Dancing with Dictators
“Support” often takes the form of selling arms, as in the cases of Turkey despite widespread repression, Saudi Arabia in its bombing campaign in Yemen, and the Philippines despite its unrestrained drug war.
Israel should be added to this list, since the far-right Netanyahu government receives about $1.5 billion annually in arms that give it license to violently suppress Palestinian protests. Not surprisingly, the equally far-right US ambassador to Israel has said Israel should be exempt from US law that requires a State Department report on whether or not US-supplied weapons are being used to repress human rights. “Israel is a democracy,” Amb. David Friedman said, “whose army does not engage in gross violations of human rights.”
There is a big difference between wanting your history known and your cultural rights restored; and being stuck in the past with a ‘poor me’ mindset. Too often this statement is used to diminish and undermine our peoples’ perspectives and to make us feel unjustified in our endeavours. It is an easy way for the ignorant to brush it off and dismiss any lingering feelings of guilt or shame.
The weakness at the heart of our democracy is revealed in the lack of protections for our First Nations people, writes Jeff McMullen, who sets out a plan to begin to right these wrongs.
The aim — and the result — has been to portray of human and civil rights as subversive ideas being used by foreign, presumably anti-Semitic powers to undermine the State of Israel itself. That last feat is accomplished by conflating the State of Israel with its occupation of the Palestinian territories, and the right-wing ideology that demands its transformation into an immutable reality.
Perhaps the good judges did not review the results of a 2016 public opinion survey, by +972 Magazine’s own Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin, which found that only 45 percent of Jewish Israelis had a favorable opinion of “human rights.” Asked specifically about human rights “organizations,” those favorability numbers dropped to 31 percent — a marked deterioration from a similar survey conducted five years earlier.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden does not mince words, and his ardent assessment of our perpetually-dwindling rights in the United States and around the world
The right to equality? The right to free movement in and out of the country? How about the right to freedom from arbitrary arrest and exile? Or the right to marriage and family? By Fady Khoury Everyone on Facebook is playing a game where they post nine concerts they’ve been to and one they haven’t. The idea is your friends have to guess which band you haven’t seen. [tmwinpost] I want to play too, but I’ve been to only two concerts in my life, both of which were Mashrou’ Leila’s. So I thought of a different way to play. Here…
In war-torn Afghanistan it is not the Taliban that poses the greatest threat to women – it is their own families.
Papua New Guinea immigration authorities say the 898 men in Australia’s offshore processing centre on Manus Island are no longer in detention.
You may already know that Australia jails a disproportionate number of Aboriginal people, but these two charts, compiled from the latest figures from the Bureau of Statistics, starkly show how rapidly the problem has escalated in recent years.
Open letter regarding the Border Force Act 2015
Today the Border Force Act comes into force. It includes provision for a two-year jail sentence for “entrusted persons” such as ourselves if we continue to speak out about the deplorable state of human rights in immigration detention without the express permission of the minister for immigration and border protection. This strengthens the wall of secrecy which prevents proper public scrutiny.
Detention centre staff speak out in defiance of new asylum secrecy laws
We have advocated, and will continue to advocate, for the health of those for whom we have a duty of care, despite the threats of imprisonment, because standing by and watching sub-standard and harmful care, child abuse and gross violations of human rights is not ethically justifiable.
If we witness child abuse in Australia we are legally obliged to report it to child protection authorities
If we witness child abuse in Australia we are legally obliged to report it to child protection authorities. If we witness child abuse in detention centres, we can go to prison for attempting to advocate for them effectively. Internal reporting mechanisms such as they are have failed to remove children from detention; a situation that is itself recognised as a form of systematic child abuse.
Evidence of the devastating effects of institutional self-protection and blindness to child abuse has been presented before the current royal commission. We are determined not to collude with a system that repeats these same mistakes.
Why we spoke out: former detention centre workers explain
There are currently many issues which constitute a serious threat to the health of those in detention for whom we have a duty of care. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is aware of these problems and has for years failed to address them adequately.
We are aware that in publishing this letter we may be prosecuted under the Border Force Act and we challenge the department to prosecute so that these issues may be discussed in open court and in the full view of the Australian public.
