human rights news & views

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 […]

Bail out the world’s poor

Last month at the UN General Assembly, rock legend Bono lamented that for ten years he has begged the G8 for US$25 billion to relieve hunger and disease in Africa, with limited success.  Suddenly, the United States has $700 billion to spend on Wall Street. Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the US bailout package […]

‘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 […]

HIV relief in Africa: “from inertia to paralysis”

Racism and sexism fuel the tragedy that is HIV/AIDS in Africa. Esteemed Canadian Stephen Lewis, in his role as the UN Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa, has highlighted these twin blights — themselves rights violations — in his ongoing effort to draw attention to the crisis and stimulate action. "Gender is at the heart […]

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 […]