Human Rights

North Sentinel Island: uncontacted tribes’ ‘right to be left alone’ doesn’t gel with broader human rights

John Allen Chau knew he might die. The 26-year-old US evangelical missionary was killed, in late November, on North Sentinel Island, by members of the indigenous community that he sought to convert to Christianity. Karolina Follis The Conversation He saw this as his life’s mission – and understood the risks. North Sentinel Island is part of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. It is home to the Sentinelese people, who are among the world’s last uncontacted tribes – ... Read More »

Hunger, violence and constant stress: The brutal truth of life as a child refugee

As a former child refugee, I feel very strongly for the children on Nauru. I know the sense of uncertainty and hopelessness that comes from being stuck in limbo — not knowing if or when you might get to live freely in a… Sayed Rabbani ABC I was just 9 years old when my family fled Afghanistan for the third time in 2001, when the war in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks on America began. I remember the first airstrike ... Read More »

From America to Ontario: The political impact of the Christian right

Over the past few years, Christian right groups have made inroads into the political landscape of certain countries. Authors: The Conversation Two recent examples have been the American and Brazilian elections. Among Christian right organizations, 81 per cent of white evangelicals are credited with helping propel Donald Trump to the White House in 2016. During the recent midterm elections, 75 per cent of white “born again” evangelicals supported Republican candidates. Their influence was also felt in Brazil with Jair Bolsonaro’s ... Read More »

Denmark Plans to Isolate Unwanted Migrants on a Small Island

COPENHAGEN — Denmark plans to house the country’s most unwelcome foreigners in a most unwelcoming place: a tiny, hard-to-reach island that now holds the laboratories, stables and crematory of a center for researching contagious animal diseases. Martin Selsoe Sorensen The New York Times As if to make the message clearer, one of the two ferries that serve the island is called the Virus. “They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that,” the immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, wrote on ... Read More »

Nauru mental health situation equivalent to ‘victims of torture’, Medecins Sans Frontieres says

The mental health situation on Nauru is equivalent to that of victims of torture, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says, in what it describes as the first independent medical data on mental health conditions on the… AM – By Lexi Metherell ABC MSF treated 208 asylum seekers and refugees in the 11 months its medical staff were on Nauru, until they were expelled by that nation’s Government in October. In a report compiled on the mental health condition of the asylum seekers, refugees and ... Read More »

Protest is a school for democracy

Children are citizens, not mere citizens-to-be. They have political views that deserve an audience. Kei Nishiyama Brisbane Times “What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament last week. His pronouncement was a reaction to a school students’ strike against government inaction on climate change all over the country. The young protestors had said: “We are school kids temporarily sacrificing our education in order to save our futures from dangerous ... Read More »

Medical evacuations are essential to maintain basic human decency

Some lessons are learned too late. For refugee Hamid Khazaei, who died of sepsis contracted on Manus Island, belated reforms can no longer help. Catherine Stubberfield The Sydney Morning Herald Reflecting on his death, the Queensland State Coroner earlier this year could not have been clearer in his findings. That bureaucrats and politicians should never be allowed to override a clinical decision made by a medical doctor. That Australia retains responsibility for those it has relocated under so-called “offshore processing” ... Read More »

Under far-right pressure, Europe retreats from UN migration pact

Populists seize chance to put favorite issue on agenda ahead of EU vote, causing ructions among governments. Eline Schaart Politico A previously obscure 34-page, jargon-filled document is causing political convulsions across Europe — even though it’s not even legally binding.   Italy this week became the latest in a string of European countries to say it would not sign the U.N.’s Global Compact on Migration at a ceremony in Marrakech in just under two weeks. From the Netherlands through Belgium and Germany ... Read More »

South Sudan region ‘sees huge increase in rape’, says charity

Dozens of women and girls have been subjected to rape and other violence over the past 10 days in a northern region of South Sudan, Doctors Without Borders has said. BBC A midwife at the charity said 125 women came to its clinic in Bentiu, more than in the whole of the previous 10 months. They included girls under 10, women over 65 and pregnant women, she added. The country has been ravaged by civil war for most of its ... Read More »

Life on Nauru’s ‘Limboland’ examined in new documentary

The frustration of asylum seekers suspended between states is laid bare in a new documentary, Limboland. David McCowen The Canberra Times Australian artist Lachlan Hinton and photojournalist Mridula Amin travelled to Nauru in September, returning with first-hand video accounts of refugees detained on the tiny pacific island. “The people that we have managed to interview are people that have never been seen or heard by the Australian public,” Hinton said. “They’re people speaking out for the first time about their ... Read More »

Spending cuts breach UK’s human rights obligations, says report

Study finds poorest lost out most from policies on tax, benefits and public services Cuts to public services and benefits that disproportionately affect the least well-off, single parents and disabled people put the government in breach of its human rights obligations, a study for the… Patrick Butler The Guardian Echoing the recent findings of the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty, Philip Alston, the study concluded the scale of the cuts and their lopsided impact on the most disadvantaged were a… “There ... Read More »

Former archbishop Philip Wilson’s lawyers say forcing a child into a sex act wasn’t indecent assault in the 1970s

Lawyers appealing former archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson’s conviction for covering up child abuse have argued that convincing a child to perform a sex act did not constitute indecent assault in the 1970s. Ben Millington ABC Wilson was convicted in May of concealing the indecent assault of a boy by paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the Hunter region of NSW. The court found that in 1976 the victim confided in Wilson that he had been sexually abused, yet Wilson failed ... Read More »

Slovenia appoints first female army chief

Slovenia has appointed its first-ever female army chief, also the only woman in charge of a NATO country’s military. BELGRADE – Anadolu Agency Hurriyet Maj. Gen. Alenka Ermenc, 55, will officially take the reins of the Slovenian Armed Forces from her predecessor Alan Geder in a ceremony on Nov. 28. Slovenian President Borut Pahor expressed his belief that Ermenc will help strengthen the nation’s military capabilities. Ermenc last week was promoted to general, also the first Slovenian woman to reach that rank. Ermenc has served in the ... Read More »

United Nations finds the deadliest place for women is their home

Washington: Last year, 238 women across the globe were killed every day. Six women were killed every hour, at least four of them at the hands of someone they knew. Deanna Paul The Sydney Morning Herald / The Washington Post According to the 2018 report on the killing of women and girls released by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, about 87,000 were killed worldwide in 2017, 58 per cent of them by an intimate partner or relative. Many of ... Read More »

Mexico: Forced Disappearance, an Ongoing Crime

As human rights lawyers, we generally don’t rank the crimes we document. But after interviewing the families of countless victims over the years, I’m convinced there’s no crime more cruel than the “disappearance” of a human being. Daniel Wilkinson HRW Published in El Universal In 2003, during one of my first research trips to Mexico, I interviewed women in Guerrero state who had lost family members during the country’s “dirty war” in the early 1970s. Their missing loved ones were presumed ... Read More »

The suffering of sex slaves in the Congo: ‘I was one woman to 20 men’

Far away from the world’s attention, a vicious conflict in Africa’s Democratic Republic of the Congo has resulted in countless women being used as sex slaves. David Wroe The Age Kabadi Tshibuabua’s daughter lagged only a few metres behind her, but it was far enough. The Bana Mura militia had come to their village of Cinq, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), at 7am one Sunday in April last year. Tshibuabua grabbed her two children and fled into ... Read More »