Dr John-Paul Sanggaran, MBBS M.H.Med B.H.Sc, former IHMS medical officer
Dr Richard Kidd, BHB, MBChB, Dip.Obs., FAMA, Deputy Chair AMACGP, former IHMS medical officer
Dr Grant Ferguson, MBBS B.Sc (Hons), former IHMS medical officer
Dr Ben Hew, MBBS B.Sc, former IHMS medical officer
Dr Alison Bleaney, MBchB FRACRRM OBE, former IHMS medical officer
Dr Merrilyn Williams, MBBS, M. (GP Psych) FACRRM, former IHMS medical officer
Dr Ai-Lene Chan, MBBS FRACGP ObsSC MPH&TM, former IHMS medical officer
Dr John Vallentine, MBBS MRCP, former IHMS medical officer
Dr Jill Maxwell, MBBS OAM, former IHMS medical officer
Dr Sally Manuell, MBBS FRACGP, former IHMS medical officer
Prof Bernard Pearn-Rowe, BSc (Hons), MBBS, FAMA, former IHMS medical officer
Tracey Donehue, secondary school teacher
Judith Reen, secondary school coordinator
Jane Willey, former secondary school teacher
Evan Davis, former senior secondary school teacher
Dr Peter Young, MBBS FRANZCP, former IHMS medical director mental health services
Steve Brooker, BSc MA, former IHMS director of mental health services
Dr Rodney Juratowitch, MBBS FRANZCP, former IHMS psychiatrist
Dr Amanda Trenaman, MBBS, FRANZCP, former IHMS psychiatrist
Prof Robert Adler, PhD MBBS, former IHMS psychiatrist
Ryan Essex, BHSc, Grad Dip Psych, BSocSc (Psych), (Hons), MHL, MPH, former IHMS counsellor
James Harris, former case manager and residential youth worker
Toby Gunn, former child and youth recreation officer
Samantha Betts, BA, former child and youth recreation worker
Martin Reusch, former humanitarian worker
Timm Knapp, former humanitarian worker
Amanda Lloyd-Tait, former humanitarian worker
Jennifer Dennis, former humanitarian worker
Amy Marden, former humanitarian worker
Prof David Isaacs, MBBChir MD FRACP FRCPCH, former IHMS paediatrician
Dr Hasantha Gunasekera, MBBS FRACP, former IHMS paediatrician
Alanna Maycock, BN RN, former IHMS paediatric nurse
Prof Louise Newman, MBBS PhD FANZCP AM, former DEHAG consultant IHMS psychiatrist
Dr Micheal Dudley, AM MBBS BD FRANZCP, former DEHAG consultant
Prof Caroline de Costa, PhD MPH MBBS BA FRANZCOG FRCOG, former DEHAG consultant
Viktoria Vibhakar, MSW, LCSW, AASW, former senior child protection and support worker
Ashleigh Millard, former adult case manager and social worker
Jaime O’donovan, former social worker, child protection team
Hamish Tacey, BBehavSc, former unaccompanied minor team leader and refugee assistance program case manager
Serena Hansen, former case manager and residential team leader
Marc Isaacs, BA (Com), BA (Int.S), former recreations manager
If you want to join the discussion, comments are open on the main news story
As the global population grows and the world is blighted by conflict, persecution and poverty, more people are on the move than ever before. And while rights groups point to moral and international obligations to take in the many migrants seeking a better life, the sheer number involved is making that increasingly difficult.
Australia has taken a hard line, detaining refugees and asylum seekers arriving by boat in offshore detention centres and turning or towing boats away.
It is now gone a step further by offering Cambodia millions of dollars to take them off its hands.
But can countries pay to make their migrant problems go away? And is it setting a dangerous precedent for the future?
Presenter: David Foster
Leonard Doyle – a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration.
Denise Coghlan – Director, Jesuit Refugee Service in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Anders Lustgarten – activist and playwright.
Source: Al Jazeera
The light of human rights is fading in Australia
Never has an Australian government talked so much about freedom while doing so much to undermine it.When it comes to national security and refugees we are increasingly pathetic, writes Ben Saul.
.The Government’s stocks are rising as it takes advantage of public anxiety about terrorism to ram through new laws. To be sure, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria needs to be combated to protect civilians there. But the threat in Australia is modest and the Government is overcooking it.
Terrorism here is not an existential threat. Nazism, imperial Japan, and nuclear holocaust in the Cold War were existential threats. Terrorism in Australia is a minor irritation. Your own furniture is more likely to kill you.
When our Prime Minister subordinates the magical diversity of what it means to be Australian to some absurdly jingoistic, reductive view of national identity, it is no surprise that others take it further: from hateful graffiti, to calls to halt Muslim immigration or ban the burqa, to Islamophobic attacks on Australian women wearing headscarves.
The new laws also go too far. They criminalise innocent travel to places the Foreign Minister does not want you to go. They criminalise free speech. They criminalise whistleblowers and the media that report them. They allow mass surveillance of innocent Australians on the internet. They deny procedural fairness. They violate the right to social security and therefore potentially leave people destitute.
All of this comes without the binding human rights safeguards that every other self-respecting democracy imposes on its security agencies.
The bill also erases references in our law to the Refugee Convention. The Immigration Minister spat the dummy on international law, saying: “This parliament should decide what our obligations are under these conventions – not those who seek to direct us otherwise from places outside this country”, such as foreign courts or the United Nations. The Minister assured us that Australia would comply with its international obligations – which is presumably not difficult if international law is now simply whatever the Government says it is.
The rest of the miserable story of Australian refugee policy is well known. Protracted and even indefinite, illegal detention. Cruel, inhuman and degrading detention conditions, where refugees suicide, are beaten to death, or die from treatable infections. Detention factories that manufacture mental illness. Naval interceptions and offshore processing based on grand lies about queue jumping, people smuggling, and saving lives at sea. Shifting our burden onto and bribing poor neighbours like Papua New Guinea. Coddling dictators in Cambodia and war criminals and torturers in Sri Lanka. Undermining constitutionalism in Nauru. Our system punishes refugees and tries to stop them coming at whatever the human cost.
Australia receives a few thousand boat people and our politicians – on both sides – some of our media, and many Australians go into meltdown. We have no sense of proportion or perspective, like a child that cannot control itself. Stinginess, selfishness, paranoia, and racism have become defining characteristics of our nation. We are increasingly pathetic.
The major parties are in lock-step on many of these abuses, whether on refugees or terrorism. Many Australian politicians are either hostile towards human rights or indifferent. They prefer to govern by marginal seat focus groups than to show courage or leadership.
Some of the great light of human rights is fading in Australia. It is a cause of sorrow, and shame, that our institutions are incapable of arresting it. Our country has become, in the words of our bush poet Randolph Stow, “a desert of broken quartz”, wracked by the crow.