RightsBase

human rights news & views

RightsBase regrets an indefinite hiatus

It's the kind of day when I'm itching to blog: about the long-awaited Charles Taylor verdict or the Australian government's callous and disappointing response to the UN Human Rights Committee in refusing to repatriate Stefan Nystrom to his own country, as is his right under article 12(4) of the ICCPR. Or last week's alarming development, [...]

East Africa crisis appeal: How you can help

UNICEF is one of many international aid organisations working to relieve the famine in East Africa. It does not receive government support but must do all its own fundraising. You can donate by clicking here: Many worthwhile alternatives are listed here.

British spies complicit in torture of rendition victims: secret document

Britain's spy agencies MI5 and MI6 were authorised to participate in interrogations on foreign soil and permit torture in 'proportion' to the presumed importance of the information sought. The Blair government's secret policy was in use for nearly a decade, reports the Guardian, until it was revoked by the coalition government last year. This, in [...]

UN denied unrestricted access to Manning

The US is denying the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture unfettered access to detainee Bradley Manning. Private first class Manning was arrested in May 2010 on suspicion of leaking incriminating military documents to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.  He remains in US custody awaiting court marshall. The conditions of his detention have been widely criticised [...]

Right to protest under threat in Victoria

Recent developments in policing under the Baillieu government in the Australian state of Victoria threaten the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. The 7-month old Baillieu conservative coalition government last month created two 21-member 'public order response teams' of police to 'stamp out antisocial behaviour' and 'break up public protest', reports the Herald [...]

Drone victims must be identified: Register of war casualties needed

A London think-tank argues that international law requires “those who use or authorise the use of drone strikes to record and announce who has been killed and injured in each attack." Drones — known in military jargon as ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ or UAVs — are miniature aircraft with no human crew on board. They are [...]

No evidence that harsh policies deter asylum seekers

Many times over the past dozen years or so, I’ve wondered if we Australians forget, in the hysterical public discourse about asylum seekers, who they are. They are people fleeing serious harm. People for whom we would have compassion, in the normal course of events, and seek to help. Instead, we, as a polity, treat [...]

Happy 5th birthday RightsBase!

Happy birthday to RightsBase which turns five years old today. Five years on, RightsBase is still produced in Australia by Olivia Ball and her Lovely Assistant. RightsBase's purview is "human rights news and views."  In over 150 articles, RightsBase has covered a broad gamut of human rights concerns in over 100 countries. It tends not [...]

Was Bin Laden’s killing legal?

Was the lethal shooting of Osama Bin Laden on 2 May legal?  Not was it legal under US or Pakistani law, but was it legal under international human rights law?  Were his and others' human rights violated?  Does it really matter? For answers to these questions I refer readers to this top-notch analysis by Sarah [...]

Assange warns of ‘totalitarian’ potential of the internet

Surprisingly, perhaps, freedom (of information) fighter Julian Assange thinks the internet is, on balance, bad for human rights. Speaking to Cambridge University students — presumably by video link, given he is still under house arrest in Norfolk — Assange (pictured) described the internet as the "greatest spying machine the world has ever seen" and an [...]