Articles on Human rights

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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…
The stories of real people are often missing from media reports on asylum seeker detention centres. AAP

Media needs improved access to asylum seekers in detention: experts

Greater transparency and improved access for the media to interview asylum seekers in detention is required say human rights…
While FGC is common in Africa, the practice is illegal in many Western countries. Flickr/tlupic

Time for change: the harms of female genital cutting

Female genital cutting (FGC) – also known as female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision – is widely practised in Africa and has been described by UNICEF “one of the worst violations of the…
Infant male circumcision violates aspects of international human rights law, which Australia is bound to uphold. Chris Woods

Infant male circumcision: stop violating boys’ human rights

In an article published recently on this site, “Male circumcision policy ignores research showing benefits”, the authors stated some alleged benefits of infant male circumcision and argued the Royal Australasian…
Was Tony Abbott’s speech to the IPA a preview of the kind of government he and shadow Attorney General George Brandis will operate? AAP/Mick Tsivakis

Licensing hate: the possible consequences of Abbott’s racial vilification changes

As politics heightens in the decreasing count down to the 2013 Federal election, the opposition is laying its cards on the table. Always on the cards since the Institute for Public Affairs, a right-wing…
Commodore Frank Bainimarama could learn a lot from China about quashing human rights. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Fiji looks north to China as human rights head south at home

Yesterday’s rapprochement between Fiji, Australia and New Zealand, with the re-establishment of diplomatic ties at High Commissioner level, needs to be seen in the context of other recent events in Fiji’s…
The focus on human rights during the Beijing Olympics made little difference. Akira Liwang/EPA

Human rights and the Olympics: games of freedom or oppression?

When we think of the Olympic Games, we think of an athletic event: well-honed bodies at the peak of physical ability, performing feats most of us can only dream of. But, despite fervent assertions to the…
Western Governments will be recklessly ignoring their human rights obligations if they continue to support Shell in its US supreme court case. EPA/George Esiri

Oil for lives? When governments help bad corporations

We all know corporations do bad things. Big corporates have been publicly named and shamed for their participation in causing harm to people and the planet, and they are not always held to account. As…
Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton holds up Azaria’s death certificate, confirming her daughter’s death by dingo attack. AAP/Patrina Malone

Lessons from the Chamberlain case: the human cost of wrongful conviction

The Azaria Chamberlain case is a reminder that the criminal justice system does get it wrong, with each error bearing its own human cost. On Tuesday, the Northern Territory Coroner’s office concluded an…
Does Anders Breivik deserve human contact? EPA

With friends like Anders Breivik: is human contact a right?

Does Anders Breivik deserve friends? The Norwegian justice system thinks so. It is often said that the humanity of a society can be judged by the way it treats its most disadvantaged citizens, even those…
Gaddafi’s son may not get a fair trial in Libya. EPA/Mast Irham

Should Saif al-Islam Gaddafi be tried in Libya or the Hague?

The Government of Libya filed an application before the International Criminal Court earlier this month to challenge the admissibility of the cases against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Muammar Gaddafi’s son…

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