Civil Rights

Religious freedom not under threat, but we should debate limits

The immediate eruption of controversy over the selective leaking of recommendations from the Ruddock report on religious freedom shows both why the government has sought to avoid releasing the report, and… Simon Cowan Brisbane Times It is a major issue, notwithstanding that marriage equality has been one of the few direct challenges to freedom of religion in Australia in recent years. And, while there have been major court cases in the US and the UK testing the limits of free ... Read More »

The Little College Where Tuition Is Free and Every Student Is Given a Job

Berea College, in Kentucky, has paid for every enrollee’s education using its endowment for 126 years. Can other schools replicate the model? * * * There’s a small burst of air that explodes from every clap. And when hundreds of people are clapping in unison, it begins to feel like a breeze—one that was pulsing through the Phelps Stokes Chapel at… Adam Harris The Atlantic The students and staff that had gathered here were stomping, clapping, and singing along, as ... Read More »

Turkey’s expedited European extraditions

Turkey’s ongoing effort to dismantle the supporters for Fethullah Gülen has underlined its influence in southeast Europe, where multiple countries have hurried to comply with requested Turkish extraditions. Luke Bacigalupo Global Risk Insights This raises hard questions about how committed these states are to recent reforms intended to boost the rule of law. Since 2016, suspected supporters of Fethullah Gülen, who Erdoğan has accused of being the mastermind behind the attempted July 2016 coup, have been whisked away from South Eastern Europe in… Bulgaria, ... Read More »

Skilled migrants to spend ‘at least a few years’ in regional Australia under Morrison’s population plan

New population minister Alan Tudge said up to 45 percent of permanent immigrants could be diverted to visas that force them to spend “at least a few years” in regional areas, or small states like… James Elton-Pym SBS The Morrison government has promised visa reforms that will force a significant chunk of Australia’s annual intake of 190,000 permanent migrants to spend “at least a few years” in regional… The move, advocated by the Nationals and key lobby groups like the Farmers’ ... Read More »

Religious freedom review enshrines right of schools to turn away gay children and teachers

Religious schools would be guaranteed the right to turn away gay students and teachers under changes to federal anti-discrimination laws recommended by the government’s long-awaited… Jewel Topsfield The Sydney Morning Herald However the report, which is still being debated by cabinet despite being handed to the Coalition four months ago, dismisses the notion religious freedom in Australia is in “imminent peril”, and… The review was commissioned in the wake of last year’s same-sex marriage victory to appease conservative MPs who ... Read More »

‘We need to make sure it’s realistic’: Liberty Victoria president weighs in on immigration plan

Liberty Victoria president Jessie Taylor says the devil is in the detail for the Federal Government’s plan to ease mounting population pressure in Melbourne and Sydney. Neil Mitchel 3AW New visa conditions would require migrants to settle outside the major cities for up to five years. Ms Taylor, who also works as a lawyer, said it depended on whether there were job opportunities to sustain growth in regional centres. Neil Mitchell glad to see a population plan on the political ... Read More »

It Is Time to Debate—and End—Identity Politics

A democratic society based on civil liberties cannot survive being torn apart. Michael Gonzalez The National Interest America’s partition into mutually antagonistic identity groups has reached every nook and cranny of society, from sports to education , the corporateworld and politics . It has never been openly debated or voted on by the American people, however. Identity politics sparks emotional reactions both among its supporters and its detractors because it deals with the larger issues of our day. It is about what convinces people to band together ... Read More »

Romania marriage poll: One man, one woman definition up for vote

Romanians are deciding this weekend whether a family should revolve around a married man and woman. BBC The two-day vote on changing their constitution has been portrayed by supporters of the referendum as a way of protecting the status of the “traditional” family. Opponents warn it will come at the expense of same-sex couples, single parents and children too. And there are accusations that the whole exercise is a sideshow to distract from a corruption case involving the leader of ... Read More »

Aung San Suu Kyi’s extraordinary fall from grace

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s civilian leader and de facto president, is under fire from all sides. Domestically, she is facing growing criticism for stalled economic and political reforms, glacial progress on policy and service improvements, and the suppression of freedom of expression and press freedom. Authors: The Conversation But it is her international reputation that is most in tatters. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, imprisoned for 15 years over a 21-year period in her struggle for human rights and ... Read More »

British PM May backs heterosexual civil partnerships

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday that heterosexual couples will be allowed to enter into a civil partnership, previously a union only available to those of the same sex. The government says the move will provide greater security for unmarried couples and their families. Civil partnerships were introduced in Britain in 2004, giving gay couples similar legal rights to those enjoyed by married heterosexuals. Since 2014, same-sex marriage has also been legal in England, Wales ... Read More »

Escalating Global Effort for Safe, Legal Abortion

A Day to Highlight Women’s Struggle Margaret Wurth HRW Today is International Safe Abortion Day. Today, and every day, women and girls in countries where access to abortion is heavily restricted, or banned, risk their lives trying to end unwanted pregnancies. But the fight around the world for access to safe and legal abortion is escalating. The day has particular significance this year for the United States, as the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the ... Read More »

On the Supreme Court, difficult nominations have led to historical injustices

Far from being unusual, the hurried and partisan Supreme Court confirmation process for Brett Kavanaugh mirrors several notable examples of similarly politicized confirmations in U.S. history. Calvin Schermerhorn The Conversation Those conflicts, which ultimately placed justices on the court, yielded some of the most damaging civil rights decisions in our nation’s history. Unlike any other branch of government, Supreme Court justices do not have to face voters at the polls. They have no term limits. Yet the high court is ... Read More »

Why abortion should not be a crime

As a doctor who has worked in the field of reproductive healthcare for many years, I could list so many evidence-based and peer-researched studies and reasons on why abortion should be decriminalised. Philip Goldstone Brisbane Times But the most profound and overriding reason for me is to end the shame and stigma that we heap onto women accessing this health service each and every day. Shame and stigma is something that I am familiar with; I have worked in the ... Read More »

Indonesian incest rape victim, 15, could be sent back to jail for having an abortion

An appeal against the acquittal of a 15-year-old rape victim who was charged with illegal abortion in Indonesia has been condemned by local activists, who say the move is a backward step for the protection of women. Tasha Wibawa ABC A regional prosecution office launched the appeal, saying it wanted the case to serve as a lesson to others considering aborting a pregnancy, the Jakarta Post reported. The girl — who fell pregnant after being raped by her brother — ... Read More »

Strategic lawsuits against public participation – fight or flight?

Lawsuits that purport to limit public input are commonly used to silence critics and hinder freedom of expression, writes World Law Forum co-founders Joslyn Ma and Pratik Bakshi. By: Joslyn Ma and Pratik Bakshi Lawyers Weekly Imagine taking a flight and being terribly bothered by the poor customer service of the airline. You publish a blog against the airline and provide factual accounts of your experience. Soon after, the airline threatens to take legal action against you for alleged defamation ... Read More »

Want to know your rights but only have 60 seconds?

London barrister hopes to educate people about the law with bitesize Youtube videos Owen Bowcott The Guardian Christian Weaver likes to keep it concise. His video series ‘TheLawin60Seconds’ is pioneering legal advice for an age of supposedly limited attention spans. The 24-year-old lawyer has begun teaching people about their rights in online talks to camera that aim to simplify the complexity of legislation into a few basic principles. He may not be the first person to deliver consumer-friendly lectures over the… Weaver’s first ... Read More »