Human Rights

Let’s re-examine men like Bill Clinton and Clarence Thomas over sexual harassment

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The rogue’s gallery of famous men accused of sexual misconduct keeps getting bigger and bigger. But as contemporary names are added to the list, some people are demanding a re-examination of recent historical figures, too. Micheline Maynard ABC Two names coming up frequently are Bill Clinton and Clarence Thomas. With Justice Thomas, who has been a US Supreme Court justice since 1991, some voices are saying he ought to resign from the court for his long-ago harassment of law professor ... Read More »

Boochani arrest is an attack on press freedom

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MEAA, the union for Australian media workers, stands in solidarity with Iranian-Kurdish journalist and regular contributor to Australian publications, Behrouz Boochani, who has reportedly been arrested today on Manus Island. MEAA Chief Executive Paul Murphy said Boochani appeared to have been deliberately targeted by Papua New Guinea police in today’s crackdown because of his high-profile as a journalist reporting from inside the detention centre. “Behrouz has been one of the main sources of factual information about conditions inside the Manus ... Read More »

‘Slow, painful death’ of Yazidi woman’s body and soul while enslaved by the Islamic State

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The Islamic State’s attempt to exterminate the Yazidi people of Iraq did not involve only murder Alia Malek When the militants swept through the north of the country after taking Mosul in the summer of 2014, they executed the religious minority group’s men and elderly women. The Washington Post The children and the other women they took captive. They brainwashed and conscripted the young boys and turned the women and girls into sexual slaves. This enslavement was justified by edicts ... Read More »

Victoria poised to become first Australian state to legalise assisted dying after historic vote

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Assisted dying bill passes upper house, paving the way for it to be confirmed by lower house and passed into law Gay Alcorn The Guardian Victoria is on the verge of becoming the first Australian state to legalise voluntary assisted dying, after the upper house finally approved the right of terminally ill people to request assistance to end their lives. The historic bill was passed by 22 votes to 18 after a gruelling and often bitter all-night debate. The chamber began ... Read More »

Suu Kyi takes a populist, paranoid turn

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Myanmar de facto leader conflated illegal migration with terrorism in a keynote speech, adding her voice to the Islamophobia that has justified persecution of the Rohingya DAVID SCOTT MATHIESON Asia Times Myanmar’s increasingly internationally maligned de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi signaled a neo-populist turn in her speech on Monday to the Asia Europe Foreign Ministers (ASEM) meeting held at Naypyitaw. Echoing similar statements from Islamophobic populist leaders in Europe, the United States and Australia, Suu Kyi said, “conflicts around the ... Read More »

‘ISIS Opens Sex-Slave Market in Turkey’s Capital’

Haifa, a 36-year-old woman from Iraq's Yazidi community who was taken as a sex slave by Islamic State group fighters, stands on a street during an interview with AFP journalists in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk on November 17, 2016.
Haifa and her family were among thousands of members of the Yazidi minority shown no mercy by IS when it swept through areas north and west of the Iraqi capital in 2014. As the extremists advanced, they was singled out for especially cruel persecution in a campaign of violence and kidnapping which the United Nations has branded a genocide. Men were gunned down and thousands of women -- including Haifa and her younger sister -- were taken as sex slaves. / AFP / SAFIN HAMED        (Photo credit should read SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

You may think ISIS’ demise in Iraq and Syria would mean an end to its sex-slave trading, but a new report says Islamic State has merely transferred its slave business into Turkey – including a market in Turkey’s capital Ankara. RAN MEIR  Clarion project This means ISIS is involved in the slavery industry in a European country. During its years of power in parts of Iraq and Syria, ISIS held slave markets both in private and public. With its loss ... Read More »

When the US locked up white Australian immigrants like Australia does to asylum seekers

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Lurking behind the debates about offshore processing lies a little-known historical irony: white Australians were once locked up in immigration centres that bore a striking resemblance to the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres, which were recently harshly criticised by the UN Human Rights Committee. Anne Rees  The Conversation And unsurprisingly, they were far from happy about it. Back in 1921, the United States introduced immigration restrictions based on national quotas. The quotas were tightened in 1924, and again in ... Read More »

