human rights news & views

Yorta Yorta elder a hero of the Jews

Australia has a human rights defender on a par with Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schindler for his stance against Nazi Germany, yet William Cooper is little known in Australia today. Appalled by the vicious carnage of Kristallnacht, the watershed pogrom of November 1938, Aboriginal leader Bill Cooper (right) led a protest walk from his home […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

35,000 Iraqi civilians killed in 2006

Nearly 35,000 civilians were killed in Iraq last year, according to the UN. It’s an astonishing but unsurprising figure, given the daily reports of carnage. As the United States mourns the death of over 3,000 of its troops sent to Iraq since the 2003 invasion, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq reports 34,452 civilians were […]

Iran intensifies persecution of Bahá’ís

Attention to Iran's nuclear status has overshadowed its human rights record.  The UN has condemned Iran's treatment of Bahá'ís more than 56 times.  Now the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief has made public her grave concerns for members of the Bahá'í faith in Iran.  Opposition politician Jennie George has succeeded in […]