Civil Rights

A modern-day slave in Australia’s suburbs

The Global Slavery Index says there could be thousands of people in Australia living in conditions amounting to slavery, but that despite a tightening of laws, prosecutions are rare. The BBC’s Phil Mercer spoke to one woman about her experiences. Susan’s (not her real name) story began when the family who employed her as a housekeeper moved back to Sydney from east Africa. She knew the family well and trusted them. They had always been kind and generous, so it ... Read More »

The Chilling Effect of Fear at America’s Colleges

The coddling of students’ minds has resulted in grave restrictions of free speech on campus—but academic leaders are also to blame. Jonathan R. Cole The Atlantic No great universities exist in the world without a deep institutional commitment to academic freedom, free inquiry, and free expression. For the past 60 years, American research universities have been vigilant against external and internal attempts to limit or… The Chilling Effect… Read More »

Erdoğan lifts Turkish MPs’ immunity in bid to kick out pro-Kurdish parties

President signs bill that allows prosecution of lawmakers currently under investigation – most of whom are from pro-Kurdish or opposition parties.. The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has signed a bill lifting lawmakers’ immunity from prosecution – a constitutional change likely to remove a pro-Kurdish opposition party from parliament… Source: Erdoğan lifts Turkish MPs’ immunity in bid to kick out pro-Kurdish parties | World news | The Guardian Read More »

Does religion restrict freedom?

The word ‘freedom’ is one of the great buzzwords of our culture. In the words of the rock band Queen, we all want to “break free”. Whether it’s Mel Gibson shouting “Freedom” as he is hung, drawn and quartered, or Martin Luther King crying “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last”, we all want freedom. But as Rousseau famously observed: “Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains”. What chains… Source: Does ... Read More »

Thousands of Muslims demand right to pray at Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia

ISTANBUL // Thousands of Muslim worshippers descended on Istanbul’s world famous Hagia Sophia museum on Saturday to demand the right to pray there. An imam led a prayer in front of the vast building that was once a Greek Orthodox basilica, then a mosque and now a museum before crowds called for it to be restored as a Muslim place of worship. “Let the chains break, open Hagia Sophia,” chanted the crowds who gathered on the plaza in front of ... Read More »

Indian states must take steps against attacks on African nationals – Asia Times

The murder of a Congolese youth in Delhi in street altercation points to racial hatred and has come as a big embarrassment for the Indian government. Such attacks have happened in other Indian cities too. It is sad that in the land of Mahatma Gandhi, who had relentlessly fought against racial discrimination in South Africa, African youth, mostly students or job-seekers, are feeling unsafe. They are often labelled as “drug-peddlers” and denied homes on rent.. The recent murder of a 29-year-old ... Read More »

Turkish singer steps down as UNESCO goodwill ambassador in protest of Turkey stance

Revered Turkish singer Zülfü Livaneli, who has been holding a post as UNESCO goodwill ambassador since 1996, has resigned, accusing the organization of “hypocrisy”, Turkish daily newspapers reported on Wednesday. Livaneli noted in his resignation letter that UNESCO has remained silent in the face of human rights violations, attacks on free speech and… Source: Turkish singer steps down as UNESCO goodwill ambassador in protest of Turkey stance – Turkish Minute Read More »

Julian Assange: Swedish court upholds arrest warrant for Australian WikiLeaks founder

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange still faces arrest after a Swedish court upholds a warrant over rape allegations.. A Swedish lower court has upheld the arrest warrant for Julian Assange, saying the Wikileaks founder’s stay at Ecuador’s London embassy did not equal detention. Assange, 44, is wanted by Swedish authorities for questioning over allegations, which he denies, that he committed rape in 2010… Source: Julian Assange: Swedish court upholds arrest warrant for Australian WikiLeaks founder – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Read More »

Don’t Rock the Boat: How Long Can Putin Avoid Capsizing?

What will the Russian political landscape look like a decade from now? Is Russia slipping back to the Soviet past or evolving toward greater authoritarianism and aggression? Are those predicting revolution right to see the nucleus of change in civil activism and a new wave of democracy in labor protests? For all the differences in opinion, there is no doubt that a political transition is looming. The question is when… Source: Don’t Rock the Boat: How Long Can Putin Avoid ... Read More »

Talks break down between German right-wing AfD, Muslim group

Agence France Presse BERLIN: A meeting between Germany’s right-wing populist AfD party and a Muslim organisation ended in acrimony Monday after less than an hour. A co-chair of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), Frauke Petry, said there was nothing left to talk about after the Muslim group had compared her party to the Nazis. Aiman Mazyek, the head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD), who initiated the meeting held in a Berlin hotel… Source: Talks break down ... Read More »

Editors vs judges: which right is supreme – press freedom or privacy?

Newspapers rage against judgment that endorses the injunction preventing them from identifying a celebrity involved in a three-way sexual encounter.. “Be you never so high, the law is above you.” When that term was coined in 1733, there was no electronic communication, let alone the internet. Within the jurisdiction of the English courts, the law was supreme. Every citizen, whether politician or journalist, was subject to the rule of law… Source: Editors vs judges: which right is supreme – press ... Read More »

JK Rowling was right: free speech is for everyone, not just your friendsan

We need to welcome dissent, because we grow from it. If you have to silence the other side, your own arguments can’t be very strong.. Αs the president of PEN America, I was deeply honored to have JK Rowling attend our gala to receive the PEN/Allen Foundation Award for Literary Service. Rowling gave a brief but exquisite address in which she lauded free speech in the broadest terms, saying, “The tides of populism and nationalism… Source: JK Rowling was right: ... Read More »

Enemy of the State?

Turkish journalist Can Dündar has recently been shot at, then sentenced to six years in prison for revealing state secrets. Dateline speaks to him about what he describes as an attack on freedom of speech in Turkey… Source: Enemy of the State? | SBS Dateline Read More »

Legal Aid in crisis, Canberra lawyers to rally

A crisis in funding for Legal Aid is preventing Australia’s most disadvantaged from obtaining a lawyer, the ACT Law Society has said. Lawyers will rally on Wednesday in support of a national “Legal Aid Matters” campaign, which seeks to put pressure on the major parties to commit to reversing cuts and injecting new money into services ahead of the federal election… Source: Legal Aid in crisis, Canberra lawyers to rally Read More »