human rights news & views

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Manning’s treatment ‘counterproductive & stupid’, says top Clinton staffer

A spokesman for US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, has been forced to resign after criticising the way US serviceman Bradley Manning (pictured right) is being treated while in pre-trial detention. Describing Manning's conditions as "mistreatment," then-assistant secretary of state for public affairs, Philip 'P.J.' Crowley, said: "What is being done to Bradley Manning […]

First Central American coup since the Cold War threatens human rights

Before dawn on 28 June, Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya (left) was 'pulled from his bed' in the presidential palace and forced into exile in Costa Rica, still in his pyjamas. That afternoon Roberto Micheletti, of the same party as Zelaya (the PLH), was sworn in for a 7-month term as caretaker President, with elections due […]

Fujimori convicted again

Alberto Fujimori has been sentenced to 25 years' gaol for 'human rights crimes'. The former President of Peru was yesterday found guilty of ordering 2 massacres of civilians in 1991 and 1992, during the 'dirty war' with violent Maoist rebel movement Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) that saw more than 70,000 Peruvians disappeared or killed. A […]

Freedom to seek and receive

The Rudd government appears to be delivering on a key election promise: to reform freedom of information (FOI) law in Australia, currently ranked 28th in the world for press freedom. Special Minister for State, John Faulkner (pictured), last week released draft legislation slated to improve Australians' right to seek and receive information from their government. […]

Australia’s political prisoners

A short documentary has appeared on the internet about Scott Parkin, the nonviolent US peace activist who in 2005 was detained in Australia for 5 days and then deported for being a 'direct or indirect risk to Australian national security.'  Greenpeace Australia's communications director, Dan Cass, is depicted describing Parkin as Australia's first political prisoner. […]

SLAPP writ fails against animal activist

In November 2003, animal rights activist Ralph Hahnheuser stole onto private property on Australia’s south coast and poured shredded ham into the feed troughs of sheep awaiting live export to the Middle East the next day.  His stated intention was to "taint the product or the animals in such a way that they are simply […]

‘Intermediaries’ charged over Politkovskaya murder

A year after the assassination of esteemed Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, nine people have been charged with involvement in the murder. One of them is a lieutenant-colonel in Russia’s secret service.  It is alleged Pavel Ryaguzov gave Politkovskaya’s home address to another of the suspects, who in turn gave it to her killer.  The 48 […]