Humanity

Europe struggles to atone for its colonial evils

At a handover ceremony held in a Berlin church on Wednesday, Namibian officials received the remains of indigenous people killed in their country by German forces more than a century ago. Edited by Max J. Rosenthal and Ruby Mellen By Ishaan Tharoor The Washington Post The grisly contents included 19 skulls, a scalp and bones belonging to five skeletons, all of which had been been housed for decades on dusty shelves in German universities and museums. The remains are a ... 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 »

What we can learn from John McCain’s civic vulnerability

In the countless reflections on the life of U.S. Sen. John McCain, his interventions to shut down ignorant and racist comments about his adversary Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election campaign have featured prominently. Alan Sears The Conversation McCain didn’t just stop the interventions. He forcefully challenged them and spoke up for the character and integrity of Obama. My opponent is “a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared of as President of ... 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 »

Indigenous suicide in custody: ‘How have lives just slipped away?’

Guardian Australia has uncovered 20 suicides since 2008. Each death should have been prevented Jack Banister The Guardian Megan Williams was in her last year at school when the findings of the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody were released in 1991. The Wiradjuri woman, now an academic at the University of Technology, Sydney, remembers feeling “so confused that people could die in state care”. “I was a student grappling with that injustice, but never thinking that would be ... Read More »

Russia’s Putin softens pension reforms after outcry

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has softened planned pension changes following angry protests and a slump in his approval rating. BBC He said the retirement age for women would be increased from 55 to 60 instead of to 63. But a five-year increase for men, to 65, would stay. In a rare TV address, Mr Putin said the country’s working-age population was shrinking, making change essential. Unions have warned that many will not live long enough to claim a pension. Russian ... Read More »

How Brazil can beat the odds and restore a huge swathe of the Amazon

Over the past few decades the international community has watched as the destruction of Earth’s largest forest has intensified. Authors: The Conversation Deforestation has been eating away at the Amazon’s fringes, mainly for commercial cattle ranching and agricultural plantation. The agriculture, livestock, mining and infrastructure sectors have been promoted due to powerful financial and development pressures for high profits and economic growth. Meanwhile, indigenous peoples, traditional communities and smallholders have had their livelihoods imperilled, while carbon emissions have increased, water ... Read More »

The longevity dividend: how ageing populations could boost economic productivity

People are generally living longer than previous generations across most parts of the world. Matt Flynn The Conversation Rising life expectancy is a result of advances in medicine as well as improving living standards and healthier lifestyles. But while this should be celebrated for social reasons, is it beneficial in economic terms? Does the increase in the older population create an economic burden on society or can older people be mobilised to enhance the productivity of communities in which they ... Read More »

Will John McCain be the last Republican leader in the Senate to address climate change?

“He was just doing his job.” When I asked a longtime staffer to Sen. John McCain why the senator battled to address climate change in the early 2000s, that was his answer. Tim Profeta The Conversation A simple answer, but one essential to understanding how McCain led those early efforts to combat the challenge when no one else would step forward. Although others had brought climate change as an issue to the Senate, McCain, a Republican, and democratic Sen. Joseph ... Read More »

Myanmar’s Stalled Transition

Aung San Suu Kyi’s government appears stuck amid international condemnation of the Rohingya’s mass displacement and domestic unease about the economy. ICG To nudge Myanmar’s post-junta transition forward, the UN should combine engagement with pressure for accountability for crimes against humanity and eventual refugee return. What’s new?  Aung San Suu Kyi’s government is halfway through its first term, in what was to be a crucial phase in Myanmar’s transition away from authoritarian military rule. Thus far, however, her government is a… ... 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 »

We can all help to improve communication for people with disabilities

Around 5% of the population, or 1.2 million Australians have a communication disability. Communication disability can arise if a person has a health condition affecting their speech, language, listening, understanding, reading, writing, or… Authors: The Conversation Communication disability can be lifelong (as for people with cerebral palsy or intellectual disability) or acquired (as for people with stroke and aphasia, motor neurone disease, or… All people need to be able to communicate in order to work, build relationships, and seek the ... 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 »

Deaths inside

Indigenous Australian deaths in custody More than 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have died in custody since the end of the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody in 1991. The Guardian The royal commission emphasised the importance of monitoring and maintaining accurate data about deaths in custody. Despite public reporting and tracking through the Australian Institute of Criminology’s national program, detailed, up-to-date information is hard to find. Guardian Australia’s reporting… Deaths… 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 »