Category Archives: Human Rights

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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Shakespeare on refugees, strangers and inhumanity.

In a series of speeches written by Shakespeare, Thomas More makes the argument for the humane treatment of those forced to seek asylum after being expelled from their homeland. This is a repost from August 23, 2016.  

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ROBERT MANNE. The Australian’s attacks on Gillian Triggs.

The attack launched by the Australian on Gillian Triggs and the Human Rights Commission has been obsessive, petty, relentless, remorseless and ruthless.

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SPENCER ZIFCAK. The Federal Government Attacks its Watchers

In recent years, the Federal Government has made an art form of undermining the autonomy of independent statutory offices established to hold it to account. One by one, statutory offices have been subject to forceful governmental and media assaults.

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TESSA MORRIS-SUZUKI. The ‘information war’ hits Sydney.

This action by a small number of Japanese in Australia harms the Japanese community itself and demeans the work of those in Japan and elsewhere who have fought so long and hard for historical truth and justice. 

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BRUCE ARNOLD. Open Government, Open to interpretation

If we are indeed open to Open Government a salient demonstration would be facilitating Australian Human Rights Commission  access to what is happening on Australia’s behalf in offshore detention centres. That would be a fine national Christmas present from Turnbull, … Continue reading

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Aung San Suu Kyi’s government appears unable – or unwilling – to halt what some describe as ‘ethnic cleansing’.

The Rohingya in Myanmar are facing increasing attacks and harassment. Australia and the region must be prepared to respond. 

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Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration – the desperate situation of Rohingya in Myanmar.

Situation in Rakhine State in Myanmar of grave concern – the region must be on high alert. Mass displacement inevitable if violence continues to escalate.

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IAN WEBSTER. Amid chaos, ethics.

Speaking particularly of the treatment people in Manus and Nauru, Professor Ian Webster argues that in this secular and chaotic world, the values and principles of the professional codes of health workers could be used to frame their future contributions … Continue reading

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PETER JOHNSTONE. The Royal Commission and the Catholic Church’s Dysfunctional Governance

  In May 2016, the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released Issues Paper 11 – Catholic Church Final Hearing, inviting submissions for its final Catholic Church hearing scheduled for three weeks 6-24 February 2017. That … Continue reading

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ERIN GILLEN. The Symbolism of a Trump Victory

  Much has been said about how Trump was elected and what a Trump presidency will realistically mean for America and the world; my interest is in the symbolism of his election, and the failed campaign of the first female … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. The Tragedy of Trump

  If nothing else Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election is compelling evidence that the neo-liberal project has been a catastrophic public policy failure. Blindly believing that he is their saviour, the victims of neo-liberalism’s caustic consequences have … Continue reading

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ANDREW JAKUBOWICZ. A Bigots’ Frenzy: how race, class and gender still matter in the Australian politics of Section 18C.

  Australia is a democratic pluralist society and there lies the rub. Democracies privilege freedom, while pluralism requires civility. In the increasing hyperbole surrounding the question of the impact of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act many are arguing … Continue reading

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ROBERT MANNE. It’s Time

  The Turnbull government has recently introduced new asylum seeker legislation into parliament. It has two parts. The first part aims to prevent any asylum seeker who tried to reach Australia after July 19 2013, including those who have been … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN SJ. Dog-whistling again on asylum seekers.

  Labor has decided not to support the Turnbull government’s latest asylum bill which was announced in a most hamfisted way on the Sunday morning before last, and which contains very unacceptable overreach measures. So now it will be a … Continue reading

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JOHN TULLOH. U.S. finally starts to ease its Cold War punishment of Cuba

  It is astonishing that an impoverished speck on the rump of the most powerful country in the world has managed to intimidate it for more than half a century. Cuba, only 144 kms off the coast of Florida, has … Continue reading

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PHIL GLENDENNING. We Need To End Australia’s Refugee Shame. Now

  ‘Human beings are never a means to an end. They are an end in themselves’. Emmanuel Kant’s words in the seventeenth century echo down the centuries in stark contrast to Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN SJ. Turnbull’s Policy Challenge Wrapped in Turnbull Cant

  On Sunday morning, Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton held a joint press conference to announce new legislation in relation to the asylum seekers who have been held on Nauru and Manus Island now for over three years. In this … Continue reading

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JOHN NIEUWENHUYSEN. How Australian Political Leaders Can Abandon and Mistreat Asylum Seekers

  Living as a White youth in apartheid South Africa in the 1950’s, I often wondered how it was possible for a small minority to dominate and oppress the large majority of the population who were denied the vote because … Continue reading

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ROBERT MANNE. How we came to be so cruel to asylum seekers.

This is an edited extract of a talk delivered to the Integrity 20 Conference at Griffith University on October 25, 2016 If you had been told 30 years ago that Australia would create the least asylum seeker friendly institutional arrangements … Continue reading

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SPENCER ZIFCAK. Critique of Government’s attacks on civil society.

  UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders’ Scathing Critique of Government’s Attacks on Civil Society  In 1998, after 14 years of haggling, the UN General Assembly finally adopted the landmark UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. After another 10 … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Concealing crimes in Manus and Nauru.

  Those eminent jurists Malcolm Turnbull and George Brandis are normally very careful with the words they use; indeed, Brandis did his best to bore a senate committee rigid as he spent many minutes explaining exactly what he meant by … Continue reading

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SUSAN RYAN. Older women – the new homeless.

  It is more than timely that focus on increasing inequality in Australia include recognition of a massive contributing factor: the lack of affordable housing, especially for older women. Several groups have been identified as severely disadvantaged by the lack … Continue reading

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GREG AUSTIN. Australians have little to fear from terrorism at home – here’s why.

According to an ANU poll, more than half of the country’s adults are concerned Australia will be a target for terrorism at home and strongly believe the government needs to introduce greater preventive measures to combat it. But the reality … Continue reading

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FRANK BRENNAN SJ. Malcolm Turnbull’s defence of Nauru.

This is Frank Brennan’s most recent post of Facebook. When interviewed by Fran Kelly this morning, Malcolm Turnbull suggested it was a simple binary choice: strong border protection including the cruel, endless warehousing of proven refugees (including children) on places … Continue reading

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Catholic Bishops – It Is Time To Bring Them Here

Statement in support of offshore detainees By Archbishop Denis Hart, President, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference One of the greatest crises of our day is the plight of people forced from their own countries by war, persecution or poverty and forced … Continue reading

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JIM COOMBS. “CIRCLE” Bail Hostels

  One of the common reasons for incarceration of Aboriginal children is failure to appear at court and breach of bail conditions (often a residence condition). One way to overcome this is to establish “bail hostels” like those in the … Continue reading

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