Articles on Human rights

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George Brandis wants to protect the ‘right to be a bigot’ in the name of free speech. But the government may seek to remove such a right in relation to corporations. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

In the government’s hierarchy of values, is free speech at the top?

The federal government has indicated that it is considering repealing an exemption in the Competition and Consumer Act that provides for boycotts of companies on environmental grounds. The government is…
Federal attorney-general George Brandis wants to champion a ‘classical liberal’ approach to human rights, but what does this actually mean? AAP/Daniel Munoz

What is a ‘classical liberal’ approach to human rights?

Tim Wilson, Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner, has announced that he will take a “classical liberal” approach to human rights. There is a fair degree of confusion about what this means. Classical liberalism…
Attorney-General George Brandis has no qualms about “shackling” free speech to protect property, hence his presence at a copyright forum this month, yet he rejects other constraints. AAP/Alan Porritt

Free speech: what it is and what it isn’t

Tim Wilson has finally taken up his post as Human Rights Commissioner after controversy about his appointment late last year. Many questioned the suitability of a candidate without relevant legal-administrative…
Running out of time: Khmer Rouge defendant Nuon Chea. Wikimedia Commons

Cambodia hurries to prosecute ageing Khmer Rouge leaders

More than 30 years after they were deposed, the leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge are on trial in the country they once ruled. The body set up to prosecute them, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts…
BFFs: IOC President Thomas Bach and Vladimir Putin. David Goldman/AP

Russia and the IOC are the perfect match

Nationalism is the main event at any Olympic Games, and the Olympic industry relies on the goosebumps effects of the sporting spectacle to divert public attention from its less attractive underbelly, in…
Xu Zhiyong, jailed for four years. for inciting public disorder. Wikimedia Commons

China’s war on thought is being waged in Western universities

In the past decade, US and UK universities have embarked on a program of developing formal relationships, exchanges, and partnerships with their counterparts in China. No scholar interested in promoting…
Attorney-general George Brandis has put his imprimatur on the Human Rights Commission with the appointment of the IPA’s Tim Wilson as Human Rights Commissioner. AAP/Daniel Munoz

The two Tims, the IPA and the future of human rights in Australia

There is something both utterly predictable and wonderfully larrikin about federal attorney-general George Brandis’ appointment of the Institute for Public Affairs’ (IPA) self-described “classic liberal…
The backlash against state surveillance is growing stronger by the day. ubiquit

A digital rights bill means nothing without basic state compliance

More than 500 high-profile names, including authors, musicians and five Nobel laureates, have signed a petition to the United Nations calling for a bill of digital rights to be developed in the wake of…
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…

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