And as with passive smoking, we now know that data trading can harm those around us as well as ourselves. Regulators in the European Union are cracking down ... Read More »