Category Archives: Human Rights

RAMESH THAKUR. India’s democracy is strained by illiberalism

India continues to be robustly, even chaotically, democratic. But its freedom is under growing threat. 

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PHIL ROBERTSON. A new wave of atrocities is being committed against Muslims in Burma’s Rakhine state

The burned-out mosques in Sittwe, the capital of the Rakhine state in western Burma, loom as silent reminders of an atrocity, hiding behind overgrown bushes and cement walls amid the daily port city bustle.  

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GEORGE BROWNING. Benjamin Netanyahu – Hero or Villain?

Benjamin Netanyahu is about to make an historic visit to Australia.   Should he come and how should he be received? Having just guided legislation through the Knesset ‘legalising’ the illegal: settler outposts on private Palestinian land; he has seemingly set … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN SJ. The Catholic wrap-up at the Royal Commission

Last Monday, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse commenced its three-week examination of the causes of child sexual abuse and cover up in the Catholic Church in Australia over the last 60 years. The statistics were … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN, TIM COSTELLO, ROBERT MANNE and JOHN MENADUE. We can stop the boats and also act decently, fairly and transparently

The only way forward in dealing with Manus Island and Nauru is for bipartisan commitment to keep the boats stopped while settling refugees in Australia.

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Catholic Church and the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“It would be easy to write the problems off as a few ‘bad apples’;  however, the problems that have brought the [Catholic] Church to the very edge of disaster and beyond, trashing its reputation as a moral leader, were never … Continue reading

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Welcoming the Stranger

In solidarity with refugees, young Catholics joined in a Mass in Lafayette Square outside the White House. See link below to article in ‘America, The Jesuit Review’.  

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ALEX WODAK. Do large seizures of illicit drugs really make a difference?

Large seizures of illicit drugs always attract considerable publicity, and are no doubt very positive for the law enforcement agencies and politicians involved. But do they benefit the community?  

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John Menadue. What does it mean to be an Australian? Are we still the land of the second chance?

The Macquarie legacy is still with us. It underpins our best instincts to give all residents in this country, whether Australian born, migrants or refugees an equal opportunity in life, a second chance. That ethos of redemption is a core part … Continue reading

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AHMAD RIZKY M. UMAR. ASEAN countries should find a solution to end the persecution of Rohingya.

ASEAN’s non-intervention is aggravating the plight of ethnic Rohingya Muslims suffering widespread abuse by the Burmese military in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The Rohingya are one of the world’s most persecuted ethnic minorities.  

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IAN WEBSTER. A tribute to Anne Deveson – understanding the homeless mentally ill

Anne Deveson’ s media presence spearheaded the media’s involvement in public health and mental health. She contributed at so many levels – social commentaries and documentaries -which challenged our sensibilities.

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ERIN GILLEN. Women’s March on Washington (and Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra)

On Saturday 21st January, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to descend on Washington DC to march to highlight the simple message that women’s rights are human rights. The march is expected to … Continue reading

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BRUCE ARNOLD. The Hanson Card is unworkable rather than just very nasty

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has reportedly proposed that every Australian be required to carry a national identity card. The rationale? The card will supposedly significantly reduce fraud by non-citizens who are resident in Australia.  The proposal may be good … Continue reading

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TONY KEVIN. Obama’s years of promise and frustration.

For eight years I have delighted in Barack Obama’s words – even richer and more inspiring to see and hear in his ringing tones , than to read in cold print. . Those days are, sadly, about to depart. The … Continue reading

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SPENCER ZIFCAK. Robert Manne v Ramesh Thakur v Gillian Triggs: What on Earth is Going On?

If one were ever in this situation, who would one wish to speak for them: George Brandis or Gillian Triggs? That’s the choice.  

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CHRIS SIDOTI. 30th Anniversary of the Australian Human Rights Commission. Part 2 of 2.

Human rights work has a cost, and we need to remember the cost and the toll that it takes on the people who are doing it. Those who are paying the price need the support of those who are not … Continue reading

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CHRIS SIDOTI. 30th Anniversary of the Australian Human Rights Commission. Part 1 of 2.

Chris Sidoti recounts the context for the establishing of the AHRC, (formerly called the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission) and records the frequent conflicts over the years between the AHRC and the government of the day. This is an … Continue reading

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BRUCE THOM. Agonies of an American scientist under Trump.

A truly great nation must be compassionate, loving, kind, rational and celebrate diversity. 

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PETER DAY. Homelessness v houselessness

We need to change the way we do charity and welfare; we’re out of kilter: lots of giving and receiving of things, but too little giving of ourselves – we just don’t have the time. It hardly needs saying, “People … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. AHRC President Gillian Triggs: a year of living dangerously. Part 3 of 3.

In hearings before a Senate estimates committee on 18 October, Triggs said her interview had been inaccurately reported, with quotes taken out of context and even fabricated. When the paper’s editor replied they held an audio recording of the interview, … Continue reading

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I am ashamed to be Australian.

I decided to become a photojournalist to help refugees tell their stories, and to show their plight.  I was stunned by the lack of compassion and the outright racism I saw in my countrymen.  I was angry as only a … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. AHRC President Gillian Triggs: a year of living dangerously. Part 2 of 3.

Asylum seekers and children in detention There are four separate issues that typically get lumped into one confusing debate: the policies on asylum seekers, boats turnback and offshore detention; and the treatment of detainees. 

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RAMESH THAKUR. AHRC President Gillian Triggs: a year of living dangerously. Part 1 of 3.

Increasingly, voters are frustrated with parties captured by special interests or catering to noisy minority activists. Citizens want competent governance that promotes the general welfare.  

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Australia’s Death by Numbers

The dead refugee had a name. But even in death Australia did not want to humanize him. For years now he had been no more than a registration number — BRF063 — under the country’s cruel refugee deterrence system known … Continue reading

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WALTER HAMILTON. Japan’s New Blood

The Australian servicemen who left behind mixed-race children during the postwar Occupation of Japan set in motion changes that are chipping away at a nation’s stubborn myth of racial homogeneity.  

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WALTER HAMILTON. ‘Fighting Monsters’

Australians, Americans and Japanese have been ‘fighting monsters’––the monsters of war remembrance––since 1945. A high-profile visit to Pearl Harbor during the week seemed to suggest another monster was being laid to rest. But while that piece of theatre left much … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. UN rebuffs Netanyahu and Trump.

The United Nations Security Council’s pre-Christmas condemnation of Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied territories surprised many and infuriated Israel. The move was rebuff to both Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to incoming US President-elect Donald Trump. How … Continue reading

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Aleppo and Fallujah.

In light of the civilian disaster unfolding presently in Aleppo, it is timely to revisit the uncontradicted claims unwarranted action against civilians in Fallujah supervised by Australian military commander, Jim Molan. This piece was first published in 2008. If correct, … Continue reading

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Broken men in paradise.

‘The world’s refugee crisis knows no more sinister exercise in cruelty than Australia’s island prisons.’ In this long, searing account in the New York Times, Op-ed columnist, Roger Cohen, describes what he found on a recent visit to Manus Island.

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ANDREW AILES. Peace on earth – the children of Aleppo.

Peace on Earth Peace on earth. Goodwill to men, Echoes like Sullivan’s Great Amen: The chord he lost when sitting by, His brother as he watched him die.

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