Articles on Human rights

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Kamiar Alaei: ‘It was the right thing to do’.

I was jailed for my work on HIV in Iran, but the tide is turning

Brothers, Kamiar and Arash Alaei were imprisoned in Iran in 2008 for their work with HIV. Under a new government, Iran’s health minister, Hassan Hashemi, has blamed “misinformation and unscientific claims…
Sustainable palm oil production should have local consent: often, it doesn’t. Rainforest Action Network

Sustainable palm oil must consider people too

Businesses, government and civil society met this month in Medan, Indonesia, for the 11th annual Roundtable meeting on sustainable palm oil. While orangutan conservation organisations dominated conversations…
Banged up: a Bill on prisoners’ voting rights is presently before parliament. PA Archive

Prisoners should not be locked out of democracy

The news that Peter Chester and George McGeoch have had their Supreme Court appeal against the ban on prison inmates voting dismissed will cause few people on the outside to lose much sleep - in fact the…
The threat to human rights should be a central focus of climate change action. Flickr/The World Wants a Real Deal

Human rights and climate change: a fresh perspective

Climate change has been considered under many lenses – economic, geopolitical, diplomatic and developmental. However, human rights are rarely considered. Instead, they are a peripheral concern for the…
The not just cold, but troubled waters of the Russian Arctic. Will Rose/Greenpeace

Jailing Greenpeace activists will harden attitudes to Russia

Russia’s overreaction in prosecuting Greenpeace protesters, including the two journalists, is set to unfold into an international scandal that will seriously damage country’s global reputation. So far…
We can’t hope to ensure basic human rights until we learn to respect our differences and welcome diversity in society. Image from shutterstock.com

Watch your manners: why living racism-free is a basic human right

When considering contemporary human rights issues in Australia – our denial of refugee rights, the disproportionate number of Indigenous children in juvenile detention and racial vilification on public…
It’s getting crowded up there. Copyright, European Space Agency, ESA

George Clooney isn’t the only one with an eye in the sky

George Clooney revealed details last week about “his” spy satellite over Sudan, which he funds to keep an eye on the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who has been accused of war crimes. The Satellite…
Ordinary rendition: Abu Qatada has been returned to Jordan to face trial. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Qatada saga has eroded our commitment to human rights

Abu Qatada was deported to Jordan from the UK in the early hours of Sunday morning to face terrorism charges. For the British home secretary, Theresa May, it was a triumph in the face of a judiciary which…
With inadequate resources, it’s as difficult to deliver choice as babies. Flickr: David Swift Photography

50 years on, we’re still fighting for women’s childbirth rights

For decades there has been a struggle between those arguing for women’s wishes to come first when it comes to childbirth and those who believe that a healthy baby is the only important consideration…
Mobile coffins: dozens of British service personnel have been killed in the army’s Snatch Landrovers. Wikimedia Commons

Explainer: how are soldiers’ rights protected in a war zone?

The recent Supreme Court decision to allow families of British personnel killed in Iraq to sue the government for negligence set up a barrage of cries about the judgment making it impossible for our armed…
Nothing to hide? Really?

Explainer: the right to privacy in the UK

How long ago did we acquire the right to privacy? When was it formalised? In this country it would be only in the year 2000, the year in which the Human Rights Act came into force; it incorporated the…
Another High Court challenge to the Gillard government’s indefinite detention of ‘legal black hole’ refugees has experts calling for alternatives. AAP/Jeremy Piper

As a High Court challenge looms, are there alternatives to Australia’s indefinite detention policy?

The Gillard government is facing another High Court challenge to its indefinite detention of the 55 refugees to have received adverse security assessments from ASIO. These continuing legal troubles, along…
Julia Gillard meets with Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa at the 2011 CHOGM meeting: should Australia boycott the 2013 meeting in Sri Lanka over human rights concerns? AAP/Daniel Munoz

Sri Lanka and human rights: Australia’s CHOGM dilemma

Given its long association with the Commonwealth, it is no surprise that Sri Lanka is hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) in November this year. These biannual meetings are normally…
Campaigners say the Australian government should take a stronger stance against Chinese occupation and human rights abuse in Tibet. EPA/Narendra Shrestha

Self-immolation and human rights: why we need to talk about Tibet

In the past week, the number of Tibetan self-immolations in protest against the Chinese occupation has risen to 111 since 2009. Despite the increasing numbers of Tibetans self-immolating and general unrest…
Every Parent’s Nightmare tells the true story of Australian Jock Palfreeman, caught in Bulgaria’s corrupt legal system. ABC TV/AAP

The case of Jock Palfreeman and the human rights of Australians overseas

Australians running into trouble with the law overseas is a common topic in the news. The coverage is usually fleeting, ending with the announcement of a conviction or, less often, an acquittal. Belinda…
We were delighted to be elected to the security council, now we must make the most of our tenure. AAP/Andrew Gombert

Australia must take a human rights focus at the security council

Now that Australia has taken its seat on the UN Security Council, it is worth considering how we might make a difference. Former diplomat Bruce Haig has recently dismissed Australia’s new role as chair…

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