Humanity

How spending time in city parks helps asylum seekers to feel at home

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Across Europe, unprecedented numbers of asylum seekers are currently waiting for a decision on their refugee status Dominika Blachnicka-Ciacek Clare Rishbeth  Unable to legally work or study, and with very limited funds, many of them feel as though they’re in a state of limbo; like their lives have been put on hold. The Conversation With shrinking public sector funding, there are even fewer resources available to help asylum seekers in this position. But now, new research shows that urban parks ... Read More »

Humanity in the age of neo-cynicism

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What keeps societies from falling apart is their members’ spontaneous and unforced compliance with unwritten laws, with principles that they do not even have to be reminded of in order to adhere to. Pantelis Boukalas ekathimerini Values such as solidarity, altruism and hospitality may be set out in charters or schoolbooks. But that is of little consequence if it is not in a person to empathize with a stranger’s suffering. And when we say empathize, we mean standing by another ... 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 »

Varadkar’s homeless comments reveal his true colours

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The Taoiseach has betrayed a lack of empathy that is matched only by his contempt for our intelligence Áine Carroll The Irish Times  Controversy has erupted after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stood over his claim that “Ireland has one of the lowest homelessness (rates) by international standards compared with our peers.” He continued by saying, “[I]t is a good thing in Ireland, that we have a low level of homelessness compared to our peer countries”, quickly followed by, “but what’s better ... Read More »

‘A way of healing’: Art and memory in Latin America

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More than 20 years have passed since the civil war ended in Guatemala and Chile returned to democracy, but the impact of extreme state violence is still keenly felt. BBC As part of a BBC radio series on protest art in Latin America, Louise Morris travelled to both countries and asked if there was a role for art both to demand justice and collectively memorialise those lost. A woman sits centre stage reading aloud. At regular intervals a dentist enters ... 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 »

The Cyprus problem, Turkey and Socrates on justice

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In Book 1, of Plato’s famous dialogue The Republic, Thrasymachus, one of Socrates’ interlocutors, states that justice is that which serves the interests of the strongest so that what is right is always determined by might. <style type=”text/css”> .wpb_animate_when_almost_visible { opacity: 1; }</style> Dr Edward H Spence * Cyprus Mail Socrates refutes Thrasymachus’ notion of justice by simply arguing that justice as a virtue cannot be what serves the interests of the strongest as those interests might result in vice ... 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 »

Why is it nice to be nice? Solving Darwin’s puzzle of kindness

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World Kindness Day is a global 24-hour celebration dedicated to paying-it-forward and focusing on the good Eva M Krockow Andrew M Colman Briony Pulford We are encouraged to perform acts of kindness such as giving blood, cleaning a communal microwave at work, or volunteering at a nursing home. The Conversation Of course, even without the encouragement of an international awareness day, kindness and selflessness are widespread among both humans and animals. Many people donate to charity and feel significantly happier ... Read More »

The human touch: Australian eyes that ‘can’t look away’ from Manus

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As the crisis on Manus Island deepens, it sheds light on an unwritten history, still in the making, of deep friendships between asylum seekers and their supporters in… Arnold Zable The Age Contrary to the accusations made by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton that advocates are telling asylum seekers on Manus Island or elsewhere what to do, their long-time supporters are extremely worried about the men’s wellbeing and… They are torn between deep anxiety at the danger and stress the men are ... 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 »

‘We are not very caring’: Michelle de Kretser on Australian society

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In her new novel The Life to Come, the Miles Franklin-winning author critiques Australia’s character, and the boom that made us bad Brigid Delaney The Guardian Children of Australia’s long boom – who travel the world only to complain about lack of good coffee, who signal virtue by retweeting an asylum seeker story, who couldn’t imagine living in a house with only one bathroom, who are “really into food” – may find Michelle de Kretser’s new book an uncomfortable read. ... Read More »

‘It’s been a night from hell’: Homeless pushed out of Santa Ana River face uncertain futures

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Lisa Weber pushed her red-rimmed glasses higher on the bridge of her nose Thursday morning as she pondered how best to move her belongings off the dirt trail she has called home for months. Hannah Fry Los Angeles Times Her blue eyes seemed to show a glimmer of hope in contrast with her doleful expression. A friend living in a tent farther down the trail passed by and waved. ‘I’m not scared because I have a plan’ Back to sleeping ... Read More »

There Will Soon Be Floods Of Climate Refugees: Will They Get Asylum?

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New Zealand is considering creating a new visa for people fleeing environmental disasters brought on by climate change Adele Peters FastCompany In 2012, a migrant worker from the tiny, low-lying Pacific island nation of Kiribati tried to become a refugee in New Zealand, arguing that he and his family were afraid to go home because of the impacts of rising sea levels. The courts didn’t accept that the dangers were imminent–or that they were due to reasons of persecution that ... Read More »