Search Results: asylum seekers

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Ruddock appointment thumbs nose at human rights

    • Justin Glyn
    • 14 February 2016
    7 Comments

    If Phillip Ruddock's appointment as Australia's first special envoy to the United Nations on Human Rights is about demonstrating the worthlessness of current international human rights protection structures (and the consequent hollowness of their criticisms of Australia), it is a rather short sighted one. Appointing a person with a weak record of upholding human rights in the area where Australia itself is weakest sends the unmistakable signal that Australia is no longer committed to the human rights project.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    #LetThemStay reveals the political capital of compassion

    • Somayra Ismailjee
    • 11 February 2016
    8 Comments

    Since the first churches offered sanctuary to the refugees facing deportation to Nauru, a steady stream of voices have joined the call for compassion. As a political language, compassion is itself a reclamation of power. Extending safety, resources, or even a mere welcome to people in need proves that we have something to give. Strength is embodied by a capacity to aid and assist, rather than in cruelty. Empathy, care and compassion appeal to us on a level of emotion that runs deeper than mere rhetoric.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Offers of sanctuary brighten Australia's refugee dark age

    • Justin Glyn
    • 07 February 2016
    16 Comments

    Churches across Australia have made headlines by offering sanctuary to those who stand to be returned to Nauru following the High Court ruling, including 37 babies and a raped five-year-old whose attacker still resides there. In doing so, they have been rediscovering an old concept and reminding the government what refugee law was for in the first place. As in the Dark Ages, where the organs of the state are unable or unwilling to protect the vulnerable, it is the churches who are speaking out.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    No retrospective fix for traumatised refugees

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 04 February 2016
    6 Comments

    The practice of governments using the Parliament to change the law in order to win court cases is unfair, as only one party to a court case has the power to do this. The M68 case decided on Wednesday, which challenged the detention and transfer to Nauru of asylum seekers, was effectively won by the government because they changed the law retrospectively to make sure they would win. No retrospective fix will be possible for people who fled persecution only to face a punitive and hostile policy.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    High Court not the answer to Nauru depravity

    • Frank Brennan
    • 03 February 2016
    24 Comments

    Following Wednesday's High Court decision, the moral depravity of Australian funded offshore detention of asylum seekers, including children, is to continue. There is no joy to be found in our High Court applying a Constitution even more bereft of human rights protections than that of Nauru. It's time for our politicians to address the political and moral question: what purpose is actually served by sending this mum and her baby back to Nauru, when the boats have already stopped and will stay stop?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What is a brown body worth?

    • Somayra Ismailjee
    • 02 February 2016
    6 Comments

    A perception of Muslims as 'savage' and antithetical to peace accounts for incidents where overtly racist people can rejoice easily at the loss of human life, to little negative reaction. When a person is deemed unworthy or bereft of humanity, their death becomes gruesomely welcome. While Islamophobia itself does not define racism, Muslim people exemplify ideas of a cardinal threat against the Anglocentric West, which laterally affects how brown non-Muslim minority groups are treated.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Friendlier Ghosts of Australia Days Future

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 27 January 2016
    4 Comments

    The two major challenges facing the world have to do with kindness to strangers and care for the natural world. If the image of the beginnings of Australia is of a boatload of powerful Europeans coming to exploit the land occupied by a primitive people, a better image of future Australia Days might be of Australia sending parties to Indigenous settlements and other nations to discover how to cooperate in the great projects of reconciliation between people and people with nature.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Our unfinished business with the First Nations

    • Brian McCoy
    • 25 January 2016
    3 Comments

    Every time I cross Sydney Harbour by train heading to the North Shore I look for the Aboriginal flag that flies from the top of the Jesuits' St Aloysius' College at Milsons Point. It was first raised on 25 January 1988, on the eve of the Australian Bicentenary, to mark the final day, 200 years previously, that Aboriginal people had complete freedom to their lands and customs before the arrival of the First Fleet.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Abbott's culture war

    • Sabine Wolff
    • 10 January 2016
    9 Comments

    Just when the ringing of the words 'I stopped the boats' had finally subsided and you were getting used to the idea of business agility and economic innovation as the key battlegrounds, who should pop back up but former Prime Minister and Culture Warrior in Chief, Tony Abbott. Abbott's Margaret Thatcher memorial speech — in which the words 'a hint of Thatcher about my government' were used with apparently no irony whatsoever — was a stunning example of revisionism, hubris, and confused ideology.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Melbourne medicos' refugee heroism

    • Justin Glyn
    • 10 January 2016
    4 Comments

    Health care professionals at the Royal Melbourne Children's Hospital have begun to do what could not be achieved by reports from the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Australia's Human Rights Commission. The doctors and staff are refusing to release children they treat back to the detention which caused their problems in the first place. By this brave act has begun the slow task of pouring daylight (always the best antiseptic) into this gaping wound in Australian society.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Which refugees would Jesus resettle?

    • Aloysious Mowe
    • 14 December 2015
    25 Comments

    The UNHCR guidelines for resettlement are there for a reason: those who need resettlement, when this option is available, are the most vulnerable and weak in a refugee population: children and teenagers, women at risk, people with urgent medical needs, the elderly, victims of torture and trauma, split families. None of these should be subject to a religious test. As several Muslim commentators have said in the Australian media, you do not ask a drowning person her religion before rescuing her.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A Human Rights Day tribute to the Northern Territory's Tony Fitzgerald

    • Frank Brennan
    • 09 December 2015

    I first met this Tony on my regular visits here to Darwin when he was working at the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service and then when he set up the mediation services under the auspices of Anglicare. In later years I knew him when he was your Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. He was a quiet, considered, gentle, strong and principled man. On Human Rights Day, it is only fitting that I honour Tony by offering some reflections on the architecture for human rights in Australia, on the contemporary human rights controversies, and on the way forward for better protection of the human rights of Aborigines and asylum seekers, two marginalised groups who had a special claim on Tony's sympathies.

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