human rights news & views

Three more Bosnian Serbs arrested for crimes against humanity

Three Bosnian Serbs were arrested last week accused of crimes against humanity committed in 1992.  Veljko Basic, 82, Predrag Bastah, 55, and Goran Viskovic, 54, are being questioned by Bosnian authorities regarding crimes committed in Susica camp in the town of Vlasenica in northeastern Bosnia. Some 8,000 local civilians, mostly Muslims, were held in the […]

A new champion for children

The United Nations has sharpened its focus on combating violence against children with the creation last month of a new Special Procedure.  This independent world expert will be called Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children. The job of this Special Representative, for an initial term of 3 years, will include maintaining international […]

‘Do nothing for evil to triumph’

Tongan police & military abuses documented

Some 700 people were arrested in the South Pacific nation of Tonga last year following riots on 16 November. Arson and looting on the main island of Tongatapu caused extensive damage to the capital Nuku’alofa and beyond. A preliminary human rights report issued shortly after the crisis documented violence and other abuses by police and […]

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 […]

US citizen indicted for torture committed abroad

Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia wanted on 17 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, made headlines last year when he was finally arrested in Nigeria and handed over to be tried by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. Now the law has caught up with his son, Charles ‘Chuckie’ Taylor, a […]

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 […]

Australia’s position on Hicks ‘disingenuous & grossly inaccurate’

Former chief justice Alastair Nicholson has written a scathing rebuttal of Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock’s defence of his government’s abandonment of David Hicks, the Australian citizen still imprisoned by the US at Guantánamo Bay after more than five years. Nicholson’s point, made clearly and authoritatively, is that Hicks cannot get a fair trial by US […]

‘The most violent place in Asia’

Extra-judicial killings are a major source of human rights violation in Asia, according to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), and, of eleven countries reviewed in the Commission’s 2006 Report on human rights in the region, Sri Lanka is the worst. On this second anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami, reconstruction in the north-east of […]

Don’t hang Saddam

Some three years after his capture, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been convicted and sentenced by the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal in connection with the killing of 148 people from a Shiite village called al-Dujail in 1982, apparently in revenge for an assassination attempt. Saddam Hussein and his co-accused ought not to be executed […]