human rights news & views

A Fifth Estate of citizen monitoring

Expatriate Australian journalist John Pilger (right), in accepting the Sydney Peace Prize last week, was very critical of silence and lies in Australian polity and complicit bystanders among the Australian press and public.  He calls us from slumber to form a 'Fifth Estate' of citizen monitoring — that eternal vigilance that is the price of […]

Medal of Freedom undeserved

The awarding of the highest US civilian honour, the Medal of Freedom, to former Australian Prime Minister John Howard this month (left) was staggering to human rights activists familiar with his record. Even more galling was the same award given to Colombia's President Álvaro Uribe. The Presidential Medal is intended to recognise an "especially meritorious […]

Indigenous ‘nomad’ died in custody

Amnesty International called it "shocking and preventable."  On 27 January 2008, Australian indigenous leader and land rights activist Ian Ward — "one of the last nomads born in the Gibson Desert" — died in custody. The Warburton man was being driven 915km from Laverton in the Western Desert to Kalgoorlie for a mention in relation […]

Who remembers the Assyrians?

Adolf Hitler is said to have assumed impunity for his Final Solution with a rhetorical, ‘Who remembers Armenians?’  His dismissive reference to the 1915-18 genocide of some 1.5 million Armenians under the Ottoman empire overlooks the genocide of 750,000 Assyrians by the same regime. The Christian population of the Middle East — from the Copts […]

Australia violating the right to liberty: UN

The highest international authority on civil and political rights has found Australia is violating the rights of a Bangladeshi asylum seeker detained for nearly seven-and-a-half years. Danyal Shafiq, 34, was raised in an orphanage in Bangladesh. Fearing torture, harsh imprisonment or death at the hands of either Bangladeshi police or the Sharbahara Party, he fled […]

Sagar finally gets asylum

Iraqi refugee Mohammed Sagar (pictured), the last person detained by Australia on the island of Nauru, is to swap Pacific heat for Nordic sleet — and freedom. Despite winning a court order forcing the Australian Government to reveal why this undisputed refugee is still imprisoned after more than five years, Sagar has been offered asylum […]

Australian Govt ordered to reveal secret security assessments

Congratulations to Scott Parkin (pictured), Mohammed Sagar and Muhammed Faisal, who today won their bid to find out what the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation has against them. The Federal Court has decided that they are entitled to know the reason why, in Parkin’s case, he was thrown out of the country, and in the case […]

Trust us, we’re the Government

Australians are asked to trust their government. Despite evidence of government lies — in matters as grave as whether to wage war — Australians are expected to trust that the government knows what’s best for them and will act in their interests, all the while violating rights and withholding evidence. Three recent stories illustrate the […]

Govts should ‘face down’ intolerant rhetoric on migrants: UN

UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, had this advice for governments at the UN High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development held in New York this month: Governments have to protect migrants against discrimination, racism and xenophobia, in particular by taking effective measures to protect migrants from human rights violations and abuse. It is also vital that Governments […]

Vanstone dodges the question: What happened to Nazaree and Baklri?

Have you received a reply from Australian Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone? I wrote to the Minister regarding the fate of Mohammed Moussa Nazaree and Yacoub Baklri, among others, and have received a reply from her Assistance Secretary (sic.), John Okely. His letter of 5 September makes no mention of Nazaree and Baklri, Afghan asylum seekers […]