Human Rights

A refugee, like me: why the Golden Rule matters in an era of mass migration

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As the refugee crisis worsens, various “destination” countries, including Australia, are engaging in internal debates around multiculturalism, integration and tolerance. People are worried about cultural cohesion, racial divides and religious differences. The Conversation Author: Rivka T. Witenberg, Honarary Research Fellow in Psychology , Australian Catholic University Disclosure statement: Rivka T. Witenberg receives funding from Large ARC SPIRT Grant; Department of Psychology Research Support Scheme, University of Melbourne and Australian Catholic University; Centre for Education for Human Values and Tolerance, Bar ... Read More »

Manus Island hunger striker ‘close to death’: Julian Burnside

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Video – ‘If you think we are human…please help us’ Iranian man Loghaman Sawari has been in transit on Manus Island for over two years. The Sydney Morning Herald – Nicole Hasham, Environment and immigration correspondent UN rebuke over Australia’s refugee policy The Pulse live from Parliament An asylum seeker who once reportedly cut open his stomach during a hunger strike to prove it was empty is at risk of death and must be brought to Australia for treatment, prominent human ... Read More »

World unites in colour over violence against women

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WEDNESDAY, November 25, cities around the world will turn orange to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA – The Advertiser In Melbourne, iconic buildings, such as the Victorian Arts Centre and State Parliament, will be lit orange to draw attention to the issue. Landmarks across the world, including the Sphinx, the Pyramids of Giza, the Empire State Building and the Peace Palace in The Hague, have all gone orange previously. Colours are ... Read More »

Indonesia denies offering Australia an island to house refugees

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One of Indonesia’s most senior cabinet ministers has denied offering Australia an island to temporarily house refugees and asylum seekers. Brisbane Times – Jewel Topsfield and Nicole Hasham The Jakarta Post on Friday reported on its front page that Coordinating Minister for political, legal and security affairs, Luhut Panjaitan, had suggested offering an island as a temporary refugee camp. The newspaper reported Mr Panjaitan had said Indonesia’s “kind offer” would come with strict requirements, ranging from requiring Australia to entirely ... Read More »

Brisbane asylum seeker accepts Year 12 certificate behind detention bars

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An Iranian girl seeking asylum in Brisbane will on Wednesday “accept” her Year 12 certificate from behind the bars of Darwin’s Wickham Point immigration detention centre. Brisbane Times – Tony Moore * Mojgan Shamsalipoor, now 21, will also receive a Rotary Award for her perseverance as a Yeronga State High School student – effectively while studying under armed guard – and where English is not the student’s first language. Ms Shamsalipoor hopes to become a midwife and tonight her Brisbane-based husband, Milad ... Read More »

Is the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection guilty of contempt of court by purposely refusing to extend the bridging visa of a person the Minister knows is facing criminal charges?

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The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Peter Dutton on a number of occasions, has refused to extend the bridging visa of a lawful non-citizen long enough for the visa-holder to defend himself on criminal charges. These charges are due to be heard in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 13 April 2016. Media Breif Esser Legal, Barrister and Solicitor The Minister’s refusal is made with knowledge that the visa-holder is pleading not guilty to all charges. The person ... Read More »

Hate crime against Christians under-reported, says Vatican representative

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Hate crime against Christians in Europe is under-reported, a Vatican representative yesterday told a security group yesterday. Christian Today – Harry Farley Junior Staff Writer The Holy See delegation to the OSCE (organisation for security and co-operation in Europe) made a statement on hate crimes, highlighting the “poor attention given to hate crimes committed against majority communities.” This, plus “the fact that hate crimes motivated by religious bias or prejudice are under-reported and under-recorded …imply that the hate crimes against ... Read More »

Australia should ensure opposition to the death penalty is reflected in foreign policy and international police cooperation

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Australia must ensure that its opposition to the death penalty is consistently reflected across all its laws, policies and practices, the Human Rights Law Centre has told the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade’s Human Rights Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee is currently inquiring into Australia’s advocacy for abolition of the death penalty. The HRLC’s Director of Advocacy and Research, Emily Howie, said that although Australia had long ago abolished the death penalty, the country’s strong abolitionist stance is ... Read More »

