human rights news & views

Unnatural disasters

Tonight's post will be brief — just a quote — in honour of the victims of the Christchurch earthquake (pictured) and all who suffered in the recent floods and fires in Australia.  These all may have been caused by climate change. "All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man […]

UN affirms water is a legal human right

Long overdue, 2 important steps have been taken this year to formalise the human right to water. In July, the UN General Assembly declared that safe and clean drinking water and sanitation constitute a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights. Although no-one voted against the motion, 41 […]

Australia endorses indigenous rights at last

The Australian Government today gave its formal support to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma (pictured right), called it a "giant step": "another milestone in the new partnership forged between Indigenous peoples and governments in February last year with the National Apology […]

Prisoner abuse in island Kingdom

Rioting erupted on the streets of Tonga on 16 November. Police and soldiers were given emergency powers while Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand sent in troops. Shortly thereafter reports emerged of maltreatment of prisoners in custody. Some of those said to have been abused were peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators with no involvement in the unrest. Tongan soldiers […]

‘Appalling’ abusers stymie Indigenous Rights Declaration

The General Assembly of the UN, meeting in New York, has decided to defer consideration of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for up to a year. After decades of negotiations, the text of the Declaration was approved by the UN Human Rights Council in June. This deferral of the final vote by […]

Act for Australia: support the campaign

Australia needs better human rights protection. The Tongan Constitution of 1875 contains more rights than Australia’s 26 years later. By human rights standards, South Africa’s Constitution is without peer, but ‘entrenched’, constitutional bills of rights are not the only way of protecting rights. In recent years, the UK and Aotearoa/New Zealand have passed ordinary acts […]