Human Rights

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 »

Identity crisis in Lithuania’s bohemian republic

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Gentrification threatens the artists’ colony where ‘a dog has the right to be a dog.’ By GINGER HERVEY Politico VILNIUS — In Užupis, Lithuania, a gate is not just a gate. A gate, you see, is a symbol — of barriers, of impossibilities, of divisions between people and of outdated ideas about property. A symbol that might belong in oldLithuania, but is unwelcome in Užupis, a bohemian self-proclaimed republic in the center of the former Soviet country’s capital. Not that Užupis ... Read More »

Leading human rights barrister Julian Burnside examines asylum seeker policies worldwide

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World Premiere of Border Politics The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival will screen the world premiere of Border Politics on 15 May in Melbourne. Border Politics follows human rights barrister Julian Burnside as he crosses the globe to examine the treatment of refugees. Georgia Rowles. Pic: James Dryburgh Tasmanian Times The documentary highlights refugee and asylum seeker policies enforced in developed countries. Julian Burnside compares the attitudes of these countries to demonstrate the role political leadership plays in refugee ... Read More »

The plight of Rohingya women

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As the minority Rohingya people flee persecution in Myanmar, none face greater hardship and suffering than Rohingya women. By Imran Mohammad. The Saturday Paper I write this as a Rohingya man, a refugee, looking at an unacknowledged reality in the upheaval of my people. The majority of Rohingya women have never had the opportunity to express themselves. It is like their lives begin and end inside four walls. They can be made to commit to a virtual stranger in an ... Read More »

Countries ‘unofficially’ excluded by Australia’s refugee program

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MIGRANTS from three specific countries will be denied access to Australia through a government’s resettlement program, according to refugee support groups. Gavin Fernando news.com.au HUMANITARIAN migrants from certain countries will be denied access to Australia through the government’s sponsorship-based resettlement program, according to refugee advocates. According to The Guardian, which first reported on this, the eight prioritised countries include Afghanistan, Bhutan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Myanmar and Syria. But people from Iran, South Sudan and Somalia ... Read More »

Australia’s immigration policy is meant to be blind to race, but is it?

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Analysis: the principle of non discrimination, particularly in the humanitarian program, seems to be eroding Ben Doherty The Guardian Since the abolition of the White Australia policy, the fundamental basis of Australia’s immigration policy has been proudly, declaratively “non-discriminatory”. All of this week and last, the prime minister, home affairs minister and foreign minister all felt obliged to reconfirm this as controversy swirled over what was meant by Australia’s “special attention” for white South African farmers facing violence. “It is ... Read More »

How the message of Martin Luther King’s ‘dream’ got lost

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Martin Luther King Jnr cast an enormous shadow in my childhood. By Matter of Fact host Stan Grant ABC It was a presence that outlived his death — indeed his assassination added potency to his leadership of a black struggle that mirrored our own. This wasn’t the acceptable Dr King as Santa Claus — as one black scholar remarked this week — our Dr King was a man of righteous anger who spoke with moral urgency to an American nation ... Read More »

Do we need human rights law?

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In a world of unprecedented refugee flows, seemingly endless wars and rising levels of xenophobia and inequality, many have been questioning the point of human rights. Kiran Grewal The Conversation What do they mean to the huge numbers of asylum seekers detained across the globe? To the Rohinyga, fleeing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar? To the children dying in bombings across Syria and Yemen? For many the optimism of the post-WWII era when the international human rights system was set up ... Read More »

South Africa hails ‘retraction’ of Australian minister’s offer to white farmers

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However, Australian home affairs minister denies that offer of humanitarian visas has been withdrawn Paul Karp The Guardian The Australian home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, has denied that the Australian government retracted his offer for white South African farmers to come to Australia on humanitarian visas. A spokesperson for Dutton reportedly issued the denial after the South African government claimed Australia had gone back on plans to offer fast-track humanitarian visas to “persecuted” white farmers. The difference of opinion suggests Australia ... Read More »

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

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A life in pictures Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the anti-apartheid activist and former wife of Nelson Mandela, has died. The Guardian During her husband’s incarceration, she campaigned tirelessly for his release and the rights of black South Africans. She later became a controversial figure in South African politics due to allegations of corruption and involvement in acts of brutality. Matt Fidler Read More »

Beaten, abused, humiliated and filmed by Victoria Police

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John’s psychologist was worried about his mental health. She asked the police to check on him. CCTV footage shows they did much more. Nick McKenzie The Age John’s fleshy torso tumbles earthwards as police swarm around him. There are six officers in all, two on his back like wolves on injured prey. The disability pensioner is pinned down. He is in his own front yard and he is helpless. Minutes earlier, the police have arrived at John’s home in Preston ... Read More »

Israel Kills Palestinians and Western Liberals Shrug. Their Humanitarianism Is a Sham.

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“IF THE CONCEPT of intervention is driven by universal human rights, why is it — from the people who identify themselves as liberal interventionists — why do we never hear a peep, a word, about intervening to protect the Palestinians?” Mehdi Hasan The Intercept That was the question I put to the French philosopher, author, and champion of liberal (or humanitarian) interventionism, Bernard-Henri Lévy, on my Al Jazeera English interview show “Head to Head” in 2013. The usually silver-tongued Levy struggled to answer the ... Read More »

Gaza Protests Mark Shift in Palestinian National Consciousness

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Protests in Gaza on Friday 30 March, at which Israeli forces killed more than a dozen Palestinians, were the largest of their kind in several years and are likely to grow over the coming weeks. Nathan Thrall ICG In this Q&A, Nathan Thrall, Director of Crisis Group’s Arab-Israeli Project, says the series of planned marches reflect the Palestinians’ determination to take matters into their own hands after losing faith in outside mediation. What happened last Friday? Friday was 30 March, Land Day, the… Gaza Protests Mark… Read More »

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi urges nation to stay united amid ‘challenges’

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Yangon:  Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called  for her people to remain united, saying the South-east Asian country faces “challenges” at home and abroad, as she marked two years since her party swept to power in a… Shoon Naing WAtoday In a televised speech, Suu Kyi made only a passing reference to the crisis in Rakhine state, where her government faces mounting international condemnation for a military operation against Rohingya Muslims that has sent nearly 700,000 ... Read More »

Fears for asylum seekers as Nauru moves to cut ties to Australia’s high court

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Legal experts say end to long-standing arrangement could leave asylum seekers held in detention with ‘virtually no rights’ Calla Wahlquist The Guardian Nauru has severed a long-standing arrangement to allow appeals to the high court of Australia, impacting on the rights of asylum seekers to challenge the refusal of refugee status. The high court is the final appellate court for Nauru, under an agreement between the two countries that has been in place since 1976. It can be terminated by either government ... Read More »