Residents of D.C. homeless camp distressed as city moves to clear site

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Owen Makel couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, felt the lights going out. The 64-year-old with a thick white beard had just found out that he will soon have to leave a large encampment of homeless people living in tents near an overpass in Northwest Washington — his home for four months. The news Tuesday morning left him so bewildered, he said, he nearly fainted and had to go to George Washington University Hospital. The Washington Post – By Terrence McCoy “How ... Read More »

How to solve Lebanese civil war disappearances

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BEIRUT — In the Shiite neighborhood of Zqaq el-Blat in Beirut lives Fatima Fneish, who has agonized over the disappearance of her brother Hussein Fneish, 16, who went missing in 1976 during Lebanon’s civil war on his way to school. Al-Monitor Author: Ash Gallagher * Summary: The International Committee of the Red Cross has a plan to identify the remains of those who went missing during Lebanon’s civil war, but support from the government is agonizingly slow. Fneish, 60, invited Al-Monitor to her home ... Read More »

Safe refuges for women crucial to changing the story of domestic violence

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It has been a big week for raising the profile of Australia’s deadly domestic violence toll with the launch of a major new prevention initiative and with Rosie Batty, the 2015 Australian of the Year and a high-profile campaigner on this issue, one of the exclusive group invited to dine with Prince Charles and his wife Camilla at Admiralty House on Thursday night. The Sydney Morning Herald – Anne Summers Finally, the issue is getting the high-level attention it needs, ... Read More »

Australia’s awful failings on human rights

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Editorial Tony Abbott in March railed at criticism of Australia’s human rights record, saying this nation was “sick of being lectured by the United Nations”. The then prime minister may well have been sick of it, but he certainly did not speak for the people of this nation. Human rights, and a nation’s adherence to them, are not fashionable items to be adopted when it suits a government and discarded when they don’t fit the domestic agenda. Such rights are for ... Read More »

Nauru detainee: I just wanted the freedom to enjoy being a mother

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anonymous As the mother of a baby born in detention, this asylum seeker feels guilt for bringing a new life into an uncertain world of incarceration. The Sydney Morning Herald I dreamed of feeling like a normal mother. After being in a relationship with the amazing man that I have loved for 13 years, I wanted to have his child. Eight years after the bitter experience of losing my first child, I wanted  to be able to taste the sweetness of ... Read More »

The Human Rights Situation in North Korea – Remarks by José Ramos-Horta (Seoul, 11th November)

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SEOUL DIALOGUE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS The Human Rights Situation in North Korea Remarks By José Ramos-Horta (*) Seoul, 11th November 2015 Ambassador Lee Jung-Hun, Distinguished Speakers, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a pleasure to be again in Seoul since my participation in the various events marking the 70th Anniversary of the founding of ROK’s and of the end of World War II, hosted by KBSTV on 24th August. The people of ROK can be proud of the extraordinary progress they made ... Read More »

Reining in the NT’s paperless arrests is progress towards Indigenous liberty

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The high court did not invalidate the ‘catch and release’ paperless arrest laws on Wednesday, but it did limit their operation – a step in the right direction The Guardian – Jonathon Hunyor and Ruth Barson Kumanjayi Langdon’s funeral will be held next week at Yuendemu in the Northern Territory. He was a much loved and respected Warlpiri elder. He died in May, alone in a Darwin police cell, after being locked up under the Northern Territory’s controversial “paperless arrest” ... Read More »

More Christmas Island secrecy from Coalition

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Editorial Aside from its legal and moral ambiguities, Australia’s policy of detaining asylum-seekers in offshore facilities has been extravagantly priced, with billions of dollars spent on building and administering camps on Christmas Island, Manus and Nauru. And another $10 million was added to the bill this week when detainees at Christmas Island rioted after an Iranian Kurd asylum seeker escaped and later died. Fires were lit, equipment destroyed, and common areas trashed. Only after extra security was brought in from the ... Read More »