Human Rights

Can you be Christian and support the death penalty?

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Pope Francis has declared the death penalty “inadmissible.” This means that the death penalty should not be used in any circumstance. Mathew Schmalz The Conversation It also alters the Catholic Catechism, a compendium of Catholic doctrine, and is now binding on Roman Catholics throughout the… But in spite of his definitive statement, Pope Francis’ act will probably only deepen the debate about whether Christians can support capital punishment. As a Catholic scholar who writes about religion, politics and policy, I ... Read More »

Four Years on, Evidence of ISIS Crimes Lost to Time

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Iraq Should Exhume Yezidi Mass Graves Before Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters descended on Sinjar, Iraq in August 2014, the area was home to 360,000 Yezidis. Belkis Wille HRW Today, at least 90 percent of the Yezidi population has been displaced, after fleeing an ISIS onslaught that killed between 2,000 and 5,500 Yezidis. Additionally, ISIS fighters abducted an estimated 6,300 Yezidis and even forced their women and girls into a system of organized rape and sexual slavery… Four Years on… Read More »

Blood, soil and paper: Thailand’s mission to reduce statelessness

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Last month’s epic rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team from a cave in northern Thailand gripped the world. Janepicha Cheva-Isarakul The Conversation When it emerged that some of the boys are stateless, the news headlines changed in subtle ways from “Thai boys in the cave” to “boys in Thai cave”. Amid the widespread joy over the successful operation, the rescue has drawn attention to the broader issue of statelessness in Thailand. My research into the lives of stateless youth ... Read More »

Norway’s hidden scandal

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The UN rates Norway, the first country to appoint a Children’s Ombudsman, as one of the best countries for a child to grow up in. And yet, according to many Norwegian experts, its child protection system is “dysfunctional” – too many children, they say, are taken into care without good reason. Tim Whewell BBC The conviction of a top child protection psychiatrist for downloading child abuse images is now raising further serious questions. It was a winter’s day, some years ... Read More »

Namibia’s long fight for justice

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Over a century later, descendants of the Herero and Nama peoples, victims of Germany’s forgotten genocide, are demanding reparations – and an apology. Gouri Sharma reports New Internationalist ‘Justice now,’ they shouted. ‘Give us an apology’, they said, ‘genocide is genocide,’ they declared. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in the German port city of Hamburg. Activists, students and journalists from Germany and the African continent had gathered outside St. Michael’s church, the city’s largest, to begin their protest march ... Read More »

Australia and other countries must prioritise humanity in dealing with displaced people and migration

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After six rounds of consultations, United Nations member states have produced the final draft of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). Authors: The Conversation It is preceded by the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which the UN General Assembly adopted in 2016. This was an intergovernmental declaration to initiate development of two separate global compacts: one on refugees and another on migrants. This latest global compact document focuses on the latter issue. It lays ... Read More »

Behrouz Boochani, Manus Island and the book written one text at a time

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The Kurdish Iranian writer’s book was sent largely via messaging services such as Whatsapp over almost five years Helen Davidson The Guardian A Kurdish Iranian writer sought refuge in Australia but was instead sent to the country’s notorious offshore detention centre. For the next five years he wrote a book, one text message at a time. Behrouz Boochani became a well known and award-winning voice from Papua New Guinea’s remote Manus Island, acting as a source for journalists in Australia ... Read More »

Lawyers defending immigrant children in detention are relying on a court case from the 80s

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The Trump administration’s immigration policies have brought an old court case back to life in defense of immigrant children at the border, often referred to as “the Flores settlement.” Kevin Johnson The Conversation The case, which was filed in 1985 and settled in 1997, set the rules that the government must follow when it keeps migrant children in its custody. The latest court order based on the settlement took place on July 30, in which a judge barred immigration authorities ... Read More »

The Brilliant Cathy Wilcox

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Here is a letter by Freddie Steen to the Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.  I agree with every word of it ( Julian Burnside ) The Editor , Cathy Wilcox(“political cartoon, 1/8) cuts to the core: Dutton’s punitive, care-less position on the human status of men seeking asylum, lets young men die. A breach of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention RG Menzies freely signed in 1954. The death of Hamid Khazaie is now world history as a preventable death in administrative ... Read More »

Sri Lankan asylum seekers are being deported from Australia despite fears of torture

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Earlier last month, Thileepan Gnaneswaran was separated from his wife and 11-month-old baby and deported from Australia back to Sri Lanka, the country from which he had fled six years ago. Kirsty Anantharajah The Conversation On his arrival in Colombo, he was taken into custody and questioned by Sri Lankan police. He’s since been released, but the ordeal was no doubt a traumatic experience, given his claims of being interrogated and tortured by Sri Lankan security forces during the country’s ... Read More »

The Australian Government can save Julian Assange

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Julian Assange is an Australian. He is in trouble overseas.  He needs the Australian government’s help. Julian Burnside For six years he has been virtually a prisoner in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.  The reason he is there is because he is the founder and editor of WikiLeaks, which published evidence of war crimes leaked by an American soldier, Bradley (later Chelsea) Manning as a matter of conscience. WikiLeaks has since revealed the secrets of the world’s unaccountable forces. This ... Read More »

Sacking a woman for her views on abortion? Cricket Australia should be ashamed

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But the real villain in the sacking of Angela Williamson is the Tasmanian government for its dastardly abortion policy Melanie Tait The Guardian Tasmania is already a tricky place to speak up. It’s a place where expressing your opinion is likely to aggrieve someone close to you – a sibling, an aunt, an uncle, a boss, a cousin of a boss, a… The news happens very close to people in Tasmania. The drama behind the sacking of Angela Williamson by Cricket Australia happened ... Read More »

Asylum seeker should be alive: Qld coroner

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Australia must do more to care for asylum seekers held offshore after an Iranian man died in entirely preventable circumstances, Queensland’s state coroner says. Christine Flatley Yahoo7 AAP Terry Ryan found 24-year-old Hamid Khazaei would be alive if he’d received proper medical care after developing a leg inflection at the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island. But he died in a Brisbane hospital in September 2014, two weeks after seeking help at the centre’s medical clinic, which didn’t even have ... Read More »

Mentorship key to encouraging Indigenous students into higher degrees

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It took the encouragement of two mentors for Indigenous university student Graham Akhurst to even consider the possibility of enrolling in a higher degree by research. Lucy Stone Brisbane Times Now a master of philosophy student at the University of Queensland, Mr Akhurst said without that encouragement, it would never have crossed his mind to keep studying – it just wasn’t an option. Mr Akhurst’s story is representative of what a new report says is needed to boost the small ... Read More »

Former vice mayor of China’s Lyuliang City sentenced to death for corruption

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Zhang Zhongsheng, former vice mayor of Lyuliang City in north China’s Shanxi Province, was sentenced to death on Wednesday for taking bribes, the Intermediate People’s Court of Linfen in Shanxi Province said. CGTN According to the court, Zhang received bribes in cash and property worth a total of 1.04 billion yuan (165 million US dollars) from 1997 to 2013. Apart from being sentenced to death, Zhang has also been deprived of all his political rights for life and all of ... Read More »

Judge in migrant reunification case says government at fault for ‘losing several hundred parents’

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A federal judge commended the Trump administration on Friday for the progress made reuniting families separated by the Department of Homeland Security’s zero-tolerance immigration policy, but blamed the… John Bowden The Hill U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said that the Trump administration was “at fault” for deporting more than 400 parents while their children remained in custody, according to CBS News. “The government is at fault for losing several hundred parents in the process and that’s where we go next” in ... Read More »