Erasing modern slavery is a slow process, but it catches on in Australia

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An important part of any legislation would require businesses to report what goes on in their supply chains And already, the battle lines are drawn Richard Ackland The Guardian Quite smartly human rights are back on the front page, thanks to Wednesday’s outcome of the voluntary postal survey on marriage equality. It should pave the way to a bigger infusion of rights, with the next milestone a Human Rights Act for the entire nation. Possibly, there would have been no ... Read More »

‘Yes’ campaign must keep its promises after 5 million people voted ‘No’ in same-sex marria

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Five million Australians is the number of people who voted “no” in the postal survey for the same reasons I did – because we are concerned about the impact on basic freedoms of speech, conscience and religion – freedoms that we expect to be upheld in our democratic country in accordance with human rights… Karina Okotel * The Canberra Times What has surprised me following the postal survey results is the “yes” campaign’s sudden turnaround to effectively ignore the need ... Read More »

Should sexual harassment be a criminal offence?

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It started with Harvey Weinstein, one of the biggest names in cinema, then went global with the #metoo Twitter hashtag before engulfing the UK’s members of Parliament. Marie Jackson Flipboard The sex scandal spanning Hollywood, Parliament and beyond has exposed a possible gap in UK legislation – sexual harassment is not actually a criminal offence in its own right. The Equality Act currently covers sexual harassment in the workplace – but outside work, prosecutors must use different pieces of legislation, ... Read More »

Manus Island: Those For Whom We Cannot Grieve

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As a nation, overcoming our fear of ‘the other’ and exposing our own vulnerabilities is the key to ending the crisis on Manus Island, writes Elise Addlem. New Matilda The 600 men trapped between the Manus Island detention centre and the unknown that comes next are people defined negatively as individuals. They are not defined, as they once were, as a member of a country, as a father, a son, a partner, a friend. Now, they have been hollowed out ... Read More »

All we want is freedom – not another prison camp

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Over the past four years we have become a mere subject for politicians and the media. Our human dignity has been debased and all our dreams shattered Behrouz Boochani The Guardian Μanus prison has reached a historic landmark. It’s a culmination of years of premeditated violence and affliction. For more than 10 days hundreds of refugees have been refusing to leave the prison camp and, as a result, the situation has morphed into a large-scale humanitarian crisis. If things deteriorate ... Read More »

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lashes Australia over treatment of Manus Island refugees

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has blasted Australia’s handling of the refugee crisis on Manus Island as unacceptable as she seeks another meeting with Malcolm Turnbull on the issue. NZ Herald Ardern has continued to push New Zealand’s offer to accept 150 refugees and asylum seekers from Australia’s offshore detention centres since her first face- to-face meeting with her Australian counterpart in Sydney a week ago. She wants a more substantive conversation when both leaders reach the Philippines for the East ... Read More »

India Rules Sex With a Child Bride Is Always Rape in a Massive Win for Girls’ Rights

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It’s a landmark change to India’s marital rape laws Imogen Calderwood India’s top court has ruled that sex with a child is always rape, quashing a clause that allowed men to have sex with underage girls if they were married to them. Global Citizen The Supreme Court’s landmark decision on Wednesday closed a legal loophole that has historically allowed perpetrators of rape to escape punishment. While the age of consent in India is 18, there was a clause in India’s ... Read More »

UN slams Australia’s human rights record

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Last night, the United Nations Human Rights Committee released its recommendationsfrom its review of Australia’s compliance with a key human rights treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Anna Cody  Maria Nawaz The committee harshly criticised Australia for failures in key areas. The Conversation These included the treatment of refugees, Indigenous rights and inadequate protection of human rights, including the lack of a national human rights act. What is the UN Human Rights Committee? This is the treaty body for the… UN slams Australia’s… Read More »

Sexual violence and harassment going up, according to ABS survey

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Sexual violence against women is on the rise, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) By social affairs correspondent Norman Hermant and Catherine Hanrahan  ABC The latest Personal Safety Survey shows the proportion of women experiencing sexual violence in the past year increased from 1.2 per cent to 1.8 per cent since the last survey conducted in 2012. But very few sexual assaults are being reported to police. In 2012, an estimated 17 per cent of women reported their ... Read More »