Activism

India scraps tax on sanitary pads in boost for girls’ education

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India has scrapped a controversial tax on sanitary pads, in a move hailed by campaigners who say it will help more girls to go to school during their periods and boost their job prospects. ABC Reuters Activists said removing the tax on pads tackled one of the biggest barriers to education for girls, who were often forced to stay at home due to a lack of access to clean hygiene products, while also facing stigma and a… Periods were among ... Read More »

Nine activists defending the Earth from violent assault

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On a planet of billions, nine represent the strong minority battling murder in the global corruption of land rights Jonathan Watts The Guardian Individually, they are stories of courage and tragedy. Together, they tell a tale of a natural world under ever more violent assault. The portraits in this series are of nine people who are risking their lives to defend the land and environment in some of the planet’s most remote or conflict-riven regions. From the Coral Triangle and ... Read More »

Why attorneys represent immigrants for free

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Scores of lawyers, paralegals and law students are volunteering to help immigrant families caught in the crosshairs of the Trump administration’s bid to drastically reduce the number of people without papers in the U.S. Eduardo Capulong The Conversation One of these movement’s highest priorities is assisting the more than 2,500 children separated from their parents in government custody. Mobilized by the American Bar Association, nonprofits like Lawyers for Good Government, the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Immigration Lawyers ... Read More »

The mystery firm that became the NRA’s top election consultant

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Since 2014, the gun rights group has paid millions of dollars to a little known contractor for ads in key Senate races. Did it break campaign finance laws in the process? Mike Spies Politico Heading into the 2014 midterm elections, polls showed the Republican Party had an opportunity to retake control of the Senate. Such a change would severely limit President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda during his final two years in office, an outcome that was especially attractive to the ... Read More »

Swedish activist granted Palestinian citizenship

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Palestinian resistance group Hamas condemns Israel for not allowing Benjamin Ladraa to enter Palestine World Bulletin Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas granted Palestinian citizenship Friday to Swedish activist Benjamin Ladraa, who has been walking from Sweden to Palestine to raise awareness on human rights violations. “This step is taken to appreciate Ladraa’s efforts and his position to support the Palestinian people,” Abbas said according to a report by the official Wafa news agency. Ladraa was barred by Israeli police from entering ... Read More »

George W. Bush’s former press sec chides Trump for freewheeling speech

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President Donald Trump drew a rebuke on Thursday night from George W. Bush’s White House press secretary after he mocked the “thousand points of light” volunteer effort of Bush’s father during a… John Wagner Washington Post, New York Times The Sydney Morning Heral “This is so uncalled for,” Ari Fleischer wrote on Twitter. “Going after a 94-year-old, former President’s promotion of volunteerism. I don’t mind [Trump] being a fighter. I do mind him being rude.” Trump took aim at the ... Read More »

Monash student, Hazara refugee and human rights advocate wins prestigious Scholarship to Oxford University

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Sitarah Mohammadi was eight years old when she first learnt to read and write. Born in Afghanistan, she was told that girls and women were second-class, they had no rights and that they didn’t need an education. Monash University It was only when she escaped to Australia that she was given the chance to go to school, and to realise just how lucky she was. Growing up as a Hazara refugee in Australia has taught this Monash international relations and ... Read More »

Hong Kong pro-democracy protests draw low turnout, 21 years after British handover to China

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Hong Kong’s annual pro-democracy protest saw one of the lowest turnouts in history, as thousands braved sweltering heat to protest against Beijing’s tightening grip over the city on the 21st anniversary of its return to Chinese rule. ABC Organisers said 50,000 protested, in one of their lowest estimates since the annual march started in 2003. Police said 9,800 attended at the peak — the lowest figure on their record. Hong Kong’s opposition has lost much steam in the past year, ... Read More »

Saudis arrest another women’s right activist

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The arrest of Hatoon al-Fassi is part of Riyadh’s crackdown on activists in the kingdom. AlJazeera Saudi Arabia has arrested Hatoon al-Fassi, a Saudi women’s rights activist and writer, as part of its crackdown on activists in the kingdom, a human rights group said. ALQST, a UK-based rights group focusing on Saudi Arabia, confirmed to Al Jazeera on Wednesday al-Fassi’s arrest. Considered a leading figure in women’s rights in the region, and the kingdom, in particular, al-Fassi has long been fighting for the… ... Read More »

Brexit latest: EU starts mind games calling on nations and firms to prepare for NO DEAL

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BRUSSELS is urging EU member states, companies and organisations to ensure preparations for a “no-deal” Brexit are underway amid concerns Britain has made “no substantial progress” on the Irish border issue. Simon Osborne Express Draft conclusions for next week’s major EU summit warn contingency planning for a hard exit in March 2019 must be accelerated across the bloc. The document says: “The European Council renews its call upon member states and all stakeholders to step up their work on preparedness ... Read More »

Charities aren’t doing enough to determine if they’re really making a difference

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First do no harm. It’s a basic tenet of medicine. When intervening in peoples lives – even with good intentions – we need to check whether we are doing them any damage. Paul Montgomery The Conversation But sadly, this key principle from the medical profession has not been taken to heart by… The third sector has become a common provider of social and health services in high income countries, from children’s services to offender rehabilitation, but we know very little ... Read More »

#AllWomenCount: art and culture at the forefront of World Refugee Day

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The number of forced migrants is now at an all-time global high – and a majority of these are women and children. Images of refugee women are a familiar sight in press coverage of the variously defined “refugee” or “migrant crisis”. Anna Ball The Conversation These are portrayals of victims – their eyes downcast, arms clutching a young child in tearful desperation as they teeter aboard an inflatable craft. Yet these images do not represent the richly complex identities of ... Read More »

Community Sector Protests Cuts to Asylum Seeker Support Payments

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Community sector leaders have gathered in Canberra to protest cuts to asylum seeker support payments, as a new report reveals that government policy is driving people seeking asylum into destitution. Luke Michael ProBono Leaders from 10 national NGOs, along with a delegation of asylum seekers and community members, gathered at Parliament House on Monday to urge the federal government to stop cuts to the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS). This service provides asylum seekers with a basic safety net of ... Read More »

Russia: Government vs. Rights Groups

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The Battle Chronicle For the past four years, the Kremlin has sought to stigmatize criticism or alternative views of government policy as disloyal, foreign-sponsored, or even traitorous. HRW It is part of a sweeping crackdown to silence critical voices that has included new legal restrictions on the internet, on freedom of expression, on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and on other fundamental freedoms. An enduring, central feature has been the 2012 law requiring independent groups ... Read More »

U.S. expected to retreat from main U.N. rights forum: activists, diplomats

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GENEVA (Reuters) – Talks with the United States over how to reform the main U.N. rights body have failed to meet Washington’s demands, activists and diplomats say, suggesting that the Trump administration will quit the… Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Alison Williams A U.S. source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the withdrawal appeared to be “imminent” but had no details. Diplomatic sources said it was not a question of if but of when the United States retreats ... Read More »

Security bill will muzzle human rights activists

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In this era of so-called “fake news”, civil society plays a critical role in holding governments to account. Claire O’Rourke Brisbane Times And yet, with Labor capitulating to the government on the proposed National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill, it may soon become a crime to hold the Australian government to account on its human rights record. The truth itself would not be a defence. By joining regimes around the world in passing new, restrictive laws attempting ... Read More »