Human Rights

British boy’s medical cannabis returned

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London: The UK Home Office is returning a severely epileptic boy’s medicinal cannabis oil after confiscating it from his mother at customs. WAtoday PA Charlotte Caldwell tried to bring the medication into Heathrow Airport in a last-ditch effort to treat her 12-year-old son Billy, but it was removed by border officials. After a week of pleading with the Home Office, during which she accused a minister of likely signing the boy’s “death warrant”, the government has relented. Home Secretary Sajid Javid ... Read More »

Italy, France call for refugee processing centres in Africa

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Giuseppe Conte hosted by Emmanuel Macron amid bid to bury hatchet following diplomatic row over rejected refugee ship. Al-Jazeera The leaders of Italy and France have urged the European Union to set up asylum processing centres in Africa to prevent refugees and migrants from undertaking the journey across the Mediterranean. French President Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s new populist Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met in Paris on Friday in a bid to bury the hatchet after a bitter diplomatic squabble erupted this week over Rome’s ... Read More »

Bavaria’s man in Berlin pushes Merkel to brink

BERLIN, GERMANY - JUNE 14: German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and leader of the Bavarian Christian Democrats (CSU) prepares to take an elevator during a day of wrangling at the Bundestag between the CSU and the German Christian Democrats (CDU) of Chancellor Angela Merkel on June 14, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Merkel is at odds with Seehofer over migration policy. While Merkel wants a European-wide approach to migration, Seehofer is insisting that Germany be able to unilaterally turn away asylum seekers when they first reach the German border should they not meet asylum criteria.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Horst Seehofer puts home state election first in clash with chancellor. Janosch Delcker Politico BERLIN — Horst Seehofer may be Germany’s interior minister but he’s doing Bavaria’s bidding. The 68-year-old’s career looked to be on the slide when he was ousted as premier of the southern state at the end of last year. Yet he is center stage once again after pushing Angela Merkel’s government into crisis with his plan to toughen Germany’s asylum policies. By threatening to implement his plan even without Merkel’s ... Read More »

From the St Louis to the Aquarius: the history of refugee boats as archipelagos of misery

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The Aquarius, a rescue ship in the Mediterranean carrying 629 people, is now on its way to Spain, after being refused docking in Italy and Malta. Simone Gigliotti The Conversation The crisis has caused a diplomatic row between France and Italy and highlighted the stalemate within the EU on asylum policy. Sadly, there have been many historical examples of boats laden with refugees, that were refused docking. In the aftermath of World War II, the historian Eugene Kulischer wrote: “The ... Read More »

UN rights chief calls for major probe into Kashmir abuses

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The U.N. human rights chief on June 14 called for a major investigation into abuses in Kashmir, as his office released its first-ever report on violations committed by both India and Pakistan in the… GENEVA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he would urge the Human Rights Council, which opens a new session next week, “to consider establishing a Commission of Inquiry [COI] to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into… A COI is one of the UN’s highest-level probes, generally reserved for ... Read More »

U.S. expected to retreat from main U.N. rights forum: activists, diplomats

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GENEVA (Reuters) – Talks with the United States over how to reform the main U.N. rights body have failed to meet Washington’s demands, activists and diplomats say, suggesting that the Trump administration will quit the… Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Alison Williams A U.S. source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the withdrawal appeared to be “imminent” but had no details. Diplomatic sources said it was not a question of if but of when the United States retreats ... Read More »

Young refugees share what it’s like trying to finish school, find work and get married

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In 2012, at 10 years of age, Daahir sat in his school classroom in Mogadishu, Somalia. The sounds of gun shots piercing the air interrupted the lesson. Laura Prazeres The Conversation As Daahir ran back home, he overheard that fighting had erupted between government forces and the militant group Al-Shabab. Daahir arrived home to find his father dead from gunshot wounds. Faced with further threats and imminent violence, Daahir and his family, along with many others, fled their… According to ... Read More »

