Human Rights

An Open Letter to H.E. Mr. António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations

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Published in Agora Dialogue on 24 April 2018 OPEN LETTER Date: 24 April 2018 Dear Secretary-General Re: The ill-fated ‘Annan Plan’ submitted to ‘separate, simultaneous referenda’ held on 24 April 2004 Today marks the passage of 14 years since the United Nations oversaw what it described at the time as two ‘separate simultaneous referenda’.  These ‘referenda’ were held on 24 April 2004 in what the United Nations also described at the time as ‘the two sides’, i.e. the area of the ... Read More »

UK push into the Pacific to counter China

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Exclusive The United Kingdom is vowing to expand its role in the Pacific in a push for “free speech and democracy” alongside other Commonwealth nations at a time of growing concern over China’s influence in the region. David Crowe The Sydney Morning Herald The ambitions not only include new diplomatic posts and aid funding but the idea of encouraging commercial projects and possibly infrastructure funding. Britain’s Minister of State for the Commonwealth, Lord Tariq Ahmad, said the UK’s departure from ... Read More »

Indian government introduces death penalty for child rapists

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Special order from Narendra Modi’s cabinet comes amid widespread outrage over levels of sexual violence Colin Drury Independent India is to introduce the death penalty for child rapists, in a move aimed at alleviating nationwide protests over a number of brutal and high-profile cases. Those found guilty of sexually assaulting youngsters under 12 will now face execution, under a special ordinance issued by the government and set to be rubber-stamped next week. The change comes amid widespread outrage over the… ... Read More »

Rape as a political tool in India

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The brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from a Muslim minority group is not just about gender violence. Mariya Salim AlJazeera The gruesome rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Kathua district of Indian-administered Kashmir is a chilling reminder of how sexual assault is used as a tool to instil fear among those belonging to the… There have been many Indians, especially on social media platforms, who have repeatedly claimed that one must look at this ... Read More »

Judge rules against Trump administration in teen pregnancy prevention case

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A federal judge in D.C. ruled Thursday that the Trump administration’s cuts to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program were unlawful. The Hill Last summer, the administration notified 81 organizations that their five-year grants through the program would end in 2018, rather than in 2020, prompting multiple lawsuits. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled in one of those cases Thursday, ordering the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to accept and… “We are disappointed… Judge rules against… Read More »

Canberra public servant’s sacking over asylum seeker policy tweets found to be ‘unlawful’

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A Canberra public servant sacked for expressing her views on asylum seeker policy, has won her case for compensation after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia found she was unlawfully dismissed. Elise Pianegonda ABC In September 2013, Michaela Banerji was fired from the Federal Department of Immigration after it was revealed she had been using the anonymous Twitter name @LaLegale to criticise the then-government, the minister and department policies — particularly over the handling of refugees. In one tweet Ms ... Read More »

Libyan Refugee Crisis—EU Must Take Responsibility and Alter Its Migrant Policy

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The European Union’s relief efforts must not contribute to the subjugation of the asylum seekers and deny them their basic human and legal rights. Sajid Farid Shampoo The National Interest The world seems to be slowly coming to terms with the Libyan refugee crisis. Despite the loss of over five hundred migrant lives in the Mediterranean sea in the first three months of 2018, the issue has failed to occupy the media spaces in the way it had in the ... Read More »

Iran says EU has ‘differing values’ but dialogue should continue

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Iran said April 16 that EU sanctions over its human rights record were due to “differing values” but that they should not derail dialogue with Europe. TEHRAN – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet “We have certain differences of opinion with European countries and the European Union,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said at a press conference. “That is due in part to differing values between our region and the Islamic republic of Iran and the European Union, notably as concerns human rights,” ... Read More »

Julian Burnside: “I worry where our democracy is going”

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Human Rights Arts and Film Festival kicks off at five cinemas across Melbourne on May 3. On May 12, the festival is screening the world premiere of Judy Rymer’s Border Politics, wherein human rights lawyer Julian Burnside AO QC travels the globe to compare how different nations are responding to the refugee crisis. Nick D TimeOut Burnside, 68, is a Melbourne-based commercial litigation barrister who became involved in human rights causes after 2001 when he was asked to act pro bono in ... Read More »

What the law says about a stranger taking a photo of your child without permission

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Imagine this — you’re at home and in the backyard with your children. You notice a nearby neighbour begin to snap photographs of your kids. ABC Radio Brisbane Patrick Williams Naturally you’re concerned, so you call police to see what can be done only to be told that it’s legal provided no-one photographed is naked. That’s what happened to one Brisbane woman this past week. Her brother told ABC News: “My sister’s kids were working in the backyard yesterday doing ... Read More »

‘This is my country’: how a Melbourne suburb defied the far-right to welcome refugees

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The settlement of refugees in Eltham sparked far-right protests. But locals presented a different vision of Australia Denham Sadler The Guardian Οn a dreary Sunday afternoon in late March, the sort that provides a harsh lesson on what Melbourne weather is capable of, a Syrian refugee talks through an interpreter about her escape from the conflict that has torn her… Amena*, who along with about 100 other refugees from Syria and Iraq settled in the suburb of Eltham on the outskirts of north-east ... Read More »

Somaliland poet jailed for Somalia reunification poetry

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A court in the self-declared republic of Somaliland has sentenced a young poet to three years in jail. BBC Nacima Qorane was found guilty of bringing the state into contempt by advocating for Somaliland to reunite with Somalia. Pressure groups in Somaliland said Ms Qorane’s basic human rights have been violated. Somaliland self-declared independence in 1991, but is not recognised internationally. Ms Qorane was arrested in January after returning from the Somali capital Mogadishu, where prosecutors said she had recited ... Read More »

Aid funding crisis hits Somaliland after 80 per cent of livestock die and 700,000 people forced from homes as result of devastating drought

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Donations which keep this clinic going will run out next month and urgent funding is needed Geraldine McKelvie Mirror Tiny Amran Hassan howls in agony from the hunger pains that ravage her ­emaciated body. She is four but weighs just 21lb – the same as the average one-year-old in Britain. Her skeletal frame is the result of a drought devastating Somaliland in East Africa, where rain last fell two years ago. Nearly 80 per cent of livestock has died, destroying ... Read More »

Why North Korea’s Human Rights Abuses are Being Ignored

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Despite the reactions of the United States and South Korea to the North’s human-rights abuses, North Koreans are left behind. Min hee Jo, Quinn Marschik The National Interest Human rights form a pillar of most democratic countries’ foreign policies and play a major role in their international relations. When it comes to totalitarian North Korea, which is among the worst human-rights abusers in modern history, the United States and South Korea under the Trump and Moon administrations respectively have employed similar but ... Read More »

Memo from a South African: Peter Dutton is entrenching racist white privilege

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My child eyes witnessed racism daily in South Africa. I could escape because I’m white Shelley Davidow The Guardian This year marks the 70th anniversary of the implementation of the racist legislation known as apartheid in South Africa. In 1948, laws were signed into effect that forever changed the lives of South Africans, leaving a devastating legacy, which many of us across the world still live with and struggle against. I am a white former South African living in Australia, ... Read More »

Turned away

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On thin evidence, Britain declares its biggest source of refugees safe after all NIYAT DYMOTT’S last months in Eritrea were a “living hell”. The Economist The 19-year-old wanted to go to university after finishing school but was drafted into a brutal and indefinite military service. To flee, she spent four days trekking across the western deserts to Sudan, hiding at night to avoid border guards with orders to shoot escapees on sight. At Port Sudan an uncle paid $5,000 to ... Read More »