Human Rights

Australian Catholic Church rejects calls for priests to report child abuse confessions

Australia’s Catholic Church has rejected calls for priests to be compelled to report child abuse revealed in confessionals. By Euan McKirdy and Ben Westcott, CNN The Church said Friday it would accept “98%” of recommendations made by a high-level government inquiry into child sexual abuse, which uncovered shocking accounts of widespread abuse inside… But church leaders said that they would maintain the sanctity of confession, arguing to remove it would infringe on religious liberties. “The only recommendation we can’t accept ... Read More »

Refugees in Indonesia don’t want to get on boats. They want basic rights

If they get access to a fair resettlement process, refugees won’t be interested in anything people smugglers are trying to sell Asher Hirsch The Guardian This week, home affairs minister Peter Dutton again reiterated the false claim that “there are 14,000 people in Indonesia waiting to get on to boats now”. I’ve just returned from a research trip in Indonesia, where I spoke to many refugees. Such a claim is not only disingenuous, it also highlights the double standards of ... Read More »

China and human rights: Is Australia ‘making a difference’?

Australia’s relationship with China has been tumultuous of late: political scandals, security threats, a perceived need for draconian new legislation, angry rhetoric from Beijing. Sophie Richardson Brisbane Times It’s not a surprise that officials, including members of the new Australian government, and ordinary people across Australia have struggled to find the right answers to a complex and charged relationship. But as Australia tries to strike a balance between benefiting from and being threatened by its relationship with Beijing, a key ... Read More »

Explainer: why the UN has found Myanmar’s military committed genocide against the Rohingya

The UN Human Rights Council released a new report last Monday, which calls last year’s violence against the Rohingya “genocide”. Anthony Ware The Conversation Released almost exactly a year after the start of devastating violence that drove 671,500 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh within a matter of months, the report found conclusive evidence that Myanmar’s armed… Using the strongest language to date, the report calls for the Myanmar commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing, and five generals to be prosecuted. What was the ... Read More »

Cate Blanchett urges UN to act on Rohingya Muslim refugees

Oscar-winning actor Cate Blanchett has told the UN Security Council that nothing prepared her for “the extent and depth of suffering” she saw when she visited camps in Bangladesh for Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled a… The Australian AP In her very different role as a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency, Blanchett said she heard “gut-wrenching accounts” of torture, rape, people seeing loved ones killed before their eyes, and… “I am a mother, and I saw my children ... Read More »

Nauru’s asylum seeker tents demolished ahead of Pacific Islands Forum

Sources say move intended to spare visiting leaders the sight of people living in notorious camp Helen Davidson, Saba Vasefi and Ben Doherty The Guardian Nauru’s government has moved asylum seekers out of the detention centre and demolished the tents ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum next week. The tents at regional processing centre 3 (RPC-3) were erected five years ago, and at least 100 people have continued to live in them since the facility was deemed “open” in 2015. ... Read More »

China Is Treating Islam Like a Mental Illness

The country is putting Muslims in internment camps—and causing real psychological damage in the process. Sigal Samuel The Atlantic One million Muslims are being held right now in Chinese internment camps, according to estimates cited by the UN and U.S. officials. Former inmates—most of whom are Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority—have told reporters that over the course of an indoctrination process lasting several months, they were forced to renounce Islam, criticize their own Islamic beliefs and those of fellow inmates, and recite Communist ... Read More »

Russia: Chechen Leader Threatens Human Rights Defenders

International Rights Groups Urge Putin to Curb Kadyrov (Moscow) – Russian President Vladimir Putin should condemn recent statements by Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s leader, threatening human rights defenders, Human Rights Watch said today. HRW Kadyrov vowed to carry out collective punishment against families of alleged insurgents. In a joint open letter, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Front Line Defenders urged Putin to ensure that Kadyrov is not permitted to carry out his unlawful threats against human rights defenders and suspects’ ... Read More »

Book Review: Behrouz Boochani’s unsparing look at the brutality of Manus Island

It is a matter of wonder that Behrouz Boochani was able to write No Friend but the Mountains at all. Alex Reilly The Conversation He did so while in Manus prison, using text messages in Farsi on smuggled mobile phones. Egyptian and Australian academic Omid Tofighian worked closely with Boochani to translate the text into English. In a detailed introduction to the book, Tofighian explains that Boochani’s writing contributes to a Kurdish literary tradition. He describes his style as “horror ... Read More »

Why it’s so hard to hold priests accountable for sex abuse

A grand jury report recently found shocking levels of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church. It uncovered, in six dioceses, the sexual abuse of over 1,000 children and named 301 perpetrator priests. Carolyn M. Warner The Conversation It also found that religious officials had turned a blind eye to the abuse. In response, Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, wrote a letter addressed to “the People of God,” saying, “With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ... Read More »

‘Darkness surrounds me’: Nauru child refugee paints pictures of despair

Medicated, terrified and traumatised, seven-year-old Ahoora has been held for five years on the island. Experts say his drawings reflect a broader, familial deterioration Saba Vasefi and Ben Doherty The Guardian Given pens, Ahoora draws. They are not the conventional drawings of a seven-year-old child: he draws pictures of children on fire, of sharks circling small terrified boys, of crying faces behind bars. Seven-year-old Ahoora, a refugee, has spent most of his life on Nauru. He arrived on the island as ... Read More »

New program to tackle domestic violence during pregnancy in Western Australia

Roia Atmar was no stranger to violence when her husband set her on fire while she was holding her baby daughter, but she believes things could have been very different if the medical professionals she… Sarah Collard ABC Ms Atmar was a child bride. She was 14 when she came to Australia from Afghanistan, and had her first child at 15, before having three other children to her abuser. She said the abuse started early in the marriage. “For a ... Read More »

Australia’s barbaric policy confronted by Boochani’s prison memoir

Kurdish-Iranian journalist and writer Behrouz Boochani has been exiled on Manus Island since August 2013. Arnold Zable The Age He fled Iran in fear of his safety, as a result of his advocacy on behalf of Kurdish people. I was introduced to Boochani in late 2014. His acclaimed book No Friend but the Mountains was published on July 31. Arnold Zable: Behrouz, for years you have been defined as a refugee, and for a time, as a number – MEG 45 – reduced, as ... Read More »

To end abortion, don’t ban it. Support families instead.

(RNS) — Anti-abortion leaders have been thrilled with President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Katelyn Beaty Many hope he can be pivotal in overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion. Priests for Life has called Kavanaugh “exactly what we need on the Supreme Court.” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, tweeted, “THIS IS NOT A DRILL: Kennedy is RETIRING. We can overturn Roe and Doe. ... Read More »

WA Parliament prepares state for debate on euthanasia, assisted suicide

A parliamentary committee has recommended the introduction of new laws to permit euthanasia and assisted suicide in Western Australia. Nathan Hondros WAtoday Morley MP Amber-Jade Sanderson tabled a 600-page report of a committee on the controversial issue on Thursday morning containing the proposal, which would permit those dying from a condition causing “grievous and irremediable suffering” to self-administer a… The legislation would permit a doctor to euthanise a patient in circumstances where they cannot self-… WA Parliament prepares… Read More »

Ban ‘killer robots’ to protect fundamental moral and legal principles

When drafting a treaty on the laws of war at the end of the 19th century, diplomats could not foresee the future of weapons development. Bonnie Docherty The Conversation But they did adopt a legal and moral standard for judging new technology not covered by existing treaty language. This standard, known as the Martens Clause, has survived generations of international humanitarian law and gained renewed relevance in a world where autonomous weapons are on the brink of making their own ... Read More »