Humanity

Government response to child abuse royal commission is positive, but will need to go beyond an apology

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The federal government has announced it will establish a National Office for Child Safety and issue a formal apology as part of its response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Timothy W. Jones The Conversation In addition, every state and territory has committed to join the National Redress Scheme. Australia’s major churches and youth organisations have also joined the scheme. The timing of the announcement meets a commitment of the Council of Australian Governments to ... Read More »

The legality of off-shore detention

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In 2002 Australia, along with more than 80 other nations, acceded to the Rome statute by which the International Criminal Court was created.  The court is the first permanent court ever established with jurisdiction to try war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide regardless of the nationality of the perpetrators and regardless of the place where the offences occurred. Julian Burnside John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations As part of the process of implementing the International Criminal Court ... Read More »

What Is Sadness, and What Is Depression?

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I stood onstage as an audience of over a thousand people applauded and cheered. My hosts placed an award in my hands. I nodded to the crowd, and they all rose to their feet. Hooray for you, the strangers shouted. Hooray! Jennifer Finney Boylan The New York Times Less than a week later, I sat up in bed in my house in Maine. A voice said: “You’re nothing. You’re a joke. They’d never have given you that award if they ... Read More »

I visited the Rohingya camps in Myanmar and here is what I saw

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Myanmar recently claimed to have repatriated its first Rohingya refugee family. Cresa Pugh The Conversation But, as an official from the United Nations noted, the country is still not safe for the return of its estimated 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees, who fled to Bangladesh in 2017 to escape an ongoing state-sponsored military campaign and… Indeed, in recent times, the Myanmar military has been building a fence along the 170-mile border and fortifying it with landmines, to prevent the Rohingya from ... Read More »

Italy’s Matteo Salvini shuts ports to migrant rescue ship

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A rescue ship carrying 629 migrants is stranded in the Mediterranean after Italy’s new interior minister refused permission for it to dock. BBC Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing League party, promised during Italy’s recent general election to take a tough stance against migration. He says Malta should accept the Aquarius, but it refused, arguing that it falls under Italy’s jurisdiction. Italy is the main entry for migrants crossing from North Africa to Europe. German charity SOS Méditerranée says the ... Read More »

Dying refugee on Nauru barred from coming to Australia for palliative care

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Border force tells 63-year-old with advanced lung cancer he can go to Taiwan or return to Afghanistan Ben Doherty The Guardian A dying Afghan refugee held on Nauru will not be allowed to come to Australia for palliative care. The Australian Border Force has told 63-year-old Ali*, who is suffering advanced lung cancer, he is deemed to have “refused treatment” because he declined to be moved to Taiwan to die. He told the ABF he did not want to go to Taiwan because he ... Read More »

‘Homelessness doesn’t recognise the border’: ACT’s vulnerable in NSW

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Homelessness doesn’t recognise a state or territory border, says manager at St Benedict’s in Queanbeyan Elaine Lollback. Elliot Williams The Canberra Times However, according to Ms Lollback, the ACT-NSW border is having a significant negative impact on the region’s homeless. St Benedict’s, in Queanbeyan’s Crawford Street, provides meals and support to homeless people, or anyone in need, whether they are an ACT or NSW resident. “We’re one of the few organisations that doesn’t recognise the border, because homelessness doesn’t recognise ... Read More »

Special forces rookie ‘blooded’ by executing an unarmed man

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A Special Air Service Regiment trooper on his first deployment to Afghanistan was pressured to execute an elderly, unarmed detainee by fellow higher-ranking soldiers as part of a “blooding” ritual, according to defence insiders who were witnesses at the scene. Chris Masters & Nick McKenzie The Sydney Morning Herald And on the same mission, another man with a prosthetic leg was killed by machine-gun fire. His plastic leg was souvenired and later taken back to SAS headquarters in Perth to ... Read More »

Édouard Louis: ‘I want to be a writer of violence. The more you talk about it, the more you can undo it’

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His debut about his violent childhood was an international sensation. Now the French author has written a novel about being brutally assaulted Angelique Chrisafis The Guardian In the lonely, shell-shocked days after Édouard Louis was raped and almost killed in his Paris flat in 2012 – as he sat through tense interviews with police officers or scrubbed his home to get rid of his attacker’s smell – he felt the urgent need to write about it. “I had told the police my story,” says the ... Read More »

Abdul’s brother went out to buy flour. He never came home

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In the barracks of Australia’s most elite fighting unit, the incident is discussed in hushed tones. By Nick McKenzie & Chris Masters The Age The Australian special forces soldier led his prisoner towards a ridge above a dry creek bed near the Afghan village of Darwan. The prisoner’s fate lay in the hands of the man leading him to the edge. His own hands were bound. It was September 11, 2012 – 11 years to the day after planes piloted by ... Read More »

Forced marriage convictions are welcome but for many victims stigma is still judge and jury

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In the four years since a change in the law regarding forced marriages in England and Wales, there have been two cases where parents have been convicted of forcing their daughters to marry by taking them out of the… Geetanjali Gangoli The Conversation One case, in Birmingham in May 2018, involved taking a daughter to Pakistan, the other – in Leeds, also in May 2018 – involved a couple luring their daughter to Bangladesh for a… These were the first ... Read More »

Jewish students take aim at ‘distressing’ university paper

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A female suicide bomber who killed dozens of Israeli soldiers has graced the front cover of a University of Sydney student newspaper, and Jewish students who complained about the cover have been “condemned” for… Richard Ferguson The Australian Hamida al-Taher killed more than 50 people, mainly Israeli military personnel, when she blew herself up in Southern Lebanon in 1985. The special edition of the University of Sydney’s student newspaper Honi Soit, produced by the student women’s collective a fortnight ago, put ... Read More »

The Insatiable and Unknowable Anthony Bourdain

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Anthony Bourdain devoured the world. That’s not hyperbole. It’s not even metaphor. Frank Bruni The New York Times There was no place that he wasn’t curious to explore, no food that he wasn’t determined to try, no cap on his hunger and no ceiling, or so it always seemed, on his joy. In his writing and especially on his TV shows, most recently CNN’s “Parts Unknown,” he exhorted the rest of us to follow his lead and open our eyes ... Read More »

NATO welcomes ceasefire with Taliban, calls for peace talks

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed on Thursday Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban, and he called on the militants to lay down their arms and negotiate a peace… “The announcement of a ceasefire shows the seriousness of President Ghani and the Afghan government … I call on the Taliban to join the ceasefire,” Stoltenberg told… “The Taliban will not win on the battlefield. The only way for them to achieve a solution is to ... Read More »

Countering the Challenge of Closing Civic Space

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Since 2012, 72 countries around the world have passed more than 144 pieces of legislation restricting civil society, according to a new report exploring how donors can effectively support civic space. Wendy Williams ProBono The report, Effective Donor Responses to the Challenge of Closing Civic Space published by The International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), set out to examine what can be done to respond to and counter the closing civic space challenge more effectively. It revealed there had been ... Read More »

Israeli Parole Board Denies Palestinian Teen Ahed Tamimi Early Release

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Board says Tamimi, imprisoned for slapping an Israeli soldier, lacks remorse and remains dangerous Yotam Berger Haaretz A parole board has rejected a request by Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who received an eight-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to assaulting an Israeli soldier, for an early release. The Shin Bet security service issued an opinion in the case opposing her release. “The statements she has made about the case indicate her radical ideology, [and] along with the security situation in the ... Read More »