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human rights

Refugee priorities

Refugee priorities

The slow increase in the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australian waters is creating a slowly increasing number of  antagonistic public comments and complaints.  Immigration Minister Chris Evans understandably points to the deteriorating position in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan as a factor, as well as noting a “second supply chain” from […]

The Clerks speak out

The Clerks speak out

The Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans, has caused plenty of http://www.theage.com.au/national/senates-sentinel-20090529-bqbf.html heartburn to governments of both persuasions during his tenure.  He has made a habit of publicly and plainly pointing out the dangers of unfettered executive power being provided to any government, no matter what their colour.  Perhaps the record length of his time […]

Putting the safety of children first

Putting the safety of children first

There is no surer way to get an argument than to start a debate about Dennis Ferguson and people who sexually abuse children.  The two recent items that Crikey has published on the topic quickly moved to the top of the most discussed list. Before I mention a bit more about that, I wanted to […]

Treatment of asylum seekers in Thailand

Treatment of asylum seekers in Thailand

I’ve written recently about the Australian government recent efforts to enlist further support from countries to our north in stifling the activities of people smugglers. Reports continue to appear of dreadful conditions and treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in those same countries, such as Malaysia and Thailand. Another recent example, reported in the Bangkok-based […]

Inquiry on disability, health and our migration laws (after nine months gestation)

Inquiry on disability, health and our migration laws (after nine months gestation)

A public and political outcry in November last year, regarding a Doctor being  denied Australian permanent residency because his son had Down Syndrome, led to the Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, announcing a Parliamentary inquiry into the health requirements in the Migration Act. Nearly six months later, on May 15 this year, the terms of reference […]

USA's detain & deport crimes worse than Australia's

USA's detain & deport crimes worse than Australia's

There is more evidence that, however unjust and dysfunctional the administration of Australia’s immigration laws was in our recent past, it is being outstripped by what has been happening in the USA. There are more and more examples coming to light in the USA that have echoes of the Cornelia Rau and Vivienne Alvarez debacles […]

The Frontline of Climate change: Pacific Island peoples

The Frontline of Climate change: Pacific Island peoples

On Tuesday night, July 28, around 300 people filled the Brisbane Room in Brisbane’s City Hall to hear speakers from the front line of climate change – residents of the Torres Strait and Pacific Island nations Tuvalu, Micronesia and Kiribati.  It’s very rare for me to attend a forum with seven speakers all addressing the […]

USA to sign human rights treaty on people with disabilities

USA to sign human rights treaty on people with disabilities

No doubt President Obama will disappoint plenty of people in plenty of areas before his time as President finishes, but one area where he seems keen to make improvements is in the way the USA approaches human rights issues internationally. Last Friday he “announced his intention to sign the U.N. Convention on the Rights of […]

Another apology

Another apology

Saying sorry doesn’t magically fix injustices, past or present – a point which is often made in respect of the Parliamentary apology to the Stolen Generations.  It is true that apologising for past wrongs won’t in itself address present problems, but this fact doesn’t validate the view that formal apologies serve no purpose or have […]

Refugee policy is a human rights issue, not a law and order one

Refugee policy is a human rights issue, not a law and order one

The irrational obsession with pulling out all stops to prevent asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia is placing our country at risk of being party to human rights abuses on refugees much worse than those of the Howard era. This week , the federal government is taking the unusual step of having the Prime […]