Civil Rights

Ecuador ‘close’ to evicting Julian Assange from London embassy

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London: Ecuador is close to withdrawing asylum for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and evicting him from the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been living for six years, journalist… The Age Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno went to Britain on Friday to meet with officials to finalise a deal under which protection for Assange will be withdrawn and he will be turned over to British authorities, Greenwald… The Australian national has resided in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012, after he ... Read More »

Nine activists defending the Earth from violent assault

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On a planet of billions, nine represent the strong minority battling murder in the global corruption of land rights Jonathan Watts The Guardian Individually, they are stories of courage and tragedy. Together, they tell a tale of a natural world under ever more violent assault. The portraits in this series are of nine people who are risking their lives to defend the land and environment in some of the planet’s most remote or conflict-riven regions. From the Coral Triangle and ... Read More »

Indonesia’s Papua Cover-Up Reflex Prompts Police Dormitory Raid

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Authorities Cite ‘Hidden Activities’ to Cancel Screening of Papuan Film Michelle Winowatan HRW Dozens of Indonesian military and police personnel raided a student dormitory in Surabaya on July 6 to stop the screening of a documentary about security force atrocities in Papua. It’s the latest example of the government’s determination not to deal with past abuses in the country’s easternmost province. Security forces carried out the raid following social media postings about the planned screening of “Bloody Biak.” The film documents the ... Read More »

Lebanon: Same-Sex Relations Not Illegal

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Homosexuality Not an ‘Unnatural Offense,’ Appeals Court Rules (Beirut) – A district court of appeal in Lebanon issued a groundbreaking ruling on July 12, 2018, that consensual sex between people of the same sex is not unlawful, Human Rights Watch said. HRW The ruling follows similar judgments from lower courts that have declined to convict gay and transgender people of “sexual intercourse contrary to nature” in four separate rulings between 2007 and 2017. It is the first such ruling from ... Read More »

Israel passes controversial ‘Jewish nation-state law’, stripping Arabs of self-determination right

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Israel has passed a law to declare that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country, something members of the Arab minority have called racist and verging on apartheid. ABC The “nation-state” law, backed by the Government, passed by a vote of 62-55 and two abstentions in the 120-member Parliament after months of political argument. Some Arab politicians shouted and ripped up papers after the vote. “This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the ... Read More »

‘Politics of fear’: Obama gives Trump sharp rebuke in Mandela address

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Johannesburg: Former US President Barack Obama took aim at “strongman politics” in his highest-profile speech since leaving office, urging people around the world to respect human rights and other values now under threat in an impassioned address marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela’s birth. AP WAtoday While not mentioning his successor by name, Obama’s speech in South Africa countered many of President Donald Trump’s policies, rallying people to keep alive the ideas that Mandela worked for including democracy, ... Read More »

‘Collective punishment’: Israel blocks fuel shipment to Gaza

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Israel further tightens its blockade on the strip while rights group denounces measure as ‘morally depraved’. AlJazeera Israel has further tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip, preventing gas and fuel deliveries through its only commercial crossing with the Palestinian besieged enclave a week after Israeli authorities announced the closure of the crossing. The Kerem Shalom crossing, known to Palestinians as Karem Abu Salem, was shut down on July 9 and initially, only items deemed as “humanitarian” would be allowed to enter Gaza, ... Read More »

Forcing priests to report abuse not a breach of human rights: Watchirs

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New laws that will force priests to break the seal of confession to report child abuse are not in breach of the ACT’s human right laws, despite concerns about the impact on religious freedoms, the ACT’s Human Rights Commissioner says. Katie Burgess The Canberra Times Under the territory’s expanded reportable conduct scheme, priests in Canberra will be required to report allegations, offences or convictions related to children to the ACT Ombudsman within 30 days from March… But the Australian Catholics Bishops ... Read More »

Can democracy vote itself out of existence?

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Look at the state of the world’s democratic nations, and it is easy to see why so many are concerned for the future of democracy. Manjeet Ramgotra The Conversation Leaders such as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Vladimir Putin and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán have centralised political power by changing their countries’ constitutions, silencing dissent and controlling the media. Since 2016’s coup attempt in Turkey, Erdoğan’s government has used the subsequent state of emergency to incarcerate thousands without trial. Opposition politicians, judges, journalists ... Read More »

Rights not “fortress conservation” key to save planet, says UN expert

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Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples calls for a new, rights-based approach to conservation David Hill The Guardian The United Nations Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, has released a report highly critical of the global conservation movement and calling for indigenous peoples and other local communities to have a… What exactly is meant by that? It is “the idea that to protect forests and biodiversity, ecosystems need to function in isolation, devoid of people,” the Rapporteur told the Guardian. ... Read More »

The mystery firm that became the NRA’s top election consultant

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Since 2014, the gun rights group has paid millions of dollars to a little known contractor for ads in key Senate races. Did it break campaign finance laws in the process? Mike Spies Politico Heading into the 2014 midterm elections, polls showed the Republican Party had an opportunity to retake control of the Senate. Such a change would severely limit President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda during his final two years in office, an outcome that was especially attractive to the ... Read More »

British colonial forces ‘raped a teenager and tortured civilians during 1950s Cyprus uprising and then covered it up’, court papers claim

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British colonial forces raped a 15-year-old girl and tortured civilian detainees with beatings and mock hangings during the Cyprus uprising in the 1950s, papers lodged at the High Court reveal. By ANGELLA JOHNSON FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY The devastating claims have been made in damning eyewitness reports by 31 elderly men and two women who are suing the Government for human rights abuses. The evidence comes after The Mail on Sunday revealed in April that senior British officers had seen ... Read More »

Tanzania’s John Magufuli says prisoners are free labour

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The president of Tanzania has called for prisoners to be made to work long hours, and to be punished if they are lazy. BBC John Magufuli was speaking at the inauguration of a new prisons chief. Rights groups have accused him of growing intolerance. Mr Magufuli has lost his initial huge popularity by clamping down on the media, targeting opposition politicians and calling for pregnant schoolgirls to be banned from… He said inmates should grow their own food in prison… ... Read More »

Thanks for your concern, but my religion is not in need of protection

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The recent contribution to our national debate on religious freedom by Social Services Minister Dan Tehan is to be welcomed. Catherine McGregor Brisbane Times Delivering a named oration in honour of  English cleric Sir Thomas More, Tehan argued that the dilution of Australia’s Christian identity may undermine the nature of our society, which he conceives as deriving its unique character from Judeo-Christian foundations. As veterans affairs minister, Tehan brought genuine compassion to a dysfunctional system that was compounding, rather than ... Read More »

The Chart That Shows the Supreme Court Will Be Out of Step With the Country

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Without a moderate like Kennedy, the middle will be missing on the Supreme Court — and the views of the American public left behind. By Stephen Jessee and Neil Malhotra The New York Times The Supreme Court is supposed to be insulated from most political pressures. In fact, one of its primary roles is to serve as a counterweight to the will of the majority in cases where policies might impinge on the… Yet it is common to hear criticism that the court ... Read More »

Facebook ruling: German court grants parents rights to dead daughter’s account

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Germany’s highest court has ruled that the parents of a dead daughter have the rights to her Facebook account under inheritance law. BBC The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) said online data should be treated the same as private diaries or letters, and pass to heirs. The case involves parents of a 15-year-old girl killed by a train in 2012. They sought access to her Facebook account to try to determine whether the death was suicide. Aside from emotional closure, ... Read More »