Catholics defend the secrecy of confession amid pressure over child abuse royal commission

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Catholic Church is holding firm against calls to lift the veil of secrecy on confession amid calls from victims and advocates to force priests to report alleged abusers. By political reporter Matthew Doran ABC Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivered the Federal Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse in Canberra on Wednesday. Last year 122 recommendations were delivered to the government, including calls to throw out the sanctity of the confessional. In a statement ... Read More »

Asylum seekers are now political pawns in a disharmonious EU

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The fate of the Aquarius, a Doctors without Borders rescue ship left stranded for hours in the Mediterranean carrying 629 African migrants, is a stark reminder of the EU’s ongoing stalemate on asylum policy. Ruvi Ziegler The Conversation The new Italian interior minister, Matteo Salvini, ordered ports to refuse docking to the ship, prompting a rhetorical revolt by several Italian mayors. Malta also refused docking, claiming that the rescue occurred in the Italian search and rescue zone. As the ship’s ... Read More »

Australia sexual abuse: PM accepts landmark inquiry proposals

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The Australian government has accepted almost all recommendations from a landmark inquiry into child sexual abuse as it prepares to deliver a national apology to victims. BBC The five-year inquiry found tens of thousands of children had suffered abuse in Australian institutions. PM Malcolm Turnbull said that his government would act on 104 of 122 official recommendations. The remaining 18 had not been ruled out, he… He will make the apology on 22 October. “The survivors have told their stories ... Read More »

Government response to child abuse royal commission is positive, but will need to go beyond an apology

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The federal government has announced it will establish a National Office for Child Safety and issue a formal apology as part of its response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Timothy W. Jones The Conversation In addition, every state and territory has committed to join the National Redress Scheme. Australia’s major churches and youth organisations have also joined the scheme. The timing of the announcement meets a commitment of the Council of Australian Governments to ... Read More »

The legality of off-shore detention

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In 2002 Australia, along with more than 80 other nations, acceded to the Rome statute by which the International Criminal Court was created.  The court is the first permanent court ever established with jurisdiction to try war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide regardless of the nationality of the perpetrators and regardless of the place where the offences occurred. Julian Burnside John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations As part of the process of implementing the International Criminal Court ... Read More »

Security bill will muzzle human rights activists

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In this era of so-called “fake news”, civil society plays a critical role in holding governments to account. Claire O’Rourke Brisbane Times And yet, with Labor capitulating to the government on the proposed National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill, it may soon become a crime to hold the Australian government to account on its human rights record. The truth itself would not be a defence. By joining regimes around the world in passing new, restrictive laws attempting ... Read More »

France bans cellphone use in public schools

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French lawmakers have approved a ban on the use of mobile phones in public schools. Critics have said the move will do little to end classroom disruptions or bullying. DW kw/bw (AFP, Reuters) Opponents to the blanket ban on mobile phone use said it is unlikely to wean students off their phones. The legislation — approved by members of France’s lower house National Assembly on Thursday — would require students to keep their phones out of sight. However there was no ... Read More »

Forced marriage convictions are welcome but for many victims stigma is still judge and jury

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In the four years since a change in the law regarding forced marriages in England and Wales, there have been two cases where parents have been convicted of forcing their daughters to marry by taking them out of the… Geetanjali Gangoli The Conversation One case, in Birmingham in May 2018, involved taking a daughter to Pakistan, the other – in Leeds, also in May 2018 – involved a couple luring their daughter to Bangladesh for a… These were the first ... Read More »

Israeli Parole Board Denies Palestinian Teen Ahed Tamimi Early Release

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Board says Tamimi, imprisoned for slapping an Israeli soldier, lacks remorse and remains dangerous Yotam Berger Haaretz A parole board has rejected a request by Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who received an eight-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to assaulting an Israeli soldier, for an early release. The Shin Bet security service issued an opinion in the case opposing her release. “The statements she has made about the case indicate her radical ideology, [and] along with the security situation in the ... Read More »