human rights news & views

Stop violence against women

Women the world over share a one-in-three risk of physical or sexual abuse, with rates reaching 70% in some countries. In Australia, over 400,000 men were violent towards women in 2005.  Almost 1.3 million Australian women have experienced physical and sexual violence from a current or former partner. Women are at risk of violence in […]

What is the rule of law?

One hears much about the rule of law and its importance to human rights.  But what is it, exactly?  I thank Prof. Tim McCormack for bringing this succinct definition to my attention.  It comes from a 2004 report by the UN Secretary-General to the Security Council: The “rule of law” . . . refers to […]

Blix envisages peace through globalisation

Hans Blix was this week awarded the 2007 Sydney Peace Prize "for principled and courageous opposition to proponents of war in Iraq, for life-long advocacy of humanitarian law and nonviolence and for leadership of disarmament programs to rid the world of weapons of terror". The 79-year old Swedish diplomat and international human rights lawyer became […]

Australians’ implied right to vote

The right to vote is universal, but not absolute, according to the UN Committee on Human Rights.  The Australian Constitution reflects that understanding, according to a recent decision of the High Court dubbed "the biggest constitutional law case of the year", with a bearing on this month’s federal election. The Australian Constitution says that parliamentarians […]

Who remembers the Assyrians?

Adolf Hitler is said to have assumed impunity for his Final Solution with a rhetorical, ‘Who remembers Armenians?’  His dismissive reference to the 1915-18 genocide of some 1.5 million Armenians under the Ottoman empire overlooks the genocide of 750,000 Assyrians by the same regime. The Christian population of the Middle East — from the Copts […]