human rights news & views

Australian pacifists suffer ‘miscarriage of justice’

Australia has had a change of government since Donna Mulhearn (39), Jim Dowling (52), Bryan Law (52) and Adele Goldie (31) were convicted under the never-before used 1952 Defence (Special Undertaking) Act for breaking into the US military facility on Australian soil called Pine Gap in December 2005.  And it would appear the courts have […]

Pacifists fined for nonviolent arms trade protest

The Defence Systems and Equipment International Exhibition (DESi) is the world’s largest ‘fully integrated’ arms fair held every other year in London’s Docklands.  1,200 companies from 36 countries come together in an ‘optimal business environment’ to exhibit their wares and ‘network for future growth’ with thousands of visitors over four ‘packed’ days. At the 2007 […]

Elders and elder statesmen

There were so many fine moments on Wednesday (immediately dubbed ‘Sorry Day’).  Much joy, much sorrow, much poignancy.  Awe at the extraordinary well of generosity evident in Aboriginal Australia.  Stolen survivor Archie Roach singing his incredibly moving ‘Took the Children Away‘ in Melbourne, an award-winning song that pre-dates the Bringing Them Home report, at a […]

Grudging Opposition dampens ‘Sorry Day’

What a great day.  Australia has apologised to the Stolen Generations.  Prime Minister Rudd, in the presence of the new parliament, most surviving former Prime Ministers, and about 100 survivors of the Stolen Generations, delivered an apology that acknowledged the "profound grief, suffering and loss" caused by successive governments.  He did not presume to ask […]

Australian parliament’s apology to Stolen Generations

Watch tomorrow’s historic apology live online at 8:55am, Canberra time.  Find your time zone here.   [Spoiler alert!] Here’s the text of the apology, released today.  Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is expected to say:  "Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history. We reflect on their past […]

Pay compensation, Australia

Debate continues as to whether a national apology to the Stolen Generations will expose the government to compensation claims by survivors.  Or whether wording the apology in a certain way can limit that exposure (as the government claims).  Surely, this is to miss the point.  If compensation is owed, it should be paid.  Justice demands […]

Australia awaits apology

Australia awaits with anticipation next week’s long-overdue apology to the survivors of the Stolen Generations, their families and descendants.  This landmark step towards reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians is something the previous Prime Minister, John Howard — that formidable opponent of human rights — conspicuously failed to do, despite the 1997 Bringing Them Home […]

Three more Bosnian Serbs arrested for crimes against humanity

Three Bosnian Serbs were arrested last week accused of crimes against humanity committed in 1992.  Veljko Basic, 82, Predrag Bastah, 55, and Goran Viskovic, 54, are being questioned by Bosnian authorities regarding crimes committed in Susica camp in the town of Vlasenica in northeastern Bosnia. Some 8,000 local civilians, mostly Muslims, were held in the […]

Tutu nominates John Dear for Peace Prize

The deadline for nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize is this month.  Only certain eminent persons may forward names to the selection Committee.  Exactly who is nominated is kept secret for 50 years. As 1984 winner of the Prize, Archbishop Desmond Tutu is qualified to nominate others.  Along with Drs Leo Rebello and Charles Mercieca, […]